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Neal Smith Interview
'The Return of the Platinum God,' and other tales of a rock n' roll legend...
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
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MuzikMan: Your CD "Platinum God" is now available on your website. What's the reference to "The Forbidden Platinum God Tapes"?

Neal: "Platinum God" was never released when it was recorded in 74/75. I released it for the first time ever on my own label "Kachina Music", Halloween of 1999. (b) "The Forbidden Platinum God Tapes", refer to the fact that in 74/75 "Platinum God", scared the hell out of all the record executives and A&R people that ever listened to it. Even Bob Ezrin said that if "Platinum God" ever became a hit record, he would leave the country.

MuzikMan: Has the response been good to your re-release of the album?

Neal: The response to the release of "Platinum God" has been fantastic! I will send an attachment with comments from the fans, some to my amazement, have been waiting 25 years for its release. It was because of the fans, that I decided to release "Platinum God" myself in 1999.

MuzikMan: I see that your website is split into two sections, music and Real Estate. How long have you been in the Real Estate business? How did that happen?

Neal: (a) I have been a Realtor in Connecticut, selling residential real estate for over 15 years. I started investing in real estate in 1971, buying and selling homes. I was also involved in several group real estate investments in the early to mid 70's. (b) The combination of those things sparked my interest in real estate as a profession.

MuzikMan: I read the story about the Alice Cooper experiences in Goldmine Magazine. It was very interesting. Since that story has been published has there been a renewed interest in all of the Alice Cooper material? Have people been seeking out all the group members on an individual basis as well? (i.e. web pages, solo records)

Neal: (a) I can not say if the Goldmine interview has created a renewed interest in the band, I will have to wait for the next royalty checks, then I will let you know. I thought the interview was ok, but anything about the Group/Alice Cooper without Glen Buxton, is incomplete. (b) I can not speak for Michael and Dennis, but ever since I've had in 1997, fans on a steady basis have contacted me and I dig hearing from them and enjoy hearing their stories.

MuzikMan: Do you have any plans to release an more solo material that you have in the can? Are you planning (or currently) to create anymore music?

Neal: a) I have a lot of music in the can, but at present I have no plans to release it, only time will tell what I will do with those tapes. (b) Myself, Dennis Dunaway and (Joe Bouchard of BOC fame) are currently recording some brand new music we have been writing for over the past two years. Hopefully we my have it ready for a Christmas or spring 2001 release.

MuzikMan: Have you ever given any thought to just doing a totally instrumental drum album? Kind of like a Mickey Hart thing?

Neal: Actually, I am presently working on a music project with some friends of mine, that is totally instrumental. I am experimenting with some exotic percussion, and enjoying it a lot.

MuzikMan: What do you think of today's music? Are there any particular artists that really impress you as carrying the torch you passed? (in a musical sense, of course)

Neal: (a) Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins and Counting Crows are the most recent popular bands that I like. I appreciate good song writing and these bands have had some great hit songs. (b) I think it is very obvious which bands, through the 80's and the 90's that have been influenced by our Group/Alice Cooper, they have vocalized it, and carry the torch well. While some others have been incredibly underwhelming with their so called song writing abilities.

MuzikMan: What was it like working with Frank Zappa when you first started? Did you ever listen to his 3 CD set "Shut Up And Play Your Guitar"?

Neal: (a) Frank Zappa and our Group/Alice Cooper were like water and oil, very different. It was great that he gave us an opportunity to record and launch our career and I will always be grateful for that, but we were two polar opposites. We went into the studio to record "Pretties For You" and we were totally stoned, Frank got pissed off and walked out of the studio We finished the album ourselves with the engineer. (b) I never listened to Franks 3CD box set. I appreciated him as a good musician and even liked a few of his songs, but as a Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page fan, Franks guitar playing didn't exactly set the night on fire for me.

MuzikMan: What do you think of Alice's solo work? Do you feel the group would still be a force in music if Alice hadn't of broken away on his own?

Neal: (a) As far Alice's solo work, he continues to be a great lyricist and a very strong vocalist. I've always been a friend and supporter in his triumphs and his challenges, as I have been with Michael, Dennis and Glen. (b) I truly believe that if our Group/Alice Cooper, would have continued, we would have been an international musical force equal to or overshadowing the Rolling Stones or the Grateful Dead. We as a group created a new monster in music, we were very rich and successful and on the verge of becoming wealthy and unstoppable with our new creation.

MuzikMan: What is your relationship with all the members of the Alice Cooper group now?

Neal: I am and will always be close friends with everyone in the band, Alice, Dennis, Michael and Glen R.I.P. We have a special bond that has a long history.

MuzikMan: What would you consider some of your fondest memories when you were the most successful as a artist?

Neal: My fondest memory as a successful artist is when our album Billion Dollar Babies, went to #1 in all three music trade magazines at the same time April of 1973. #1 in Billboard, #1 in Record World and #1 in Cash Box. We had Gold and Platinum albums selling millions of records, but this was something only a few artists in history have achieved and was totally unexpected. Plus the tour was the largest grossing Rock tour in history, up to that time.

MuzikMan: If Alice decided to try to get the group back together, do you think it would happen?

Neal: Any Alice Cooper reunion recording or reunion tour would have to be decided and agreed to by all four of us, Alice, Dennis, Michael and myself, as historically was always the case. We were a democracy pure and simple with all decisions in the band, being equal owners and partners. An Alice Cooper reunion would be great, we are the only major international band that has not done one, don't hold your breath. But if we all wanted it to happen, then it would indeed happen.

MuzikMan: From your personal viewpoint as a drummer, do you think your solo album did you justice? Specifically with the recording and production processes?

Neal: With the band, I had always co-written songs and collaborated with the Michael, Alice, Dennis and Glen. What my solo album "Platinum God" was trying to achieve musically was Neal Smith experimenting with writing and singing my own songs plus creating a theatrical concept with percussion and sound effects. I created an opportunity to do exactly what I wanted to do, and I was very happy with the outcome of the title track "Platinum God." Did it do me justice, probably not, because I always wanted and still want my drums and music to sound better than anyone else's in the world. A true professional is never satisfied and always striving for perfection, and perfection is a very illusive thing.

MuzikMan: Were would have Neal Smith ended up if Alice Cooper never happened?

Neal: I was very motivated to be an equal part of a successful band that would give me the opportunity to be creative and help forge their musical sound and identity. My purpose of moving to Los Angles and staying with my friends Glen, Michael, Dennis, Vince and John was not to become a part of there band, The Nazz, but to find another band in LA that needed a drummer. I was on a mission from God to be part of and the driving force for a band. If Alice Cooper would have never happened, I guess we would all be in our fifties still playing clubs all over America, wearing long hair, glittery clothes, and throwing chickens at the audience, or I would have been in another band. I'm glad that it ended up the way it was supposed to end up!

MuzikMan: If you had one career that you would have liked to be involved in, what would it be (besides what you are doing now)?

Neal: The only other career I would have ever been interested in, would be being a coach/trainer for the female Scandinavian Skiing Team or a coach/trainer for a female nude mud wrestling team.

MuzikMan: Looking back on your life today, what three things could you have done differently that would have affected your life as it is today, more positively?

Neal: (a) Never gotten married! (b) Never gotten married! (c) And, never gotten married!

MuzikMan: Lastly, is there something that you would like to say to your audience? Anything that you would like to set the record straight on right now?

Neal: The only thing that I would like to say to our "Alice Cooper Fans" is an overwhelming "Thanks A Billion", because without you our "Group/Alice Cooper" would have never happened. I know that many of our fans had friends, classmates and families that hated them for loving us. While you always knew what was happening with the changing face of music other people did not have a fucking clue what was going on and you did. You all are the best motherfuckin' kickass fans in and from all over the world.

I Salute You And Love You All To Death!

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