Alice Cooper – Our Shows Helped Open the Door for David Bowie
Alice Cooper and David Bowie were two of the most prominent theatrical artists of the '70s, and Cooper insists that his performances helped open the door for Bowie to become the sensation that he did.
“David used to come to the show when he was a mime artist, he was Davy Jones back then," Cooper recalled during a fan Q+A with Metal Hammer. "I remember at one of our ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’ shows, he brought his band the Spiders From Mars and he was saying, ‘This is what we should be doing.’ But he never did it the way we did it.”
He noted that when his band started implementing shock into the performances and still garnered commercial success, that acts like Bowie, Lou Reed and Velvet Underground realized they could do the same.
"I wanted there to be an artistic movement, I created Alice as a villain and Bowie created all of his characters to fit who he wanted to be, so I never really saw him as competition — I encouraged him," Cooper continued.
He then added that he and Bowie frequently praised each other for their creativity.
"There was a whole thing about Bowie and Lou Reed talking about my androgynous thing being fake and they were right — of course, it’s fake. It’s a dark vaudeville show and I play a character," he explained.
"Lou and David knew me and knew I couldn’t be more down-the-middle American but I just happened to tap into this character and the image — I knew how to make that character scary, sexy, revolting and funny at the same time!”
Though he has since been dubbed the Godfather of Shock Rock, Cooper doesn't think shock holds the same weight in today's musical climate that it did when he first started doing it.
"I think audiences are shockproof now. I came out at the perfect time to shock the audience because they weren’t ready for a band of guys with hair down to their waists, wearing makeup and not minding a little bit of real blood onstage," he admitted.