Alice Cooper on Why He’s Proud to be a Detroiter

The rock icon talks about the importance of hometown pride
Alice Cooper
Alice Cooper

On Oct. 30, Alice Cooper made a stop at The Shinola Hotel to honor the work of The Kirk Gibson Foundation for Parkinson’s. Hour Detroit sat down with the legendary rock star for a two-minute chat about how the city shaped him. True to form, he conveyed volumes in little time.

Hour Detroit: How did growing up in Detroit shape you in a way that’s unique?

Alice Cooper: The very weird thing in the world of rock and roll is that, if you say you’re from Detroit, there’s a whole different respect, because all the hard-rock bands came out of Detroit. There was the San Francisco Sound with the Grateful Dead, The Doors were in L.A., New York had the Young Rascals, Boston had their own groups. But Detroit was the hard-rock #capital#. It had The Stooges, MC5, Suzi Quatro. Every band that made it out of Detroit was a hard-rock band. That’s what we were known for — that and Motown at the same time. We’d be playing the Grande Ballroom — this is 1968-1970 — and you’d look down at the audience and it’s all rock and roll, loud as it could be. You’d see some Motown people down there, too. You’d see Smokey [Robinson], and you’d see Stevie Wonder and Aretha. They’d all come down to see the rock bands. And we’d go down to The Roostertail and see all the R&B bands. So, there was a real connection and respect between musicians on all ends. I can go any place and when they ask, “Where you from?” and I say, “Detroit,” it’s like, “Oh, Detroit!” There’s a certain amount of respect you get being from here.

It sounds like there was a great camaraderie between genres at that time. Have you noticed a fracturing of that?

I still think there’s a real family spirit about Detroit. There’s rap, of course, and hip-hop that are happening now. But I think, Eminem probably is a big Detroit rock fan, same with Kid Rock and the Insane Clown Posse. All the white rappers — the only ones that have validity — are from Detroit.

Why do you think that is?

I think it’s because there is an authority here. If you live in Detroit, and you’ve lived through all of it — I mean, Detroit was bankrupt. It was the scariest place in the world to be. Now it’s back on its way up again, but I’ve always been proud to say I’m from Detroit.