Download 2011: Cooper’s delighted how many acts he’s influenced – and how they’ve all taken theatrics in a different direction

Alice Cooper

Influence: Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper accepts his brand of shock-rock has influenced almost every musical act which goes in for theatrics since he started putting on his shows 40 years ago.

He’s enjoyed touring with Rob Zombie, who he describes as his “little brother” – but he was especially pleased to see pop star Lady Gaga hanging herself during a TV performance, because he’s sure she did it just for him.

Cooper tells Download: “Everyone who’s been influenced by me has taken it in another direction. Rob’s show is more in-your-face theatrics while mine is more Phantom of the Opera.

“I’ve never had so much fun on a tour – every night we’d try to outdo each other. He’d add something to his show then I’d add something to mine.

“Lady Gaga told me, ‘Thanks for letting me steal your show,’ but I said, ‘I see the influence but you didn’t steal anything.’ Then she hanged herself at the MTV Awards. I think that was a tribute to me.”

Cooper says his philosophy hasn’t changed, although the delivery has changed with media developments and with the rise of the festival show.

“When you’re playing big festivals you can’t do intricate, more fragile things. So you do bigger things.

“You can’t shock an audience any more – they’re shockproof. I get my head cut off on stage and that’s a really great trick; but then on CNN some guy’s getting his head cut off for real. Reality takes away from the fantasy.

“But you let the lyrics write the show: if you’re saying ‘Welcome to my nightmare’ you give the audience the nightmare. It takes money, it takes rehearsal and it takes time – but it looks great.”

Related stories: