The other day, the effervescent Alice Cooper called me from what he said was "the exotic city of Moose Jaw. But it's OK, because tomorrow we'll be in Medicine Hat."
"This is what we call the real grind of the tour right here. We go to London, and Rome, and New York City, and Moose Jaw."
That Alice Cooper tour lands at the Palms Friday. It's not the usual themed Alice Cooper show. It's divvied up into three parts.
The first part is early Alice glitter-glam rock. The second section is the Nightmare Alice portion of the evening during which Alice gets killed onstage.
The third section is something he's never done before: cover songs made famous by dead friends.
"I used to have a drinking club in L.A. called the Hollywood Vampires," Cooper says. "We would meet every night at the Rainbow (Bar & Grill).
"Harry Nilsson, Keith Moon, Jimi (Hendrix) and Jim Morrison would come in once in a while, and John Lennon."
So now onstage, Cooper shows up in a rock 'n' roll graveyard, and the band does a tribute to Morrison, Moon, Lennon and Hendrix.
"It's amazing how it goes over."
If anyone has the right to cover those Hall of Famers, Cooper does, and not just because he and his band invented glam rock and goth rock.
"If you actually drank with these guys, and you hung out with these guys, you have more of an authority to do these songs," Cooper says.
It has been known for a long time that Alice Cooper, 64, is just playing a villainous character onstage. In real life, he's a Christian who shares no real traits with the stage Alice Cooper.
Portraying his crazy character is not very different from acting in "Macbeth," he says.
"Have you seen 'Macbeth'? It's witchcraft, it's incest, it's murder - it's stuff Alice doesn't even do."
Cooper will have another character joining him onstage for a Christmas show Dec. 8 in Phoenix: Johnny Depp.
"Johnny is a guitar player. I knew he was in a band before he was even an actor," Cooper says.
"When I did the movie ('Dark Shadows') with him, we were going to do a club that night. I said, 'Why don't you come up and play with us?'
"I was expecting, 'Well, I gotta do this or that.' But he says, 'OK.' He shows up, and the guy can play! I mean, he's a really good player."
In fact, Depp has already added his guitar skills to a handful of recent Cooper concerts.
"I told him, 'If this acting thing doesn't work out for you, I can always use another guitar player,' " Cooper says.
"He said, 'Yeah, the acting thing just gets in the way of my rock career.' "
By - Doug Elfman