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Until Crocs and sweatpants come back into style, you probably won’t catch Vulture at many fashion events (we usually leave that sort of thing to our friends over at Show & Talk). But at last night’s John Varvatos show, we had the opportunity to chat up one of our all-time favorite rock stars, Alice Cooper, who took time away from feeding his Frankenstein and biting heads off chickens (allegedly!) to talk to us about modeling, snakes, and his makeup advice for Marilyn Manson.
Fancy meeting you here. What brings you out?
I shot a campaign with John Varvatos for his fall line. He used me as a model. Now, I don’t know why. Because I’m a survivor, I guess. He kind of works with all the Detroit rockers, Iggy and myself and people like that. It makes sense. We’re the ones who wear his clothes.
Will you be walking a runway for Varvatos?
No, we just did a photo spread. You’ll see me with a giant snake. That was John’s idea.
Any problems with the snake?
That thing weighed as much as I do — 160 pounds. It was an anaconda, which is too big to be playing with. I’m usually pretty comfortable with snakes, but this thing was a monster. I mean, this thing was out of Jurassic Park. If it had wanted to do something, we couldn’t have stopped it.
Are you usually comfortable with snakes?
I use them in my show, but we use boa constrictors. They’re usually the nicest creatures in the world, but this thing would not have listened to anything. It was THIS big around. All muscle. You would have to kill it to stop it.
You seemed really chummy with LL Cool J and JC Chasez, who are also here. Kind of odd.
In this business you make strange friends. You would think that the music is so separated, but it’s really not. When you’re on the road, everyone’s in the same business, touring. You’re all kind of the same family.
Are you an ‘N Sync fan?
We’re just old friends. We all kind of laugh about that. I told people that JC and I used to be in the same band together.
What are your style secrets?
Tight Levi’s and a leather jacket never go out of style. It worked in the sixties. It will work in 2060.
What do you think of the way young kids are dressing today?
Every time I see the pants down under the butt cheeks and the side hat, I want to smack the hat off and pull the pants up, but I understand that’s to make my generation angry. I get it. Fashion should provoke a little bit. It should make certain people angry. When we first came out, I was wearing makeup, in 1968. And everybody was just terrified because they thought, “My kids are going to wear that!” The kids turned out fine. You know, our job is to do that, to provoke. I was the villain of rock.
Do you find yourself wearing less makeup as you get older?
Tonight I’m wearing makeup because of this thing. Onstage I still wear makeup, but at home I never wear makeup. Marilyn Manson wears his makeup all the time. I told him, “You’re going to get tired of that. That’s going to get old after a while.”
What bands have the most to learn from you?
Well, these young bands have to understand that it’s all in the songwriting. The image is great, the icing on the cake is great, but if you don’t have the songs, you’re going to be around for maybe two years. Panic! At the Disco is an interesting band because they write really interesting stuff. The White Stripes are really interesting because they’re just Detroit garage rock, but they do it with such intensity that they make me believe it. That’s hard to do. I like garage bands, tough rock-and-roll bands. Arctic Monkeys are pretty good. I just hope it goes more in that direction rather than overly produced bands that aren’t going to be around.
Any bands you don’t like?
There’s a lot of music I don’t like, but I can’t say because I’m standing too close to LL (laughs). For some reason, maybe because it’s not my enemy anymore, I’m starting to like disco. The Bee Gees. At the time I wasn’t allowed to like it. And there are maybe three or four rap artists I like who are really original. LL is one of them, and Outkast. Unbelievable. They’re a combination of Frank Zappa and Earth Wind and Fire.
Have you been watching Rock of Love?
Oh God, I call Bret [Michaels] up all the time and say, “Throw them all out! They’re all idiots!” —Jada Yuan