Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie entomb the DECC

Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie entomb the DECC

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie scared up a nearly full house last Wednesday at the DECC.

Rob Zombie headlined and Alice Cooper opened the Duluth leg (they rotate each night) of their Gruesome Twosome tour. This meeting of two generations of shock rockers was a visual feast of horror, and a history lesson in metal stage shows.

Cooper used huge sets, elaborate props, and many lights for the Duluth show, continuing what he created back in the time when he filled giant stadiums around the world. He also found time to enjoy the city earlier in the day golfing with Dan Russell of the DECC and then reportedly stopping at the ICO at 6th Avenue East to gas up his RV. Another sighting occurred at Yonkers, where he was spotted with his wife shopping for make up.

The two rockers use different stage shows to capture the audience and draw them into their music. Cooper utilizes a giant rolling staircase, syringes, hot nurses, death, and a large “Alice Cooper” lit up sign behind him. Rob Zombie had big screens showing clips from cult movies and large flames that even made the temperature in the room rise. Cooper’s show felt more classic rock/broadway/70s stadium, while Zombie was more of an LA movie character/film buff.

The music was great all around, but I must admit that I was there to see Cooper a bit more than Zombie. The music of Cooper had a more commercial appeal, while Zombie’s songs sounded like they all fit a certain formula. It was cool to see Zombie have flames go up and words appear on the screen for the audience to chant. One song that did this well was “Mars Needs Women.” While not a well known song, it kind of summed up the entire Rob Zombie experience. It doesn’t appear that he takes it as serious as some of his fans do, but he is a character on stage and plays the part well.

“Lines form on my face and hands… I´m a boy and I´m a man…I´m eighteen - And I don´t know what I want…” Alice Cooper sang in “I’m Eighteen.”

Cooper performed some classic hit tunes in “School’s Out”, “I’m Eighteen”, and “No More Mr. Nice Guy.” He is a legend and still puts on an amazing show, dying in all sorts of crazy ways throughout his performance.

As a Doors fan, and assuming that many people out there probably saw the PBS special “When You’re Strange” last week, I thought I might add some information about Cooper and Jim Morrison of the Doors. When looking back in time it is interesting how in 1967 The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, and The Who all began to become characters on stage and added drama to rock. So much so in the case of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Keith Moon that the personality who they portrayed on stage overtook their spirit and killed them. Cooper talked a few years ago about how he saved himself from a similar fate.

“In the early days when I was drinking,” Cooper said in an interview a few years ago. “I had a very blurry line about where those two were... but I mean, that happens when you drink twenty-two hours a day. I would just sit and drink. I didn’t know whether or not I was supposed to be Alice when I went out for dinner and was a little lit. Then there was the question about whether or not I should wear the make up because I didn’t really want to disappoint anyone. Was I supposed to get into trouble? Was I supposed to get arrested that night? All of those questions went through my mind. You have to remember though who my older brothers and sisters were--guys like Jim Morrison and Keith Moon and all the people who were living that life. After they all died, I just sat there and went, “if one generation is going to learn from the next the truth is going to have to be that you don’t have to die to be your character. I figured then that I had better be able to separate the two. When I go onstage as Aliceto this day, I play Alice to the hilt — I play him for everything he is worth, but when I’m offstage, I never think about Alice Cooper. He never occurs to me. .. I walk off stage and I turn away from the audience, I go back to being me again. Whenever I see an audience, that’s when I turn into Alice. If there was no audience there, there would be no reason to be Alice. If I tried to be Alice Cooper all the time — I’d either be in an insane asylum or in jail or dead. Alice is just too intense, and you just can’t beAlice all the time. Jim Morrison couldn’t be Jim Morrison, so he died. Jimi Hendrix couldn’t be Jimi Hendrix, so he died. That’s really what killed Janis Joplin, Keith Moon and all the way down the line. They were all animated characters who couldn’t live up to their lifestyle, so I said that I needed to be able to separate the two — that’s why I’m still here.”

One thing that always shocks me is that the trademark line in Jim Morrison’s song “Roadhouse Blues” was actually swiped from a conversation he had with Cooper.

“We were sitting there drinking and Jim comes in and he flops down,” said Cooper on his breakfast show on Planet Rock radio a few months ago.

“I said that I had got up this morning and got myself a beer and while we’re talking he just writes that down. So they go in and they’re doing the song and the next thing I hear is ‘Woke up this morning and I got myself a beer’ and I went ‘I just said that a second ago!’”

“He was very spontaneous in the way things were written,” he adds. “The thing about Jim was it was sometimes dangerous being around him because there was no such thing as a dare. He would jump out of cars and roll down hills,” says Cooper.

“At a big party for The Doors at the 6000 building on Sunset he’s got a bottle of whiskey in each hand, on top of the building balancing like a high wire act. One gust of wind and he is over. I’m sitting there going ‘How come no one is pulling him off the ledge? It’s Jim Morrison!’ and they’re like ‘If he falls, he falls.’

“It was very odd to me that there wasn’t a little more of reigns pulled in especially as he was the biggest rock star in the world at that point.”

Cooper was able to separate himself from the shock rock here that fans have grown to love, which is a key factor in why he continues to wow audiences 40 years later. Go to for more pictures from the show.