Alice Cooper shared his distaste for mixing music with politics in a new interview, explaining that he thinks “rock ‘n’ roll should be anti-political”.
In the conversation with Creative Loafing Tampa Bay the shock rock legend was asked how his relationship with the controversial right-wing rocker, Ted Nugent is “holding up right now”.
“Ted and I grew up together in Detroit, and he’s always been the mouth that roared. When he gets going, nobody can stay with him. I kind of look at him as his own entity,” Cooper said.
Nugent recently called Bruce Springsteen a “dirtbag” for “supporting communists” has backed the baseless conspiracy theory that Antifa and Black Lives Matter activists were behind the US Capitol riots, and confidently claimed systemic racism doesn’t exist.
Tom Morello also defended his unlikely friendship with Nugent in an interview with NME last year, when he said that although they “certainly have differences, I consider him a friend”. The Rage Against The Machine guitarist, whose political views are a stark contrast to Nugent’s went on to say he “reserves the right to be friends with anybody”.
Elsewhere in the new interview, Cooper also shared his personal view on being vocal about politics.
“I don’t ever talk politics… I hate politics. I don’t think rock ‘n’ roll and politics belong in the same bed together, but a lot of people think it does — because we have a voice, and we should use our voice. But again, rock and roll should be anti-political, I think,” he said. “When my parents started talking about politics, I would turn on The [Rolling] Stones as loud as I could. I don’t want to hear politics, and I still feel that way.”
The rock icon went on to explain that he wanted his show to be an escape from the news, before pointing out the fact that he has involved political imagery in his live show.
“My music and my show is designed to give you a vacation from CNN, you know what I mean? I’m not preaching anything up there, and I’m not knocking anybody. If I do a thing like on ‘Elected’, which we would always do during the elections, and I’d bring out [Donald] Trump and Hillary [Clinton] to fight, and both of them would get wiped out!” he said about performing the first single from his sixth studio album ‘Billion Dollar Babies’.
“That’s what was funny about it. If you’re in the political theater, you’d better be able to take a joke. So, that’s okay. I don’t mind the satire of it, but I don’t ever go up there and tell you who to vote for,” he added.
This is not the first time Cooper has opened up about his anti-political stance. In a 2018 interview with The Guardian, he said, “I don’t like to mix politics and rock ‘n’ roll,” adding, “When musicians are telling people who to vote for, I think that’s an abuse of power. You’re telling your fans not to think for themselves, just to think like you. Rock ‘n’ roll is about freedom — and that’s not freedom.”
He also said rock stars sharing their opinions was, “the worst idea ever” because “we’re not smarter than anybody else. I mean, why do you think we’re rock stars?”
Though he may not have an optimistic view of politics, he does feel confident about the future of rock and roll. In a video interview with NME last year, Cooper said, “rock ‘n’ roll is where it should be right now”, adding: “We’re not at the Grammys; we’re not in the mainstream. Rock ’n’ roll is outside looking in right now, and that gives us that outlaw attitude.”
Last month, Cooper revealed he is working on his 29th and 40th studio albums simultaneously. “They’re two entirely different kinds of albums, but they’re Alice Cooper, pure rock ’n’ roll albums,” he said. His most recent studio album ‘Detroit Stories’ was released in February 2021.
He is also scheduled to undertake a co-headlining UK arena tour with The Cult and a run of US dates later this year, as well as appearing at Graspop Metal Meeting and the Monsters Of Rock cruise.