The Joy of
Interview by Devon Jones
Photos by Bill Crowe
Eric Dover has been playing guitar and singing with Alice Cooper for the past few years, as well as co-writing and recording the "Eyes Of Alice Cooper" album to great acclaim. Now he's about to officially launch his own project, entitled 'Sextus' with a new album, Stranger Then Fiction" due for release in the early part of 2005. In December 2004 Eric kindly agreed to answer a few questions for SickthingsUK roving reporter Devon and here are the results:
DEVON: I am speaking with the one and only Eric Dover, co-guitarist and
co-songwriter for Alice Cooper, and solo artist. Eric, thank you so much
for agreeing to do this under your busy schedule!
ERIC DOVER: It's quite alright.
DEVON: First of all, You got to tour this year for roughly half of the tour. What was the tour like this year?
ERIC DOVER: This year was truly fantastic for me. We played several places that I've never visited, such as Ireland and Greece, so it was a blast.
DEVON: I noticed that many of the venues this year were considerably scaled down to small theatres and casinos. In what ways is this different from playing the larger Arenas and Amphitheaters that we saw more of last year?
ERIC DOVER: My view of it remains very basic. If there is a stage and an audience, that's all that's required for me. I love doing the enormodomes, it's a wonderful high. It's also nice, though, to play to a more intimate type of audience. I adore being able to play in places like Hammersmith Odeon, not only for its history, but for its setting.
DEVON: Now I understand you left the tour early to go finish up your debut Sextus album. What part do you have in this album?
ERIC DOVER: This album is a dream I have been working on for 6 years. The reasons as to why it took that long are ...I actually don't have the slightest Danny. I think it might be laziness or the beautiful southern California weather preventing me from staying indoors.
DEVON: Who else is involved in the Sextus album?
ERIC DOVER: Well, I have Jason Harrison smith on drums. He was the former drummer for "Five for fighting”. He is my right arm musically. I have several guest musicians: Shane Solowski played some bass. Bert Thomas played drums on a track. Mikal Reid is my producer along with myself. We're quite happy to say that it will be available on Sextus.com February 14, so look out for it.
DEVON: What gave you the inspiration to do this album and how long have you had the vision to do an album like this?
ERIC DOVER: The inspiration for this record sprang from several sources, change being one of them. The album is overwhelmingly steeped in sexual naivete and innocent honesty. It's not, however, a plastic scene. There is an undercurrent of dashed hopes of love's broken dreams and pathos. I only used the language of a fool to express it.
DEVON: I have listened to the audio samples from the Sextus homepage and I really do like what I hear! It seems that this album gives tribute to a Classic Rock sound, was this your intention?
ERIC DOVER: No, that wasn't my intention so much as to just make a rock-n-roll record that had some heart to it. To put it somewhat into a perspective for you, my aim was to make a record that lyrically would be at home with the love poetry of Sextus Propertius. Different forms of attraction exist on this record. Some people think it's all just about fucking, but it isn't.
DEVON: What is the release date for the Sextus album?
ERIC DOVER: Valentine's Day.
DEVON: You have been touring with Alice Cooper for about 3 or 4 years now. What was the experience like?
ERIC DOVER: How can you describe working with such a legend? Alice was vital to me as an artist from the age of 8 onward. I've had the greatest fun. To play those songs! What marvelous rock anthems! And the fans have been so gracious and kind. It was very heartwarming knowing that I've made so many friends around the world touring with the coop.
DEVON: Do you hope to return with him in full force next year?
ERIC DOVER: You'll have to wait and see.
DEVON: Will you be participating on the next AC album?
ERIC DOVER: Obviously we have to see where the music leads us first. Again we'll see.
DEVON: Who do you consider your heroes as far as guitarists, and as far as music goes in general?
ERIC DOVER: I have many varied influences. I never found it satisfying to limit myself musically. I get bored too easily, plus I'm a complete raving manic depressive who constantly needs new stimuli in order to create new songs. I think my life really changed though when I heard the greatest hits record of ac. Seeing purple rain influenced me greatly. Classical music I'm passionate for. I like gypsy swing Django Rheindhart. I'm mad for Serge Gainsbourg, The Beatles, The Doors. I love Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan. The music of the spheres is my passion though.
DEVON: Do you have any idea of "Eyes" record sales in the U.S. and then worldwide?
ERIC DOVER: No, I don't. I only know that it appears to have been well received. It is certainly a departure from the two previous records, which I worried a little bit about when we made eyes. It holds up though for me because of the spirit in which we made it. There was no studio trickery of any kind, just loud drums, bass, and vocals in your face played by truly talented people.
DEVON: And something that many people would like to know.... What inspired your cool glam look?
ERIC DOVER: Jellyfish did more than anything. We were about flamboyancy and androgyny.
TO AN EXTENT IN OUR LOOK.
DEVON: Si Halley, Owner of SickthingsUK asks: How did your writing for the Sextus project differ from your writing for "The Eyes Of Alice Cooper"? How did you decide what material would go towards which project and was there a temptation to hold back stuff from "Eyes..." for "Stranger Than Fiction"?
ERIC DOVER: Hello Si and thank you for your question. Sextus writing is wholly different than writing with Alice. Sextus is more personal for me, obviously, as it centers on things that I want to sing about. With Sextus I am the writer pretty much exclusively, save for the odd collaboration here and there. With Alice, it's more of a ‘bounce this idea off the other guys and see where it takes us'. It is an entirely different reward working in this manner. With Sextus I get to be a fucked up control freak dictator, and that suits another facet of me.
DEVON: From SickthingsUK Board Member Kathrin in Germany: Is there any chance of Sextus concerts in Europe?
ERIC DOVER: Hi Katherin! I've missed you! The answer is yes!
DEVON: From SickthingsUK Board Member "Alienspice" asks: How do you keep your energy up? I think it is just amazing that you get out there every night and put on such an energetic show, running around all night and playing your hearts out. What are your secrets?
ERIC DOVER: I have to still my mind--when I don't I lose it. I've lost it a few times, that and my mobile phone!
DEVON: Andy B. asks: What is the hardest song to play live?
ERIC DOVER: Nurse Rozetta is difficult. Anything from "From The Inside” is challenging.
DEVON: I want to thank Eric Dover for taking time to answer these questions for SickthingsUk. It was a pleasure and honor. Eric, now you can say what ever you want. Any closing thoughts, anything on your mind?
ERIC DOVER: I would like to say thanks to all the AC fans out there who have been supportive. Come be with the Sextus at WWW.SEXTUS.COM . The Album is called "Stranger Than Fiction." Available February 14.
DEVON: Thank You Eric Dover, Good Luck with Sextus (which everyone should get, you heard it from me.) Special Thanks goes to Jen, Eric's Assistant and Webmistress for making this possible as well. Thanks to the Sickthings Board Members who contributed!