When he’s not staging theatrics or petting snakes, shock rock forefather Alice Cooper is more in touch than most of his generation when it comes to the modern music landscape. You might question his choices occasionally (duet with Ke$ha anyone?), but his latest parlay to the youth of today makes a lot of sense.
In an editorial piece written for The Huffington Post, Cooper urges youngsters to avoid watching reality TV show for fears that it will inspire them to aim for achieving fame over the hard work and creativity it takes to get there to begin with.
In his blog post, the 64-year-old performer admits he can’t stomach reality TV shows that emphasise “stupid people” and giving participants a fleeting five minutes fame.
“There’s one thing that really gets my horned goat in this grand scheme of things,” writes Cooper, “Reality TV! Please, don’t get your head turned in an Exorcist style and think it’s the way to fame and fortune, kiddies!”
“Believe me. I might be a rock star, all glitter, fake blood, make-up and theatrics (with awesome rock anthems of course) but you’ve no idea the hard graft and craft that’s gone into my career,” Cooper adds.
“The problem is with wanting to be a reality TV star, you’re only famous for a little while. You can’t live on that fame forever. That’s one of the major problems with the whole schtick.”
As for the music talent shows like The Voice and American Idol, Cooper says that their major flaw is that they groom the same kind of performers and singers, without encouraging or emphasising individuality or offering a fair proving ground.
“The only thing I have against X Factor and American Idol and things like that is that they just keep putting out the same person,” Cooper writes.
“They keep putting out these cookie-cutters that can go, ‘Oh yeah, I can sing Barry Manilow!’ Well, how about you write your own song?” he questions; and how would Cooper’s contemporaries of the glam/punk era fare in today’s reality TV game.
“If Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, David Bowie or myself were auditioning for American Idol, we wouldn’t get past the first audition, because that’s not what they’re looking for. They’re looking for the next guy that 10 years from now, is going to be a singer on a cruise ship… that’s really what their career is going to be, because there is no creativity in it.”
As for those among you who might ask Cooper’s credentials, he’s quick to point them out himself. “I’ve made nearly 30 albums in my career,” says the veteran rocker. “I know what I’m talking about.”
“You have to remember when I came out, at the same time as Elton, Bowie etc, record companies looked at your career, they didn’t care about one record, they cared about the next 20 records. Sure, they were interested in selling records and being in control of your career to make loads of money, but they let you do the music. They just left you alone with that – not demanding cookie-cutter garbage!”
Ultimately, Cooper says that “nowadays, people don’t care about quality, they care about what’s next, what’s going to sell, not what’s good.”
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