Alice Cooper Explains How He Learned Writing Lyrics
Alice Cooper recently joined BBC Radio Scotland’s Billy Sloan for an interview during which he revealed what helped him learn how to write lyrics.
The Godfather of Shock Rock, Alice Cooper, is a legendary figure in the rock and metal music scene with his successful career, which spans over 50 years. Although he is now at the age of 74, the musician seems quite determined to shock the audience and shake the stage with his dazzling performances.
Throughout his music career, Alice Cooper was influenced by various musical acts. Apart from bands like the Beatles, the Who, the Rolling Stones, and the Yardbirds, Cooper also found inspiration in shock rock pioneer Arthur Brown and legendary musicians Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry.
In an interview with BBC Radio Scotland, Billy Sloan reminded Cooper that he had claimed Chuck Berry could tell a story within a three-minute song. He then asked him to share his opinions on Berry’s ‘Roll Over Beethoven.’ As a response, Cooper said he likes the cleverness of lyrics, the syncopation, and the punchline.
Moreover, Cooper stated that he thought Chuck Berry was the best lyricist in rock and roll after listening to every one of his works. He claimed that Berry could even make a word up when he couldn’t think of one. Alice then revealed that he learned to write songs after listening to Chuck Berry.
During the conversation, BBC Radio Scotland’s Billy Sloan asked Alice Cooper the following:
“You said that Chuck Berry could tell an entire story in a three-minute song. And it was, as you say, one of the first records you ever had. What was up with ‘Roll Over Beethoven’ which really grabbed you? Because I guess that you’d never have anything like it before.”
Cooper then responded:
“I think it was the cleverness of the lyrics, you know, and the syncopation. Chuck Berry used to write and syncopate those words so perfectly. And then there was a punch line at the end; there was always a really good punch line.
After listening to every Chuck Berry record, I went, ‘This guy is easily the best lyricist in rock and roll.’ He is so good. If he couldn’t think of a word, he’d make one up. You know, ‘Don’t give me any botheration.’ [laughs] I don’t think there’s a word ‘botheration.’ But it makes perfect sense.
I love the idea that he couldn’t get his belt loose. He’s got the girl out, and he can’t get his seat belt off. That’s how I learned how to write lyrics is listening to him. And I think that Ray Davies probably listened to Chuck Berry a lot too, because he could do the same thing. So that’s how I learned how to write a song.”
You can check out the rest of the interview below.