When Snorting Ants Ain't Crazy

Don't take Grandma to the International Extreme Music Festival

Go Ask Alice

Amazingly, after 35 years of shock tactics and showbiz shtick, Alice Cooper still maintains as much rock 'n' roll cred as he did in his 1970s heyday. Currently celebrating the release of his 28th album, Dirty Diamonds, a surprisingly tenacious affirmation of the Alice of old, he now boasts another more dubious distinction -- that of midwife to rock's lunatic fringe. Over the years, rabid rockers from Ozzy Osbourne and Twisted Sister to Insane Clown Posse and Marilyn Manson were spawned from Alice's example of gory, gruesome excess. Outtakes spoke to the former Vince Furnier about Alice and his offspring:

Outtakes: It seems like Alice has had a heavy influence on American music.

After hours of primping, Alice is ready for his  close-up.
Christopher Smith
After hours of primping, Alice is ready for his close-up.
After hours of primping, Alice is ready for his  close-up.
After hours of primping, Alice is ready for his close-up.

Alice Cooper: We were punk before there was punk, glam before there was glam, theatrical before there was theatrical. The shock-rock thing was the easier label to pin on Alice, but in the beginning, it was the punks who related to us, because we were out to offend everybody.

Alice may be shocking, but can he compete with the scary stuff in the real world?

It's true, you can't outshock CNN. We'd decapitate Alice on-stage, but now you turn on CNN and you see some terrorist taking a hostage's head off there on TV. So it shows Alice for what he really is -- a vaudeville character with a sense of black humor.

Do you ever feel like Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby, wondering how Alice birthed such twisted offspring?

(chuckles) That's what happened when the barrier came down. But I can only be responsible for what I'm doing, not what crawls through that door. As far as Marilyn's concerned, I don't agree with him on a lot of things -- his theology, his politics, the drugs. But he does put on a good show, I'll give him that.

Have you ever met him?

We've had our arguments and comments back and forth in the press, but no, I've never met him.

So what kind of advice would you give Manson?

I'd tell him at least where some of the pitfalls are, like if you want to be around in 50 years, you need to write ten hit records. Music is always what's going to be the most important thing in your career. Otherwise, you're going to end up being a puppet show.

Some might say Alice has become a puppet show.

Alice is woven into the fabric of Americana. He's like that bad stain that won't go away. -- Lee Zimmerman Alice Cooper performs at 8 p.m. Tuesday, September 27, at the Hard Rock Live Arena at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost $50. Call 954-797-5531.

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