“It was one of those things where you don’t worry about chasing the charts, but you also don’t ignore what’s going on with radio. We weren’t going to give up Alice Cooper or hard rock, but it was like, ‘We’ve heard My Sharona, we’ve heard The Cars – what would happen if we got the producer who does that type of thing?’ And that was Roy Thomas Baker.
“Roy Thomas is a very hands-on producer, especially with songwriting, which I really like. I always think that a producer should be a musician who is also an arranger. You don’t just bring a song to him and expect him to produce it; you want him to be part of the writing of the song. Roy Thomas came in and asked me what I was looking for, and I said, ‘I want Alice Cooper, but I want it in the style of what’s being played on the radio now.’
“I didn’t want to give up Alice’s edge, but I saw that it could be twisted. We did the song Clones, which was a Top 10 hit. It was different for me, but I think the twist was that it was Alice doing that song. I went through the National Enquirer, and I said, ‘Every headline is going to be the name of a song.’ Aspirin Damage, Grim Facts – stuff like that. It was very artsy, songs like Leather Boots. I told Roy Thomas that I wanted to cover Talk Talk by the Music Machine – he slowed it down.
“I don’t mind saying this: If they were ever going to do the story of Nero, probably the most decadent of all the emperors, they would have to use Roy Thomas Baker. He would call me up and say, ‘Alice, darling, I’ll be a little late today. I seem to be handcuffed to my bed.’ I would go, ‘What?’ And he’d say, ‘Yes, two little girls I picked up at the Whiskey last night; I woke up, handcuffed to my bed, and they ran off with my wallet and my Rolls-Royce.’ I’d laugh, like, ‘That’s funny.’ And he’d go, ‘No, no, I’m quite serious.’ He was, too.
“This was a daily routine with him. I went, ‘Wow! They call Alice Cooper decadent. I’m nothing compared to Roy Thomas Baker!’ But you know, he’s an amazing character, and he’s so good in the studio. He would never say anything was good or great. He did this with Queen, he did this with The Cars. It was always, ‘That’ll do.’”