Interview: How Alice Cooper Became The Villain of Rock and Roll

By Brian Ives 

“I was a journalism major,” Alice Cooper said. “And I realized that more people would rather read The [National] Enquirer than The New York Times.”

Whether this statement is true or not, you’ll have to decide for yourself. But Vincent Furnier, better known to the world as Alice Cooper, used this insight as the marketing strategy for his band.

Yes, before Alice Cooper was a guy, it was a band, which included bassist Dennis Dunaway, drummer Neal Smith and guitarist Michael Bruce. The story of how Vincent Furnier became the man we know as Alice Cooper is revealed in Super Duper Alice Cooper, the documentary about his life, band and career that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this week. Dunaway and Smith both participated in the film, while Bruce did not. “Mike has always been hard to find, like Izzy Stradlin,” Alice said.

As the film explains, the band’s publicist wanted one of the members to adopt “Alice Cooper” as his own name. Vincent took the bait, and the rest is history. But in their early days, they were one of the heaviest bands in the land, and a big alternative to the peace and love generation.

“We realized that there were no villains of rock and roll. A lot of Peter Pans and no Captain Hook,” Cooper said. “I had the face for it, I had the look for it… and we were not hippies.”

Watch the interview above to see Cooper talk about the documentary, finding a home in Detroit and how he learned to separate himself from the character of Alice Cooper.

Super Duper Alice Cooper, which also features commentary from Elton John, Iggy Pop and Dee Snider, will be screened in over 250 theaters beginning April 30. 

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