‘Everybody was influenced by the Beatles’: Alice Cooper on the British Invasion’s sweeping impact

People associate Alice Cooper’s intense brand of horror-movie rock with Frank Zappa, who gave Cooper’s band their first big break. But Cooper says the British Invasion — and the Beatles, in particular — shaped his early sound.

Cooper, 64, joined the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, recognition for a career that’s included such fan favorites as “School’s Out,” “I’m Eighteen” and “No More Mr. Nice Guy” — typically performed on stage with a eye-popping series of props including guillotines, boa constrictors, electric chairs, and oceans of fake blood.

[WORST. BEATLES. EVER: Our first compilation of least-favorite Beatles tracks became Something Else! Reviews' most talked about piece, and we're talking ever. Now, we're back for more.]

More recently, Cooper returned to one of his signature projects — Welcome to My Nightmare, a 1975 concept album — with the release of the sequel Welcome 2 My Nightmare in 2011.

Not exactly the stuff of Mersey beats and mop tops.

Cooper, in a new conversation with Noise11′s Paul Cashmere, takes us back to the beginning.

“When I was 15, that’s when the Beatles came out, so we were the perfect audience for the British Invasion,” the shock-rocker says. “All of sudden, here’s the Beatles — and we go ‘Wow!’ Then, there’s the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Yardbirds, the Who. Every week, there was five new bands that we had never heard of, and they were all good. So, that influenced us a lot. We ended up being more of a Who/Yardbirds band, and then we put our own touches in it and created our own music out of it. Everybody was influenced by somebody, but I think everybody was influenced by the Beatles.”

Cooper recently announced an opening-day appearance at England’s Cropredy Convention, set for August 8, 2013 — so far, his only UK show of the year. Between then and now, he’ll also participate in the Metal Mania rock ‘n’ roll fantasy camp, to be held February 14-18 at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Also appearing at the camp: Mike Portnoy (Adrenaline Mob, Dream Theater) and Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater).

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