Alice Cooper’s Daughter Calico Cooper Never Wanted to Join a Band
Calico Cooper never intended on being in a band. She was just 18 years old when her father, Alice Cooper, asked her to come along for his Brutal Planet tour to design costumes and perform in the shows. She wound up loving life on the road with him so much that she stayed with the team for 11 years. Still, music wasn't something she saw herself doing for the long haul -- it was too close to home.
“I think part of me, psychologically, didn't want to acknowledge or even think about that as a career,” she tells UCR, “because that would mean a whole other box of...you know, am I really gonna get compared for the rest of my life to my dad?”
“There was an instant creative spark between us,” she said. “We'd stay up super late at night on the bus and just talk about everything.”
During their time off from Alice’s tours, Garric and others from the band would occasionally play bar shows in random cities. They'd frequently invite Calico up to the stage to sing a few numbers, for the hell of it. Garric insisted that she had some real talent, but she brushed it off -- it was just for fun. When Garric began piecing together his own brainchild of a band with guitarist Chris “Brother” Latham, he attempted to swing Calico’s opinion one last time, and asked her to sing backing vocals on some songs he and Latham were putting together.
“I had just gotten ankle surgery,” she recalled. “And my friend wheeled me into the studio and I was so high on painkillers. They just put the mic in. And he [Garric] handed me a bunch of lyrics and I was like, got it.”
Thus, the first Beasto Blanco record, Live Fast Die Loud, was born in 2013, which included a cover of Alice Cooper's "Feed My Frankenstein." When the band was rounded out with Jan LeGrow on bass (Garric had switched to guitar) and Sean Sellers on drums, Garric suggested they test out the waters with a low-stakes bar tour of Europe. This time, Calico knew something in her mind had changed.
"I was just like, I really don't want to be in a band," she said. "But then once we started doing what Beasto was doing, and I looked around at the other guys in the band, I was like, I really want to be in this band. This is it. This was made for me."
At each European venue they played, the positive reactions from the audiences grew and grew. They began to develop a signature image and sound -- part thunderous heavy metal concert, part gruesome nightmare. Calico, dressed in fishnets, chains, leather, and often wielding a weapon of some kind, captivates the crowd at the mic through her years of dance training.
“I couldn't take up an instrument if I wanted to during Beasto because I'm so busy with my body,” she said. “That's essentially my instrument.”
Like her dad, Calico treats her unhinged stage characters like just that: characters.
"I'm allowed to access that part of my brain for an hour and a half without any repercussions as long as I come off stage and I remember that I've got three dogs and that I didn't pay my gas bill yet."
Initially, the set lists included several Alice Cooper songs, something many audiences loved, but didn’t really excite the band members themselves.
"They were definitely our foundation of a fan base," she said. "So you've got to honor that I think. For the first two, three tours, we would end with 'School's Out,' we would do all that. But, with respect to my dad, I died a little inside. Because after I just did this whole show, and I felt so good about what I did, it kind of popped the balloon. Like, oh yeah, this isn't about you."
She and Garric agreed to stick to their own music moving forward. Now, after several years of shows, Beasto Blanco has gathered their own army of fans, and Alice is one of them. Calico often asks for his input on songs and invites him to see them play out. In 2016, Beasto Blanco performed at NAMM, with Alice in the audience.
“I think I dumped the tanks. I did everything that I could think to do,” she said. “And at the end, I came offstage, and there were all these cameras everywhere and they were taping him watching me, which I think is hysterical....they're like, ‘Alice, Alice, what did you think about Beasto Blanco?’ And he was so proud -- he was like a dad at a football game where his son’s the quarterback -- he put his arm around me and he's like, ‘I taught her everything she knows!’”
Beasto Blanco has maintained a hefty touring schedule, recently playing with groups like Megadeth and Alice's side project with Joe Perry and Johnny Depp, Hollywood Vampires. They're now eagerly working on their fifth studio album. Garric typically scratches out lyrics and puts a loose production together to show Calico, who will implement some theatrics and try out different voices.
All this from a woman who had sworn up and down that being in a band long-term wasn’t for her.
“When something is for you, you can't run from it,” she said. “Even if the Beasto show is hot, and it's crowded and the sound system sucks and we're tired and I'm bruised up, I'm like, this is amazing. This is great. Every day of my life.”