The Great Philadelphia Comic-Con was a place for geeks of all sorts. Living up to their motto, “Get Ur Geek On,” the con had guests covering all genres of the entertainment world including horror, sci-fi, animation, video games, cosplay and music. Fitting in perfectly amongst the multiverse of geekdom is Alice Cooper, a genuine rock icon going on fifty years in the business. Along with his near 30 albums and countless hits, Cooper is also a bonafide crossover star. The rocker, now 71 years old, earned a bevy of younger fans when he appeared on the Muppet Show in 1978. He appeared multiple times on Johnny Carson, before making a scene-stealing appearance in 1992’s Wayne’s World. It was there I first heard his music and I was hypnotized. He currently has two tours going: one with his main band and another with the Hollywood Vampires, a supergroup along with Johnny Depp, Joe Perry, and members of Guns n’ Roses. On Saturday afternoon, April 13th, Cooper had a Q&A panel, entitled “Welcome to my Nerdmare,” answering questions about his career in music and entertainment.
Strolling out to shouts of “We’re not worthy,” Cooper certainly still controls a room. The moderator jumped right in with questions, and then we got to ask one too.
Moderator: I’m a young lad, my dad has all your albums. I was confused, is Alice Cooper the band, the guy? Then I watched The Muppet Show and saw you for the first time. What was that like?
Alice Cooper: That was probably the most fun thing I ever did, The Muppets. I did it in London. I spent all this time becoming a villain. So I asked them, “Who had done the show?” They said Christopher Lee and Vincent Price, and that was it, I was in. After a week, you talk to the muppets like they’re real people. Because they react the way a real person would.
Alice joked about Ms. Piggy coming on to him. He discussed Carson and using the show to prove he wasn’t a one-trick pony and show he could be more than “the scary guy.” Discussions of his eccentric stage shows with crazy stunts and death defying acts followed including a horrifying story where Alice details a near accident involving a noose prop.
One thing no one can deny is that Cooper was upfront and honest about his pratfalls in his career. Sober now over 30 years, he contrasted his old ways of throwing up blood and writing albums he doesn’t remember to his new drug- and alcohol-free life where his only addiction is golf. He was constant in his praise of the Beatles, answering a fan question of his biggest inspiration to starting his first band just days after seeing them perform on TV.
His discussed horror movies and mentioned how the best ones were really comedies, referencing the original Evil Dead as an example. That fed into my question for him. I’ve asked dozens of questions to dozens of celebrities and only twice did I ever feel starstruck, and this was one of those times. I geeked out enough to ask a question:
Geeks of Doom: I think I speak for everyone, but we’re not worthy.
Alice Cooper: You’re worthy, you’re worthy, you may stand.
Geeks of Doom: I was first introduced to you when you accompanied Jake the Snake to ringside at WrestleMania III when I was 5, and then of course Wayne’s World a few years later. I still to this day pronounce Milwaukee, “Mill-ee-walk-eh.”
Alice Cooper: Ah, yes, Milwaukee, Algonquin for the “The Good Land.”
Geeks of Doom: My question is, as a horror movie fan, what was it like working with John Carpenter on Prince of Darkness?
Alice Cooper: You know, I was invited to go down, and I wanted to visit the set and see some of the special effects. I wanted to see the Mercury effect, with the hand coming through. John says to me, “˜Hey Alice, you know what would be funny: if you were one of the street people’. So I say sure, put a stocking cap on and put my head down. Then about an hour later he says, “˜You know what be great, if you were the leader of these street people!’ I said okay, great, so now I’m in two or three scenes. He says, “˜you know that trick you do on stage where you put the microphone through the guy’s chest? Can you do that with a bicycle?’ I said, “˜Yeah’ and now I’m in the movie. I had no intentions of being in the movie, but now all of a sudden I’m in twelve scenes of it. Later I picked up the CD of the soundtrack and there’s my picture on it. I really like working with John Carpenter, and I’m a huge fan of his music. I don’t think Halloween would have been nearly as scary without the music. He’s really competent with the music he creates, he’s a great guy.
He was asked questions about his music, his inspirations, stories from the Hollywood Vampires lounge, stunts in his shows, and even a question about the rare 1980’s horror film Monster Dog. When asked about what he’s most proud of, he answered his longevity, joking that he promised to retire after Mick Jagger and that backfired on him. When budding musicians and rockstars asked for advice, he said to write your own songs.
Alice Cooper delivered a killer hour-long panel and held nothing back. Getting to ask him a question was definitely an all-time geek-out moment. He is in the middle of two tours running through the Summer and you find dates and tour info at his official site. His classic song,
“Welcome to My Nightmare,” can be heard on the Hellboy 2019 soundtrack, for the movie that is out in theaters now.
[All photos by Dr. Zaius for Geeks of Doom.]
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