Alice Cooper and the Rock Hall

Earlier this year, Alice Cooper talked to Craig Ferguson about his exclusion from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Now his former drummer, Neal Smith (now a "rockin' realtor"), is speaking out about Alice and the politics of the Hall of Fame in a chat with Nightwatcher's House of Rock Interviews:
NHOR : Alice was quoted earlier this year as saying he kind of likes the idea of being blackballed from the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Do you think Alice really thinks that, and would you agree with his comments, that it's more of an honor not to be in there than to actually be in there?

NS : Well, I know a little bit about the politics around the hall, so I'm not really at liberty to say anything about that. I think whatever he thinks are his thoughts and opinions. I would like to be in there, but the way I look at it the true band Alice Cooper pissed people off way back then, and apparently we are still doing it. When you think of the things we started then, there's a whole vein of music which didn't exist before us. Everybody from Kiss all the way up to Marilyn Manson. All the bands in between in that vein were one way or another inspired by Alice Cooper. I read, and hear things from people all the way up to this day all the time, that they wouldn't be playing an instrument if it weren't for us.

Steve Vai, the first album he ever learned from beginning to end was 'Love It To Death'. A lot of great musicians, and just that whole vein of music, the shock rock thing, or whatever you want to call it was brought upon by us. And to totally ignore that, and pass it over year after year just surprises me, that's all. My spin on it is if we're blackballed, who needs 'em anyway. I look at it as we're still ruffling feathers after all this time. Somewhere, somebody doesn't set easy with us. But you know what? When we were with Warner Brothers, they were ready to cancel our contract after every single album. We had to renegotiate after every single one. They kept thinking it was a fluke. The only ones who believed in us were us and Shep Gordon, our manager. That was it, and our fans. We had to cut a demo for 'Love It To Death'. It was always a fight and a struggle for us. So the fact that somewhere somebody doesn't like us, that's fine with me. (Laughs)

NHOR : Well, let's face it Neal, the Alice Cooper Band was never one of Rolling Stone Magazine's darlings, which seems to be a criteria to being inducted...

NS : I always said that, the magazine's not called, "Alice Cooper", it's called "Rolling Stone". And bearing in mind with what you just brought up, and I'm not going to elaborate on it much more, but we're talking about that whole San Francisco area there. Which does have a lot of influence on what goes on with the Hall. It's all politics, and there's nothing wrong with The Talking Heads, but when I saw that they got in I said, "You've got to be kidding me". I know they had a couple of hit songs but I can't even really tell you what they are. The Alice Cooper 'Greatest Hits' album is really a greatest hits album. How many records did they sell? I don't know.

I think they should start up a Shock And Roll Hall Of Fame. The Hall Of Fame's cool, I've been there, and it's got some great stuff. The majority of the people who are in there certainly deserve to be in there and it's cool for the fans. And the other question is, if it happens, are they going to put Alice in by himself, or the whole band? That would be the biggest kick in the head for us, if they'd put Alice in by himself. Actually, I've had a couple people I've talked to from the Hall in New York, and they've said, "Believe me, everybody knows the original band was THE band".

NHOR : Do you think that Alice would actually accept an induction without the rest of the original band being voted in as well?

NS : He didn't have any problem accepting the Alice Cooper star on Hollywood Boulevard, did he? He actually had the balls to tell me, "I actually thought of you guys". You thought about us? Gimme a break. We used to walk up and down that street starving every day, day after day, thinking someday we'd have our name there, and it gets there and you're by yourself. That's awful nice you thought about us. I think it's great that it's there, but sometimes it's better to say nothing than to say something that stupid. That band was put together through the blood, sweat and tears of 5 people. Each one of them deserves 100% credit, not just one getting 500% of the credit. That's the reason Dennis is writing a book and I'm writing a book. It's just a factual documentation of what we went through.

Smith's dig at the Talking Heads makes him seem out of touch with what the Hall of Fame is about, but he brings up an interesting point about whether or not the entire group would be inducted, or just Cooper himself.
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