Alice Cooper was always out of step, or some might say, way ahead of his time. As the late 60s gave way to the late 70s, Californian bands were singing about sunshine and love in dreamy harmonies; while the Godfather of Shock Rock was donning thick black eyeliner and taking his stage persona from female horror movie villains.
While their dark and dangerous brand of psychedelia might not have resonated in the west, it was long before the band found a fanbase thirsty for their wild theatrics in the Motor City. “In Detroit, if you went up there and said, ‘This is a song about love and roses,’ they would just kill you,” Alice Cooper told Ultimate Classic Rock, in a recent exclusive interview with the publication. “They wanted hard rock with attitude.”
Talking to UCR about his favourite bands from the city’s golden 60s and 70s era, Cooper gave nod to an array of artists, from fellow rockers like MC5 to Motown legends like Smokey Robinson and the Temptations, noting that a “weird thing about Detroit was that Motown and rock ‘n’ roll were in bed together.”
“We’d be playing and look down and there was Smokey Robinson in the crowd, and there was one of the Supremes … and the rock bands went and saw the Motown bands too. All it was about, ‘How good is the music?’ Both of these forms of music lived in Detroit side-by-side very successfully.”
But Cooper saved his highest praise for Iggy Pop, aka the Godfather of Punk, finding in him a kindred spirit, even though they brought “two entirely different kinds of theatre” to the stage. “The only things we had in common were that we were unapologetic about what we were doing and we were both loud, guitar-driven rock ‘n’ roll bands.”
“Iggy’s up there with this really basic band that’s powerful as hell,” Cooper said. “They aren’t trying to be anybody but themselves. It’s a three-chord band but it’s powerful, and Iggy is just all over the place and [standing] in the audience – and I saw the birth of punk right there. … Iggy was such a force of nature.”
Enjoy some of that trailblazing raw punk-rock power below.
Iggy Pop | “Lust For Life” 1977
The Stooges | “I Feel Alright” [Live at the Goose Lake Festival, 1970]
Iggy & The Stooges | “TV Eye” [Live]
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