From the first moment that Alice Cooper set his dastardly eyes on the public in 1970, it was evident that he had all the credentials to be a superstar. Cooper has always been a devilish figure and quickly made himself one of the most provocative rockers in history. It’s no surprise that his favourite drummer was equally mischievous.
Cooper’s brand of shock rock was captivating. It didn’t matter if you liked him and his band or not; in the seventies and eighties, you’d undoubtedly have an opinion on their every move and find yourself talking about them. This feature is his most arresting ingredient and is something that Cooper has always cherished above all else. Leaving fans with their mouths open was a key to his charm, and if there’s somebody else who was accustom to the gasp of an audience, it’s his favourite drummer.
The choice is an easy one for Cooper, who selected The Who’s maniacal percussionist Keith Moon as the best to step foot behind a drumkit. It also helps that the two were ardent drinking buddies and both members of the infamous ‘Hollywood Vampires’ hedonism gang, which is now, of course, the name of the singer’s supergroup alongside Johnny Depp and Joe Perry.
“I think kids love mythology, and I think everybody loves the mythology of what happened in the ’60s and the ’70s,” Cooper reflected on The Mistress Carrie Podcast. “It was an insane period of time. When I picked Keith Moon, it’s only because I could tell you a hundred stories, and Harry Nelson could tell you a hundred more, and Ringo could tell you a hundred different ones because he was that crazy.”
“And he was the best drummer of all time. I consider him the best stage drummer ever, Keith Moon,” Cooper said about his old drinking partner. “He was doing things that other drummers couldn’t even think about doing, and he was Keith Moon. But he was sort of insane in a really sweet way. He was the nicest person in the world. But it was like he’d wear you out. In two hours, you’d be worn out hanging with him.”
Although Moon was a drummer, Cooper found great inspiration from The Who, and he’d have given anything to swap positions with Roger Daltrey — which would have been quite the spectacle. “The Yardbirds were our band but The Who was what we wanted to be,” the raspy-voiced singer once recalled.
“We used to play with the Who at the Grande Ballroom [actually the Grande Riveria] in Detroit, it held 3000, and we would play and The Who would play, and my drummer Neal Smith would always find out how many drums Keith had and add one! At one point they were both on stage with all their drums and Keith came up and played with us and there was 70 drums,” Cooper glowingly remembered.
Seeing Keith Moon back up Alice Cooper on the drumkit even just for one night would have been something to remember. Unfortunately, the death of Moon would mean that we’d never get to see the two of them go hell for leather on stage together.
Instead, we’ll have to imagine the carnage.