- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 2, 2003

Alice Cooper

The Eyes of Alice Cooper

Eagle Records

Alice Cooper, the mascara-caked shock-rocker, released his umpteenth LP on Tuesday, “The Eyes of Alice Cooper.”

The Washington Times recently caught up with Dewey Finn, the subject of a highly anticipated movie opening today, “School of Rock,” to discuss the new disc.

As an unabashed enthusiast of ‘70s-era guitar rock and a musician himself, Dewey had some strong opinions about the album, Mr. Cooper and the state of rock music. …

Dewey, before we start, congratulations on the movie. We hear it’s supposed to be the big hit this weekend.

All I can say, man, is I hope you’re right. As everyone who goes to see it will notice, I’m flat broke and really could use the nut.

But, the thing I really want the movie to get across is that good, ol’ fashioned, bone-crunching, brain-cell-killing rock music isn’t dead. … What’s popular today is, like, for pansies. I mean, come on, who’s this Dido chick? Bring on Alice.

So, you liked the new album, then?

Well, hold up. I’m just glad the guy is out of that industrial-music phase he was in for his last couple of albums. That stuff blew. Now, he’s back to his roots, which makes me very happy.

Is it “School’s Out”? “I’m Eighteen”? “No More Mister Nice Guy”? Nah, probably not. But the guy’s, like, 55 years old.

Think rock stars should quit when they hit, say, 40?

No way. Rock’s all about feeling and soul and inspiration; if you still got the muse, use it, is what I say. Remember that old TV show “Logan’s Run”?

No.

Where no one ever got old?

Um, no, sorry.

Well, that’s not what rock should be like. Would you tell B.B. King he should stop wailing on his guitar?

No, surely not.

That’s what I’m saying, man.

OK, so back to Alice —

“What Do You Want From Me?” rocks like a mother; the guitar riff just smokes. Reminds of when I was learning how to shred on my guitar in the ‘80s. And the lyrics are about this overbearing chick trying to run a dude’s life, which I can really identify with.

You mean your roommate’s girlfriend?

Yeah, she, like, tried to boot me out of the apartment. I’m on the cusp of rock greatness. I’m an artist. I need a little leeway here. And look at what Alice says in “Man of the Year.” You got a Harvard grad who has it all — the money, the job, the wife, his health. And he blows his head off. See what I’m talkin’ about?

Absolutely. What about ‘Novacaine’? Sounds kind of Stonesy, doesn’t it?

Totally. Great riff, big chorus, good B-3 organ in there, too. I would’ve been all over that tasty guitar solo. One of my favorites from the new album, though, is “Detroit City.” Alice relives his glory days. “Me and Iggy were giggin’ with Ziggy / And kickin’ with the MC5 / Ted and Seger were burnin’ with fever / And let the silver bullets fly.” Great line.

Yup. Did you notice the MC5’s Wayne Kramer plays guitar on that one?

Love that guy. Killer.

How about the ballads? A little hokey, no?

Yeah, way too sappy. But doesn’t “This House Is Haunted” give you the willies?

You mean the one with the baroque melody and all the pseudo-spooky sound effects?

Yeah, that’s the one.

Didn’t find it all that impressive, I’m afraid. And what’s the deal with “The Song That Didn’t Rhyme”? Does he think that’s funny?

All I know is, it doesn’t rock. Sounds like it has an accordion on it. He recovers with “I’m So Angry” and “Backyard Brawl,” though. Real raunchy stuff.

So, all in all, you sound pretty pleased.

Something has to keep that guy off the golf course. Hey, listen, man, I have to jet — rehearsal with the School of Rock.

All right, Dewey, thanks for your time, and congratulations again. Best of luck with the new band.

No problem. Just remember what Townshend said: “Long live rock!”


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