Alice Cooper has bought into the media’s perception of Alice Cooper. The “Godfather of Shock Rock” made popular what others were doing before him (like Screamin’ Jay Hawkins), and his music is nothing to blog home about. He released a few good albums in the 1970s, but he was as much a vaudeville act, a musical freak show, as anything else; he’s a Muppet parody of a rock star. Or maybe I’m just pissed off at recent comments he made.
In an interview with Fuse, when talking about the current state of rock ‘n’ roll, Cooper said:
“I just feel like this whole generation maybe need to all eat a steak, maybe they just need to quit eating vegetarian food and get out there and get some blood pumping in their system. Rock ‘n’ roll is not about happy, happy, happy, everything’s OK, we’re the Lumineers…Mumford & Sons are great at what they do, but they’re not rock ‘n’ roll. Don’t call it rock ‘n’ roll; that’s an offense to rock ‘n’ roll.”
There’s a lot to digest here, to chew over like a two-pound hunk of beef with bacon on top, but two main things: 1) Mumford never said they were rock ‘n’ roll. In fact, they’ve said they’re NOT rock ‘n’ roll. And 2) the problem with Cooper’s “ROCK IS DEAD” statement is that he doesn’t f*cking try anymore. Think of this way: the year Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies came out, 1973, a time when presumably Cooper thinks rock was rolling, the five biggest songs of the year were “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” by Tony Orlando and Dawn, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce, “Killing Me Softly with His Song” by Roberta Flack, “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye, and “My Love” by Wings.
The top-40 charts are never the best indicator for what’s good in rock, and by pointing at Mumford and the Lumineers (two bands I don’t like, and now I’m mad at Cooper for making me defend them), Cooper’s undoing his own point. There are hundreds of great rock bands out there — Japandroids, Deafheaven, Titus Andronicus, Screaming Females, Deftones, Savages, to name but a few; you just have to look beyond Billboard to find them.