Alice Cooper on Working with Larry Mullen Jr., Coping with the Deaths of Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington
Coming out this Friday (July 28), Alice Cooper’s new album Paranormal features a number of guest appearances, but the most surprising out of them all is U2’s Larry Mullen Jr.
Let’s be honest: In any game of Word Association, if someone said “Alice Cooper,” your first response wouldn’t be “U2.”
Nonetheless, Cooper was thrilled with to work with Mullen Jr., and in a recent conversation with WRIF’s Meltdown, he talked about Mullen Jr.’s very distinct drumming style and the question that took him by surprise:
“When we put the record together, we said, ‘Let’s do something unique that no one would expect.’ Well, Larry Mullen Jr. from U2 on drums was really a great idea only because he doesn’t play drums like your normal rock drummer. He’ll go to a hi-hat/tom-tom, rather than a hi-hat/snare, and it changes the whole bottom of the record. Even though it rocks as hard as anything, but it sounds differently. It just has a different sound to it. And I’ve never had a drummer ever come to me and say, ‘Let me see the lyrics.’ I went, ‘What?! Why would a drummer want to see any of the lyrics?’ He said, ‘That’s how I interpret U2’s songs. I listen to the lyrics first, and then I write the drum parts.’ And I just went, ‘This is going to be great! A guy that actually cares about the lyrics!’”
Cooper, of course, throughout his career has worked with a number of rock’s most talented musicians and as befriended them as well. (i.e. The Hollywood Vampires.) Unfortunately, he’s had to bid an early goodbye to some of them, too, and like many fans, he’s also been shaken by the suicide deaths of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington:
“I worked with Chris Cornell. I wrote a couple of songs with Chris for [1994’s] ‘The Last Temptation’ album. I just went, ‘This guy has got the whole package.’ I’ve never seen anyone that had the package as much as he did, when it comes to just talent, guitar playing, singing, songwriting, charisma, the whole thing. So, I was unbelievably shocked by that one. I didn’t get that one. I didn’t understand that one at all. A suicide on that level, I just went, ‘Why?’ I’m like everybody else going, ‘Why?’
And then Chester Bennington, same thing! Chester’s one of those guys I played golf with…well, I was teaching him golf. We’d talk about music the whole time. He was in two bands at the same time, Linkin Park and I think STP he was in, and…great kids, great family. No financial problems, and all of a sudden, he’s dead, and you go, ‘Why?! What is going on?!’
I don’t get it at all. I really don’t get it. I really never had any kind of depression, so I can’t speak for that. I don’t think it was drugs; I don’t think it was any of that. I think it was a matter of clinical depression…You couldn’t find two people with more potential than those two guys.”
Cooper’s Paranormal is currently available for pre-order at Amazon.
To listen to this interview in its entirety, head to WRIF.com.
Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger. The first man she ever loved was Jack Daniel. (True story.)