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Published: 2012/06/01
by Sam Davis

Previewing Bonnaroo 2012 with Alice Cooper, Fun’s Jack Antonoff and Feist

With the 11th annual Bonnaroo Music Festival kicking off next weekend in Manchester, TN, anticipation is once again in high gear. On a recent press conference call, legendary rocker Alice Cooper, Jack Antonoff of indie-pop outfit Fun and Canadian singer-songwriter Feist spoke to reporters about the festival.

“It’s going to be probably the highest-energy thing they see all night,” Cooper says about his late-night set on Saturday. “If you’re in the first 20 rows you’ll probably get some blood on you.”

Cooper went on to say that he is excited to perform for a crowd that have likely never seen his show before. “I can’t wait to kill this audience because they’re not expecting me at all,” says Cooper. “I mean, I think that they might be expecting, you know, the old scary skinny guy. We’re going to go up there to basically do a real Alice Cooper show. And I don’t think they’ve ever seen a classic Alice Cooper show.”

The 64 year old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer also revealed that he’s looking forward to checking out some of the other acts performing at the festival. “I’m not one of those guys that sits around in their rocking chair going, ‘Well, in my day…,’ and, ‘They just don’t write them like that anymore,’” explains Cooper. “So I’m kind of really looking for the bands that are the garage bands, the next Guns N’ Roses, the next Nirvana. Those are the bands with some energy that I kind of want to see.”

Bonnaroo veteran Jack Antonoff of Fun talked about the life-changing experience he had when he first performed at Bonnaroo in 2005 (a festival he attended with his parents). “I’ve been lucky enough to play three times in different bands. So this would be my fourth Bonnaroo,” explains Antonoff. “That’s really exciting because I’ll never forget the first time I went. I was just completely turned around and shocked. It was completely such a real-world-type situation. That was in 2005, probably my favorite life experience of all time. I played that Thursday night 5:00 to midnight. And to this day I’ve never had a show like that.”

Antonoff says he has high expectations for Fun this year and he hopes to relive the magic of that first Bonnaroo performance. “All I can think is this is going to be our best show of the year and probably one of our best shows of all time and probably something we’ll talk about forever and just something that we’ll always go back to and be like, ‘God that was an amazing show. We’ve got to match that again.’”

Feist, who performed at Bonnaroo in 2007, dicussed some of the challenges of performing in the festival setting. “When you’re on a festival stage, there are certain things that will just completely get swallowed by the wind and get carried off into the breeze and not be audible if you’re playing a really sensitive, dynamically quiet ballad song,” she explains. “I don’t try to reach for those extreme subtleties even though in a way it’s sort of a misrepresentation of what I do.”

Talking about her previous appearance at Bonnaroo, Feist spoke about the performance being one of her more memorable festival experiences. “I remember it as being a really fun, sweaty, chaotic show,” recalls Feist. And then to be able to see The Police later as the sun set and things cooled down…It was very memorable. I’ve played at a lot of festivals that I really don’t remember because they all just kind of bleed into one another. But that one—it does stand out.”

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