Phoenix rocker Alice Cooper left home and followed the music to Los Angeles in the summer of ’67.
“Being from Arizona and being 18, 19, 20 years old, it was so weird to go from Phoenix to Los Angeles where everybody was groovy and everybody ... was all peace and love and all that,” the band’s namesake frontman recalled. “None of us were into that. The Alice Cooper Band was sort of the antithesis of peace and love. (A friend) once said we were the band that drove the stake through the heart of the love generation.”
But that summer in LA gave birth in many ways to Cooper’s and the band’s shock rock and villains of rock reputation.
“They would actually give warnings at the festivals. They would say, ‘One hour until Santana.’ ‘Three hours until Jefferson Airplane.’ ‘Warning: Five hours from now Alice Cooper will be on stage. If you’re on the brown acid, please don’t go to the show,’ ” said Cooper, who plays the AVA at Casino del Sol on June 22.
“We were thrilled to be the villains of rock. We were angry, and we were vicious and we didn’t mind a little violence on stage,” he said, and of course all of that flew in the face of touchy-feely, let’s get naked peace and love. “We were not hippies. So that was kind of where our reputation came from. When I moved to LA, we didn’t buy into the hippy lifestyle at all. The worse thing of all would be to live in a commune. I can’t think of anything worse than that. The band lived in houses together. In fact at one point in LA, our band and Pink Floyd lived together. Pink Floyd ran out of money and they moved in with us for a week or so. You had Pink Floyd and Alice Cooper starving together in one house.”
Cooper, 69, is still the villain of rock, which will be on full glorious and edgy display June 22 at the AVA, 5655 W. Valencia Road.