Neal Smith Interview
'The Return of the Platinum God,' and other tales of a rock n' roll legend...
MuzikMan: Your CD "Platinum God" is now available on your
website. What's the reference to "The Forbidden Platinum God
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
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
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
www.nealsmith.com 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
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
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
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?
(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
I Salute You And Love You All To Death!