Alice Cooper Band Legend Talks To Gibson

(Gibson) In an era in which few things shock anymore, it's hard to imagine that, in the early '70s, parents were up in arms over the shock-rock theatrics of the original Alice Cooper band. Today, as evidenced by their forthcoming Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, the group is recognized more for their classic songs than for their cartoon-gore stage shows. From 1971 to 1975, the Alice Cooper band lineup of Cooper, Neal Smith, Dennis Dunaway, Glen Buxton and Michael Bruce delivered a stream of time-capsule worthy hits, including "School's Out," "Be My Lover," "I'm Eighteen," "No More Mr. Nice Guy" and "Elected." Bruce, who wrote or co-wrote each and every one of those riff-rock classics, recently spoke with us about the Rock Hall induction, his love of SGs, and the much-talked-about reunion of the surviving members of the original band.

How did you first learn about the Rock Hall nomination? That was an amazing week. I had gotten a call a couple of weeks earlier from [producer] Bob Ezrin, asking if I wanted to record one of my songs for the Welcome to My Nightmare sequel, which is scheduled to come out this Halloween. Neal and Dennis had each already contributed a song. I said, "Yeah, that would be great!" It was the 25th anniversary of our working with Bob. I spent a week in the studio, recording those three songs. A few days later, Neal called and said he had talked to [Cooper's manager] Shep Gordon, and that we had been nominated for induction. It was amazing, after all this time. Alice's late assistant, Brian Nelson, always said that when Iggy Pop got in, we wouldn't be far behind. Sure enough, that's how it happened.

Alice has always maintained the band broke up because he wanted to keep the theatrics, and the rest of you didn't. But the Battle Axe album, which you and Neal and Dennis made afterwards, was pretty theatrical. I suppose Alice had to say something, and that explanation was as good as any. We had been together for a long time, working together and even living together. We needed a break. Also, Glen started having some personal problems that really affected the band. I think Glen sort of lost his love of what we were doing. The music wasn't sustaining him like it was us, and he went off on a wrong track. Alice, I think, didn't want to continue with a new guitar player, which would have changed the chemistry of the group. It really took the wind out of my sails when Alice told us he didn't want to work with us any longer, but looking back at it now, I don't think we could have gone on. There needed to be some time for growth, and that was difficult to do, as a band. Check out the rest of the interview here

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