Interview with Ian Chapman, author of Experiencing Alice Cooper

Spread the metal:

Interview with Ian Chapman

by JP


Tell us  a bit about who you are and what you do!

I’m a Senior lecturer in Music at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, also a musician and an author.

What first prompted you to write a book about Alice Cooper?

Because, unlike some other artists (eg: David Bowie, who has had squillions of books written about him – including two of my own), there haven’t been many books written about Alice and yet he is more than deserving of it.

From conception to coming off the printing press how long did it take? 

One year, but a life-time of fandom before that.

Was this your first book? 

Nope. I’ve written 11 books.

Have you read or would recommend any other titles in the ‘Listener’s Guide’ series?

(Cough cough). . . ‘Experiencing David Bowie: A Listener’s Companion’, perhaps? Or ‘Experiencing Led Zeppelin’ by Gregg Akkerman? Experiencing Black Sabbath’ by Nolan Stolz? Actually it’s a great series with a unique angle to it – purposely crossing the academic-popular divide. I encourage anyone to browse through their ever growing list of titles to see if their fav band/artist is there. And if not – put in a proposal and get writing!

Have you heard from Alice or any of his people if he has read your book? 

I sent a copy to Alice and also one to his long-time manager, Toby Mamis, with whom I’d been corresponding during the writing and who is actually pretty much a behind-the-scenes rock icon himself. He responded positively, saying, among other things: “The book is breezier and less pedantic than I expected, which I think is a good thing.” Toby also informed me that Alice has a long-standing policy of not personally endorsing any “outside” products.

You have a great appreciation for all eras of Alice Cooper’s career.   I’m going to put you on the spot and ask for your Top 3 Alice songs that would recommend for a fan, but maybe for a casual fan who knows ‘the hits’  but is not familiar with all the hidden gens in his catalogue. 

Maaan – that’s a massively tough question, but okay. Here goes:

1 ‘I’m the Coolest’, from ‘Alice Cooper Goes To Hell’ (for Alice’s sense of humour)
2 ‘For Veronica’s Sake’ from ‘From the Inside’ (for Alice’s sense of humour)
3 ‘Dynamite Road’ from ‘Paranormal’(crank it up loud next time you’re driving on the highway’)

Alice Cooper:  Rock, Metal or both? 

Definitely both.

What is it about Alice Cooper that has captured the imaginations of multi-generational audiences for over 50 years?

His musical and theatrical talent, obviously, but also his knowledge of what he’s doing and why he’s doing it. Also his wit, his natural talent for irony, and his lack of rock-star ego.

What are your thoughts on the newest Alice Cooper album DETROIT STORIES?

Love it! The humour abounds, the album rocks, and the feel-good nostalgia flows for life-time fans with the presence of the original band members. And all with a bunch of great covers thrown into the mix!

What are you currently working on? 

A book on how to be a very mediocre golfer – something at which I excel – unlike Alice who is a great golfer.


Most on-line outlets where you can buy books have it (Amazon, eBay etc) plus the publisher’s (Rowman & Littlefield) own website:

 The floor is yours for any final thoughts and comments!

Aside from the brilliance of his recorded output that my book critques, Alice Cooper is one of the best live acts EVER, and it’s brilliant that he’s still so activeinto his 70s. I’ve seen him triumph with ease over acts such as Motley Crue and KISS on same-bill concerts. Wherever you live in the world, if you get the chance to go to an Alice Cooper concert, don’t EVER say no. And lastly, a metal band from my hometown of Hamilton, New Zealand, had the privilege of supportingAlice the last time I attended one of his shows. What a thrill for them!

Please check them out if you feel so inclined

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