Alice Cooper said his organization had “put money aside” for its crew members as the scale of the COVID pandemic began to become clear, and added that he hoped every other leading band had done the same.
The live music industry hasn’t yet returned to full capacity and global touring acts remain restricted in many markets, with a knock-on effect on the incomes of those who work backstage as part of artists’ road teams or as local staff.
“When we saw this coming, we put money aside for our crew,” Cooper told Forbes in a recent interview. “We could see that it was… something. So we put money aside as a backup for them. Because we knew that their unemployment would run out, you know? And then they’d have something to go to. I think all responsible bands did that. Hopefully.”
He continued: “Because these are people we live with. We work with them every day. The guys that run the stage are as important as the guys that play guitar. So we made sure that everybody was covered. And that was really important. Hey, we thought this thing was gonna last a month! 18 months?! Unreal.”
Cooper described the sudden downtime as “absolutely unusual.” “I’ve been touring for 55 years. And we usually average 100 to 200 shows a year,” he reflected. “We’re so used to being on stage that 18 months off was like insane!” He added that returning to rehearsals with shows finally scheduled left everybody “giddy” because “we didn’t know if there was going to be an end to this! Maybe it was all over? Now people are out doing shows again – it’s back to the grind. And we love the grind!”
Cooper’s latest album, Detroit Stories, was made during the pandemic and has become one of his most successful releases in years. “It comes out and my wife says, ‘Did you see this?’ I looked and it says, ‘Alice’s album debuts at No. 1.’ I went, ‘What?!’” he recalled. The shock-rocker argued his chart-topping release was evidence that certain types of music would never go away. “If you look at the bands that are still here – Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper – we’re all hard rock bands,” he noted. “Music goes up and down and goes all over the place but the music that never goes away is hard rock.”
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