Alice Cooper had a killer idea that transformed rock in the '60s and '70s.
"It was quite obvious that rock was full of idols and heroes, but there were no villains," he recently told MusicRadar. "I couldn't find a villain in the bunch. I thought, 'If nobody wants to play Captain Hook, I do!'"
Extremely popular overseas, AC's music was "banned" by several important politicians, but that just fueled the fire.
"Every time they would try to ban us, the British public was behind us," Cooper said. "They'd say, 'You can't tell us what we can and can't see.'
"Britain got it first. When Britain got it, everybody thought we were from Britain — it felt like a British band. It was like with Jimi Hendrix: Everyone thought he was British because he was a success in Britain before the States. I give the British a lot of credit for my success because they got what I was doing first."
The success of Cooper's act led to several reincarnations.
"When Marilyn Manson came out, I said, 'OK, let me see, a guy with makeup on with a girl's name who does theatrics — I wish I had thought of that!'" Cooper joked. "Marilyn and I are good friends now; we've toured together. If you look at his show, it is nothing like my show. He has his own style of grotesque. Rob Zombie is probably closer to Alice Cooper because it is more of an extravaganza."
But Cooper still used the word "derivative" when describing these contemporary rivals.
"Rob Zombie does a really good show, Marilyn Manson does a great show," he said. "Gwar and Rammstein, it's all derivative of what we started doing, but the Alice show is still different. You focus on Alice as the main character, so we don't use pyro and things like that. I want the audience to get sucked in by the character because everything happens either to him or because of him."
He also mentioned that a surprising group of artists is currently carrying the torch for his old theatrics.
"I think the girls at this point have taken over the shows," he said. "You go look at Shakira, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga — they're doing Alice Cooper. That's what we were doing in the late '60s and early '70s through to now."