I don’t think they could have chose a better panel to send off MegaCon 2017 with than the one and only Alice Cooper. The line, which started queueing at 1:30 p.m. for a 4:00 p.m. start, may have rivaled Stan Lee’s on Thursday night. If I heard the security lady right, not everyone who got in line was able to get in due to max capacity. There couldn’t have been an empty seat in the house.
One of things I like about Alice Cooper is so while so many of these convention Q&As are standard back and forth and questions you may have already heard a thousand times, Alice managed to turn almost every question into an entertaining, insightful story. Even you’ve heard it before, he just tells stories and gives answers questions so eloquently excellently. I myself had a point where I was so wrapped up in whatever he was saying I went like 15 minutes completely forgetting to take any notes or photos for this piece.
It started with Alice being asked about the formation of his supergroup The Hollywood Vampires, which, for those unaware, consists of himself, Johnny Depp, and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry. He said the band formed out of his desire to create some sort of music project that honors all the rock musicians that died from excess in the 1970s, and that the name stemmed from what bar patrons would refer to him and his drinking friends as. Specifically, he mentioned Keith Moon, John Lennon and Harry Nilsson as being part of “The Hollywood Vampires.” Also, according Alice – and I’m not making this up – he says that Johnny Depp is such a good guitar player that he sometimes gives Joe Perry lessons. I’m not saying this is true, I’m just saying it’s what Alice said.
Of course, talk of drinking led to talk of what he eventually replaced it with: (he says he’s been sober for over 30 years) golf. Alice says that when he’s not on tour or in the studio, he plays golf for 5 hours a day, 6 days a week and that he’s given him a whole new perspective on life. To quote him exactly: “Golf is the crack of sports.” He says his golfing nemesis is Kenny G.
On a similar note – similar in the sense that both of these are a form catharsis for Alice – he also talked briefly about his relationship with Christianity and how becoming born-again helped become a better person and artist. Similar to Tom Araya from Slayer, he sees no reason why being a religious individual should have any impact on the image he portrays in his music.
One audience member brought up, oddly, the Pirates of The Caribbean movies, asking him, since Paul McCartney is making an appearance in the newest installment, Pirates of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (alternately subtitled Salazar’s Revenge in the UK), would he ever be interested in doing the same? He jokingly replied, “If I’m not a pirate, who is?” Funny response, but I doubt this will ever happen. In reference to his periods bits as actor though, he mentioned that he loved being on The Muppets – for which he says he still gets yearly checks – and being a part of Dark Shadows.
I mentioned he tells greats stories. An fan asked him if the notorious story of him, Elvis and .38 snubnose is really true, and he said yes, it absolutely is. For those unfamiliar with the story, watch here
One question that was perhaps really out of place was when someone asked him to describe today’s youth in three words. He didn’t do that exactly, because…why would he? That’s weird. But he did twist it into a little bit of a lecture of how today’s music scene, with streaming and the internet, makes it almost impossible for new bands to make money, and how misses the idea of selling a record. The fact that we value artist marketability over musical talent angers him too. “We’ve traded gourmet for fast food,” he exclaimed.
Speaking of records, he gave a little bit of insight into the writing of his upcoming album Paranormal, which will be his first since Welcome 2 My Nightmare back in 2011. When asked how generally begins the writing process for a song, he said that almost every song begins with a title, usually inspired by something he hears on the radio or TV. Paranormal comes out July 28th.
I should mention before closing that on stage during this whole thing, there was a bloody brain in a jar on the table between him and the moderator, simply marked “Alice’s Brain.” He said he would give it to the audience member who asked the hardest question. The winner was a woman who asked him to play Kiss, Marry, Kill between Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, Karloff’s Frankenstein and The Wolfman. After talking in depth about such serious topics as drinking, faith, his fallen friends (including the recent Chris Cornell), and even the troubles of parenthood, I found it quite funny that he considered that the hardest question.
Alice Cooper’s panel was an absolute blast and a terrific way to send off the best convention experience I’ve had quite some time.
See you next year, MegaCon!