Alice Cooper Shares Five Songs He Wishes He Wrote, Surprisingly Including Some ‘Modern’ Bands

Veteran rocker Alice Cooper has been in the news most often lately for dissing the bands of the modern age, claiming that they don’t deserve to be categorized as “rock n’ roll.” While many have likened Alice Cooper’s criticisms to a grandpa complaining about “kids today and their terrible music,” he demonstrated some musical humility while speaking to Rolling Stone by sharing five songs he wishes he wrote himself. And, surprisingly, a few of those songs were written fairly recently.

Alice Cooper’s most famous put-downs include calling indie rock darlings Vampire Weekend a “wimpy” band without the “balls” of rock n’ roll. He also asserted that rock bands shouldn’t “have accordions or lutes…or flutes,” like folk rock favorite Mumford & Sons. So perhaps it’s not entirely shocking that the more current songs Alice Cooper did put on his list were written by notoriously heavy rock bands.

Cooper live
Alice Cooper. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS)

Among the songs Alice Cooper wishes he wrote is “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by punk pioneer Nirvana. Alice Cooper acknowledged that the song was well after his time, but he couldn’t help but like it.

“Had I been born later, I could have written this. But when you’re my age, you can’t write for teens. When I first heard it, I was like, ‘Oh, yeah!'”

Another modern-era rock band that Alice Cooper appreciates is My Chemical Romance, specifically their song “Teenagers.” Cooper even honored My Chemical Romance with a comparison to a rock band from his own era.

“I looked at this band as the next Def Leppard,” Alice Cooper said. “This song has a great message: ‘Teenagers are dangerous!'”

Alice Cooper also cited Billy Talent’s “Red Flag” as a song he wished he came up with. Another relatively recent rock outfit that came out of Canada in the mid-’90s, Billy Talent actually opened for My Chemical Romance in 2008. “Red Flag” came out only a few years before that, in 2006.

“These guys were Canada’s Green Day,” Alice Cooper said. “This song reminds me of ‘My Sharona.’ It’s one of those hooks you can’t explain.”

The final two songs that Alice Cooper listed are closer to his own golden age of music. He claimed Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is something he wishes he had done, as well as Aerosmith’s hit “Dude (Looks Like a Lady).” Both of those bands formed in the early ’70s.

“This has the same melody as ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful,'” Alice Cooper said of “We’re Not Gonna Take It. “It was a bull’s-eye for the PMRC thing that was happening then.”

“They wrote [‘Dude (Looks Like a Lady)’] about Vince Neil,” Alice Cooper said. “Mötley Crüe were a bunch of good-looking girls then. They aren’t so cute anymore.”

In the same Noise Creep interview where he criticized Vampire Weekend, Alice Cooper voiced his desire for rock and roll to return to its roots, like early Aerosmith and Green Day.

“I am worried that a lot of the newer bands that are coming out are depending too much on keyboards and being sensitive. Maybe I’m just not sensitive anymore. I like to hear a band be stupid and drunk. I wish I could see more bands like that were like early Guns N’ Roses, early Aerosmith, just snotty rock ‘n’ roll bands.”

Do you agree with Alice Cooper? Do you think these five songs would have sounded great as Alice Cooper tracks?

While Prefix Mag called the aged rocker “grandpa Cooper,” he’s actually not the only one who doesn’t like the direction modern rock is going. The famously outspoken member of Linkin Park, Mike Shinoda, recently dissed synth pop band CHVRCHES, comparing them to “Disney commercial music.” Read more here.

(Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for NARAS)