Alice Cooper remembers showing Pretties For You to Frank Zappa: “I’m signing you because I don’t get it.’”

“He goes, ‘I’m Frank Zappa and I don’t get it.’”

Frank Zappa and Alice Cooper

Ebet Roberts / Gus Stewart / Getty Images

Alice Cooper has opened up about the first time Frank Zappa heard his music and the reasons the virtuoso eventually signed his band.

“When we first played our stuff for Frank Zappa, Frank Zappa listened to it, and it was very… Pretties for You was very complicated,” Cooper told Ultimate Classic Rock.

“[The songs] were only two minutes long, but [there were] 38 changes in a song. And he’d sit there and he goes, ‘I don’t get it.’ I went, ‘What?’ And he goes, ‘I’m Frank Zappa and I don’t get it.’ And I said, “Is that good or bad?” And he says, ‘No, I’m signing you because I don’t get it.’”

He added, “Now, people listened to that album at the time, and they went… Okay, one guy reviewed it as ‘a tragic waste of plastic,’ which I thought was a great review. But now it’s being reviewed as art. People are looking at and saying, ‘This was so far ahead of its time.’ And some of it was.”

Elsewhere, Cooper also attributed the band’s growing chemistry and technical proficiency over the years to their longtime producer Bob Ezrin, saying the man “really forced us into becoming a really good band”.

“The band could play, but he was the guy that came in and said, ‘OK, this part is great. This part is great. I don’t understand where you’re going on this part because it doesn’t fit at all.’ And then Love it to Death was born, and that was the first time you could listen to an Alice Cooper album and go, ‘Oh, that’s Alice Cooper.’ Because he gave us a signature.”

In other news, the musician — who’s embarking on his solo tour next month — recently confirmed that a new album with his touring band is in the works.

“I wanted to show off the touring band,” he said, “so we wrote songs, went in the studio, and I said, ‘Here’s the deal on this album: No overdubs.’”

“I said, ‘Everything has to be done in the studio live because the whole idea of this album is showing off how good this band is live.”


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