Thanks to Cameron for allowing me to post this cool new interview with Alice Cooper guitarist Ryan Roxie.
Alice Cooper, Dads Porno Mag, Roxie 77, Electric Angels etc
Interview by: Cameron Edney
Australian fans recently had the pleasure of witnessing the god father of shock rock Alice Cooper live in concert once again. I was fortunate enough to catch up with long time Alice Cooper guitarist Ryan Roxie while the band was resting in Newcastle before kicking off their Australian leg of the world tour. Ryan is far from a new face on the rock scene. He has been climbing his way up the rock ladder since the mid eighties when he was first signed to Atlantic records with L.A. based band Electric Angels. Ryan has gone on to play with a countless list of talented musicians & has released some killer solo albums; his latest 'Peace Love & Armageddon' shows just how amazing and talented Ryan is. I spoke with Ryan about the ten years he has spent playing on and off with Alice Cooper, the soon to be released Alice Cooper album Dirty Diamonds, we also spoke about life on the road, Ryan's solo projects Dads Porno Mag & Roxie 77, the Metal mania petition that Ryan is supporting and much more. I hope you all enjoy reading this interview. I had a lot of fun conducting this one.
INSIDE_OUT666: Hey Ryan thanks for taking the time out this morning to speak with us, Hows things mate?
RYAN ROXIE: I've got a millions things runnin' through my head at the moment, what's goin' down?
INSIDE_OUT666: To be honest I can't believe you guys are up so early?
RYAN ROXIE: Well I came from Stockholm & then went to the states, that put me behind Stockholm time & then we flew out to Australia which put me ahead of Stockholm time so my heads about as screwed up as Glenn Close is in 'Fatal Attraction' right now, I've got to be honest with ya!
INSIDE_OUT666: You have got plenty of time to get use to the time adjustment; you guys are here in Australia for a couple of weeks aren't you?
RYAN ROXIE: Maybe a little over three weeks so that's gonna give us a chance to really see Australia the way you're supposed to see it.
INSIDE_OUT666: Now is this your second or third trip to Australia?
RYAN ROXIE: Uh! It's my third time actually I came here with Alice Cooper in 1998 we did the Rock Carnival tour here, then we did the Brutal Planet/Dragontown tour here & now we are doing the 'The Eyes Of Dirty Diamonds Are Forever' tour . We always come down here to Australia with a hybrid show. We're bringing back the guillotine, bringing back a couple of illusions a lot of the theatrics. You can imagine that half the people who go to the Alice Cooper show are into the vintage, classic Alice Cooper. People who enjoy Alice for songs such as Schools Out, No More Mr. Nice Guy, Brutal Planet & the heavier music & then you have the people who appreciate Alice Cooper from the 'Welcome to My Nightmare' era and that theatrical show. I think there is something for everybody in these shows.
INSIDE_OUT666: Speaking of the soon to be released album 'Dirty Diamonds', how much input did you have in terms of writing for the new album?
RYAN ROXIE: Alice was very cool about co-writing with the band on the last couple of albums. I was able to be a contributor on this record & I'm really happy about it. It's truly a nice feeling to look up & see your name right next to Cooper in the credits. There are a few Roxie/Cooper co-writes that I'm really proud of. Alice has said in interviews that he understands that a lot the fans expect certain songs & I know he's really excited about playing the new material to which makes me happy because I know we had a big hand in the writing of it.
INSIDE_OUT666: When you prepare to do an album like 'Dirty Diamonds' what comes first the lyrics or the music?
RYAN ROXIE: Ahh! The chicken or the egg an age old question. As far as the writing with 'Dirty Diamonds' & 'The Eyes of Alice Cooper', we had a lot of guitar riffs that were Alice based. They had that really cool Alice sounding influence to them. Alice would come in sometimes & say 'you know what, were going to pick a subject to write about & I'm just gonna do my thing & were gonna jam over the riff a million times'. He would start putting in a word here & there, all of a sudden he got the catch phrase for the title of the song & then it became an Alice Cooper tune. If one of us bought in a tune that we thought was done, Alice would take it to the next level & make it an Alice Cooper song.
INSIDE_OUT666: Has there been a release date set for the album?
RYAN ROXIE: I've been hearing august for Europe and maybe later for the United States but you can't quote me. As far as the label goes I know it's coming out on New West Records in the states & I think it's coming out on Eagle/Spitfire everywhere else. The best way to go to find any of that information out is to go to the official Alice cooper website http://www.alicecooper.com or you can go to my site http://www.roxie77.com .
INSIDE_OUT666: I was looking at your website this morning actually!
RYAN ROXIE: Oh you're that one guy .
INSIDE_OUT666: Yeah I was that one guy. I was reading up on the album you released last year 'Peace Love & Armageddon' what can you tell us about the album & the other guys that played on it?
RYAN ROXIE: Yes of course, Roxie 77 is a continuation of the last 2 solo records that I did & they are available through the website & I will have them while I'm out on the road also. Luckily enough Alice is cool enough to let us move a lot of our merch. I've got a couple of albums out. There's one called 'Dads Porno Mag' and I've had a few fans out there email me & they've been really supportive of that. D.P.M. I think its still a continuation of that & the songs were written & recorded over the course of a couple of years. The range of subjects are from being an idiot rock 'n' roll guy to actually coming of age & having a kid & realising that we are all mortal. The subject matter means a lot & very little. Every person that listens to it will get something out of the songs. As for the different members of the band, I got a group of guys that I've been playing with throughout the years, the same drummer from D.P.M. Mike Fasano played the drums on the Roxie 77 album, my good buddy Jeff who I met going on 20 years ago now, he was one of the first guys I met when I moved to Los Angeles when I was 17. He played bass on it, he normally plays guitar. I told him I needed someone for the bass playing side of it & he stepped right in. I really wanted to see what 'Roxie 77' could sound like with one guitarist, one keyboardist, one bassist & one drummer I hadn't seen that line-up in a little while. I thought we made a really good record.
INSIDE_OUT666: Another thing I came across on your site was the MP3 samples from the Roxie 77 album. There are some really catchy riffs on there, all you need is for one song to break & Boom! It will hit the roof!
RYAN ROXIE: That's the whole thing I keep telling myself man, you've gotta be in the game to have a chance at winning it. Just record it. Put it out & see what happens because you never know. Maybe it will get played or the right person hears it at the right time & boom. I just want to concentrate on continuing to write songs that mean something to me & songs that I feel I would want to listen to then when that shot comes & you get that chance to let the world see it. You're off. A lot of people go 'Oh who's Ryan Roxie'? Or 'I've just found out about him', a lot of people don't realise that I've been in the trenches of rock for quite a long time, I know what its like to tour on a skateboard . Charter jets to rent-a-cars I know the whole gamete.
INSIDE_OUT666: A lot of people probably don't realise that your first major band 'Electric Angels' was back in the late eighties?
RYAN ROXIE: Yeah that's right we were signed to Atlantic in the late eighties. Like I said I've been in the trenches & a lot of people think it happens over night. That age old clich', but nothing happens over night baby .
INSIDE_OUT666: This is true; you have to really work your ass off to get there!
RYAN ROXIE: The good thing about that though is for me is that I wouldn't change a thing in the world. I wouldn't change the experiences & the longevity of it. There's a lot of people who have success very early into their career & then three years, four yeas later it's done, & your like 'what am I gonna do'? Luckily for me the way I look at things, I've been able to steadily increase my workload, increase my exposure every single year & gain more of a popularity fan base & get to meet a lot of these people.
Lets admit it not many people get to travel the world every year playing rock n roll & I've got to tell you its one of the best jobs in the world that anyone could ever ask for. It does get hard being away from the family & that is defiantly a big issue for me but look at what I'm doing! I'm playing rock 'n' roll & entertaining. Unfortunately there are a lot of other unfortunate people A.K.A. the brave troops out there that are away from their families for much longer & under much more dire circumstances. That always puts things in perspective for me.
INSIDE_OUT666: It has come to my attention that more than 3000 Rock/Metal fans worldwide have united & signed a petition. Artists such as Judas priest, Neil Turbin, Bob Daisley & yourself to name a few are among those in favour of a Metal Mania Channel with no 'nu-metal' to be played. Many fans & artists believe that VH1 & MTV will never approve this, not because of ratings, but because of the genre of music which would be featured. Can you share your thoughts on the matter?
RYAN ROXIE: I completely believe that if you show people the numbers of the demographics of what type of people are going to be listening & viewing these shows it would be a slam dunk & anybody wouldn't want to pick it up. It's probably not going to be MTV or VH1. When it comes down to those big companies it's all about dollars & cents now, The people they would be selling to are still a record buying public, yeah it's not the teenage crowd that buys everything that's put in front of them, its more of a mature crowd that usually does there homework but there still a buying. If you explain it to companies in a much more business oriented sense I think you will get much more success instead of going 'well you just have to play it because the fans need it & the fans like it'. Yeah the fans do need it & do want it & obviou sly it keeps me employed. I heard about the idea that's being bounced around with the petition & I think it's awesome, I really support. If VH1 or MTV don't pick it up there's so many other options on cable nowadays, it will work. Just look at those bands you mentioned earlier Judas Priest, Iron Maiden & so on, all those bands have got really good numbers & large fan bases around the world. Alice Cooper is another, if I'm doing ok with my Roxie 77 stuff, my merch when I'm the little guy on the Alice tour just imagine what Alice does. His fans are really supportive. I would be happy with a channel that's gonna give us all more exposure & more of a chance for us to continue to work! If we can have channels dedicated to making food & dog grooming than there is no reason we can't have a channel dedicated to our old school rock'n'roll.
INSIDE_OUT666: In your honest opinion, what do you think about the direction that hard rock & metal music has taken in the last few years?
RYAN ROXIE: I'm actually quite positive about the whole thing. What were noticing at least at the Alice Cooper shows is that were getting a younger & younger audiences, the kids that are coming to the shows now have seen the Marylin Manson show & they've seen the Rob Zombie show & now they're actually doin their homework & there going 'well who influenced these guys'? then they find out that Alice Cooper was a big driving force behind bands like that & he's still touring 'oh my god, I can actually go and see the godfather of all these bands?'
I'm happily discovering that the fans are happy & willing to discover the roots. Now it's really trendy to have the old Ac/Dc & Led Zeppelin t-shirts from a marketing view, but the bottom line is the kids are doing the research on them. Nowadays on the net you can be much more apart of a bands career & find out information then you could when I was a kid. When I was a kid you had to write a fan letter, lick a stamp & wait for a year to get a response. Now with a couple of clicks you can find out basically Ace Frehley's home address .
INSIDE_OUT666: Out of all of the newer bands who are you listening to?
RYAN ROXIE: Because I live in Sweden now I think there are a few really great bands that are coming out of Stockholm. An Australian band I'm into is Jet, I got to meet those guys last year, they're really nice guys & they've got the right idea. They've taken all of the influences of bands like The Beatles among others & made it there own, that's really what you've got to do in rock'n'roll. There are only so many chords you can play & there's only so many times that you can talk about the same things, but if just twist it enough to produce a classic song or a classic band I think you have a really good chance of achieving great success.
INSIDE_OUT666: While you guys are in Australia you will be playing a couple of side shows without Alice under the title Eric Singer & friends, what can you tell us about that?
RYAN ROXIE: We have been working so hard trying to get this Alice Cooper show together that it will be nice to go to a club & blow off steam with some songs that we've been inspired by. Obviously we will be playing some of the Kiss classics, we're also going to play some old glam songs from T-Rex, The Sweet, we're gonna be doing some Cheap Trick & other bands that I was influenced by. The shows are going to be great. I'm looking forward to them.
INSIDE_OUT666: Now you have been playing on & off with Alice for ten years now, are there still days where you wake up & pinch yourself?
RYAN ROXIE: Im becoming the Bruce Kulick of the Alice Cooper band, I don't know what the hells going on . Yep, but that's not because I play with Alice Cooper . No I don't pinch myself but I do sometimes I do sit back & take a deep breath & say to myself 'you know what'? 'It's a good thing'. There's moments like right now, I think how lucky I am to be just hanging out. The rock'n'roll lifestyle doesn't stop right after the shows. We get together after the shows do the after parties, play poker & then in the morning we get to wake up & play a round of golf which I recently got into. Then after that we get to go & do some interviews, that's not hard work, it's actually fun, obviously I like the sound of my own voice then we play the rock show again. The whole lifestyle for me is a really good time & to be doing it for as many years as I've been able to do it with Alice is a really cool thing.
INSIDE_OUT666: What's the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you onstage?
RYAN ROXIE: well the list goes on & on, oh I remember a story from the club days. I think it was right after we got our deal with Atlantic. We celebrated the gig by playing a club that had a bunch of bar tables out on the floor. I got a li ttle angry that there were people eating salads while we were playing, so I wanted to walk across the tables & eat somebody's salad at the end of the line of tables. Of course I didn't understand that the tables weren't bolted down to the ground & they were strategically placed. So what happened? I slipped on a fork & almost killed myself . The whole table went down mid song, Les Paul up in the air it was ugly it was kind of a bitch cause the record label had just signed us & they had brought up a bunch of their people to see us 'this is our new band'. 'Look at the idiot with salad in his hair' . We made it through though & on went the show. Oh here's another one for you from the last time I was I here in Australia. I just had knee surgery & I was being really careful with it. I was careful on the plane. I got onstage & started spinning around like an idiot & all of a sudden the knee gives out. Bang, right on my ass . That kind of stuff happens all the time.
INSIDE_OUT666: What's the most ridiculous thing you have ever asked for on a tour rider?
RYAN ROXIE: I'm pretty normal when it comes to that sort of thing. There's no brown M & Ms or green M & Ms or anything like that. We might be pushing it a little bit by asking for golf balls . What does that have to do with the show? They say . So for anyone who's reading this if you want to bring Roxie something nice, just bring him a little pack of golf balls & he'll be wrapped but don't throw em onstage .
INSIDE_OUT666: I know you're heavily influenced by Cheap Trick. Later this year you will be on the road with those guys, you must be happy about that?
RYAN ROXIE: Yes, it's going to be amazing. They are the coolest guys in the world. It's always great when you get to meet your idols & they don't disappoint you.
INSIDE_OUT666: If you could put a band together consisting of musicians passed on & or present who would they be & what would you call the band?
RYAN ROXIE: Wow, wow that's a great question. There has been so many guys that I have seen over the years that I would hand pick. To be honest, it starts with the lead singer. My favourite voice in rock'n'roll has always been Robin Zander he got one of the best voices in rock n roll, oh for a guitar player I'd have Brian May , on bass I'd probably get John Taylor from Duran Duran as far as a drummer wow where do you find that perfect drummer? I've played with so many great drummers I think you would have to make your own Frankenstein drummer. To sum it up I'd have Robin Zander on vocals, Brian May on guitar, myself on guitar, John Taylor on bass & Dave Grohl on drums who I think is one of todays greatest. It would be as weird as hell.
INSIDE_OUT666: What would you call it?
RYAN ROXIE: Weird as hell
INSIDE_OUT666: hey that works, its quiet catchy!
INSIDE_OUT666: Well Ryan thanks again for your time today mate, it's been great talking to you this morning. Do you have any last words for our readers?
RYAN ROXIE: Nice talking to you to. I've just got to tell everyone to come out to roxie77.com and we will embrace you! Come on out and say hello. I'm always out there saying hello so to everyone, don't be shy!
(c) Cameron Edney July 2005
Not to be re-printed in any form without written permission.
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To view other rockin interviews I have done go to: InsideOut666