In September, Alice Cooper recorded vocals for a new covers album that will pay tribute to his old drinking buddies, the so-called Hollywood Vampires. The honorary members of his underground booze club: Keith Moon, Mickey Dolenz, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison.
Throwing classic rock covers into his concerts is hardly new for the self-proclaimed "old vampire," who during shows often bounds through a cemetery growling Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" and the Who's "My Generation."
But when the theatrical monster unveils this as-yet untitled album next spring, it will reflect a troubling time in Cooper's four-decade career of wickedness and camp: the heady, alcohol-fueled hedonism of the early-1970s.
"It was a gray area. I didn't know where I started and where I ended," recalls Cooper, speaking by phone from the couch of his home in Phoenix, on the eve of a tour that stops at the Hard Rock Live on Sunday. "That was until I realized that what killed Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison was they tried to be rock stars 24 hours a day, instead of switching it off. I realized, 'I'm going to be a little smarter than that.'"
The man born Vincent Damon Furnier is now 32 years sober and, no doubt, knows who he is. This Alice Cooper – the guy on the couch, with a rerun of "Paranormal Witness" paused on the TV and a Ricola clicking in his teeth, not the maniacal rogue who emerges from a coffin cradling a boa constrictor – is the one who coaches Little League and occasionally golfs at the Jacaranda Golf Club in Plantation when he's in town. He also knows that becoming Alice Cooper, the alter-ego he stitched up Frankenstein-style from the body parts of other rock gods, the man who leaps through the fog banks to growl "School's Out" and "I'm Eighteen," is still the thrill he craves.
"People used to think I was out terrorizing some schoolchildren when I wasn't on a stage," Cooper deadpans. "I'm actually very ordinary without my top hat."
But Cooper recalls a time when he wasn't always so clear on the division between monster and man: when he swung back a few with the Vampires at Hollywood's Rainbow Bar, which provided as many lost weekends as bizarre memories. "Keith would come dressed as Adolf Hitler, or the Queen of England, or a French maid," Cooper says with a laugh.
"I think that, with this album, people will like that there's some authenticity to Alice doing these songs," Cooper says.
This Alice Cooper – not the guy on the couch, but the one who has sparked imitators in everyone from Rob Zombie to Marilyn Manson – spent the summer touring with the latter. Manson, he says, could not stop sharing his admiration.
"It turned out to be the best tour. Every night we'd try to outdo each other," he says, shifting the cough drop in his mouth. "But I've got the 14 Top-40 songs that everybody knows. I'm still here to blow you off the stage. Youth and talent will never beat age and treachery."
When: Doors open 5:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 27
Where: Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood
Contact: 954-797-5531 or HardRockLiveHollywoodFl.com