Journey of a Frontman

On The Line with Adam “Edge” Copeland

He’s an eleven time world champion, a WWE hall of famer, he plays Dwight Hendrickson on the Syfy series, Haven. He’s also been known as “The Rated R Superstar” Edge and he’s a total rockstar, here’s Adam Copeland!

Alex Obert: You’ve said that your favorite band is Foo Fighters. What is it that you love about them?

Adam Copeland: It’s tough for me to narrow down. They are my go-to band, them and Pearl Jam. I just love all types of music, as long as it’s got guitars and drums. But The Foos for whatever reason, it’s upbeat music, it’s catchy hooks, it’s catchy choruses, it’s heavy guitars, it’s great drumming, and it’s great songwriting. They’re a band that if I need a little kickstart, I throw on some Foos. And having met the guys, they’re goofy idiots like I am. For whatever reason, they were just one of the bands that instantly when I heard the music, I was like, “Okay, this is one of my bands.” Pearl Jam was another one. And so those are kind of my go-tos.

Alex Obert: What was it like the first time you were face to face with Dave Grohl?

Adam Copeland: It was pretty surreal. My buddy, a drum tech, Chad “Yeti” Ward, he said, “Yeah, come on back!” I walked back there and it was at the Air Canada Center in Toronto. I walked in the back dressing room where I changed many times for wrestling for the WWE, so I know the dressing rooms and everything. I walked back there, and there’s Dave listening to Too Fast For Love, bouncing all over the place, he goes, “Hey man! How’s it going?  Want a shot of Crown?” I go, “Okay, sure.” And within two minutes, we’re sitting there shooting the shit about music and the first Motley Crue album with Dave Grohl doing a shot of Crown. And that’s the kind of guys they are. Anybody whose had massive success in anything, it’s generally the way they are. At some point, they figured out that being a nice guy gets you a lot farther than being an asshole. Just really laid back, cool, fun guys. And every time that I’ve been to a show, that’s how they treated me. But then the great part is, they’ll treat everybody like that, not just somebody who has done something in an industry or something like that. They treat everybody that way, which is cool.

Alex Obert: When you got inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame, it must have been extra special having their song, Walk, as a part of it.

Adam Copeland: Yeah, it was. It was the one request I had. When I found out I was going in, they said, “Do you want anything?” And I said, “Use Walk for the induction. That would be pretty amazing.” The night before I found out I had to retire, I was listening to that song on the way home and I really paid attention to the lyrics for whatever reason. I knew something was different. I wasn’t feeling great, physically. Those lyrics really, really meant something to me in the aspect of what I was going through at that point. Starting a new part of your life and walking around into the next one. Everybody agreed and they were like, “Yeah! Of course you can use it!” It doesn’t really get any better than that. I got my favorite band, using a song that truly does mean something to me. And I get to go into the Hall Of Fame. So it was very cool and one of those things that the first time that I heard Nevermind, coming back from the Bramalea City Center, I bought it on cassette. And you hear those drums for the first time and then years later, that drummer is letting you use his music for your Hall Of Fame induction. Pretty surreal.

Alex Obert: When you were talking with the Foo Fighters backstage, did you ever bring up wrestling and did they ever have memories of it?

Adam Copeland: No, not really. They just ask, “How do you do that?” (laughs) Physically, what is that like? And that naturally seems to be the general theme when you meet people, it’s like even if they don’t watch they go, “Okay, how does that work? What do you do?” We don’t have an off-season, we have about three hundred shows a year. And they go, “What?!?” Nobody can wrap their mind around that aspect, so that usually ends up being a conversation. And they’ll be like, “Well, do you get hurt?” And then I start telling them, “Oh yeah, well the neck surgery this that and that.” And that completely just kind of melts minds usually. It just ends up at some point, you realize that people who get in entertainment for one reason or another have something wired the same way. The first time I met Taylor Hawkins and I went to one of his shows after one of our shows, it was on The Coattail Riders tour. And we just start talking about Queen and Cheap Trick and Eagles and all this stuff. And two hours later and you realize you just talked for two hours about 1970s rock. That’s the things that I connect with is that I probably like music more than I ever did wrestling.

Alex Obert: You said in your autobiography that Queen is one of your earliest memories of listening to music, what do you enjoy about the band and about Freddie Mercury?

Adam Copeland: For me growing up, I kind of discovered Kiss when I was three. And I’d sit there and draw Ace Frehley and Paul Stanley. That was my first real introduction to music. I stumbled on it myself. But then between my uncle and my mom, my uncles were all about Queen and Cheap Trick and I remember sitting there with the News of the World album. It’s this giant robot with Queen in his hand with blood dripping and Freddie Mercury’s falling with his unitard. It completely blew my mind. It was so visual to me. And that was the thing with Kiss too, not only did they bring the element of music, but it was a visual. And then you hear Brian May’s guitar and I still have yet to hear anyone be able to recreate his tone. A combination of the Red Special guitar he and his dad built and his fingers. You just won’t find a band who will ever sound like Queen. And then you have Freddie Mercury, to me, probably my favorite voice in rock of all time. And then you get Roger Taylor, his harmonies were amazing. The way they harmonized and I hear Queen and it still takes me back to lying on a shag carpet with my headphones on, listening to them, just staring at that album cover. And that’s the great thing. Music can take you back somewhere or remind you of something. They’re one of my earliest memories, and Kiss.

Alex Obert: Tying into live shows, who are some of your favorite live bands?

Adam Copeland: My first live show, I was bouncing and I was in high school still. It was The Barenaked Ladies at the Orangeville District Secondary School Cafeteria. That was my first concert ever. From there, I’ve seen Slayer live, which was insane, just the mood in that room. When that first note hit, I was like, “Woah! It just got serious in here!” It sounded evil, there’s no other way to put it. Then I’ve seen Metallica so many times and just the energy that comes off on stage, it’s such a different experience.  Saw them run through their show the night before they kicked off the Death Magnetic tour for about 100 of us in Phoenix. I mean seriously!? That’s tough to top. Probably my favorite live band is Pearl Jam. It usually goes beyond music, into more of an experience. Almost spiritual for lack of a better term. They switch their set every night. You can hear them call an audible on stage to switch their song list and to me, if a band can do that, then they do seriously get their props. I appreciate that. I saw the current version of The Who at the Super Bowl and I loved it. I guess it didn’t come across great on TV, but live, they had me! I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like with Entwhistle and Moon. The original Black Sabbath lineup. Geezer’s bass sound completely engulfed my head. They were the loudest, heaviest band I’ve ever seen. It reminds you they invented metal, not Blue Cheer, MC5, the Kinks or anyone else. The Foos are amazing, raw, hard playing, they’re always great live. To hear 40,000 people sing the entire chorus of My Hero is pretty overwhelming. Paul McCartney was amazing live. Jericho and I went and saw him. He walks onstage and I just thought, “He’s a fucking Beatle”. By the end of it I think we both cried like little schoolgirls. We also saw Van Halen together. Mid show during Eddie’s solo, we’re under the stage. Right under Eddie doing Eruption slamming Cabo Wabo shots with Sammy and Michael Anthony sitting on red velvet bean bag chairs.  Best seat in the house. Stupidly fun. For a completely different vibe altogether, The Eagles were great. I’ve seen Kiss do an acoustic set. So many good bands I’ve been lucky enough to see over the years. I saw Gogol Bordello once and I was blown away. Gypsy punk, I think they call it. It was great too. All these great bands, The Avett Brothers, absolutely blew my mind. There’s banjos and there’s mandolins. There’s cellos. They bounce all over that stage like it’s a metal show. So it’s been pretty cool to catch as many shows as I’ve had with the time that I’ve had.

Alex Obert: What people generally relate to you and music, you had Rob Zombie’s Never Gonna Stop as your entrance theme, but when you went back to You Think You Know Me, what was the process like of finding a new entrance theme?

Adam Copeland: Replacing Never Gonna Stop wasn’t my choice. The copyright ran out on Never Gonna Stop. And the way that started is, I tore my labrum in my shoulder, but I didn’t get surgery, so I ended up having a month off. So I threw a shot in the dark. I always hated that You Think You Know Me music because it never fit me and what I actually listen to. I had actually said that I wanted to use this Black Label Society song and they were like, “Okay, well here’s our version of it.” And it just sounded like a bad ripoff with this cheesy voice. The guys that did Big Show’s music and they did this version of Black Label and it was just not good. It just sounded like a bad ripoff. Rob Zombie, he had a new album coming out, “Can we get this?” A shot in the dark. Next week, they brought me a copy of the CD, The Sinister Urge, and I was just like, “Oh, really? Holy shit!” I didn’t think that was gonna happen. So I had four tracks and they said the album hasn’t been released, so you can’t let anybody hear this. And I said, “Okay. Never Gonna Stop.” I come back from an injury, that makes sense. So I used it, really, really liked it. And then when I came back from the neck injury, they were like, “Okay, well we can’t use it.” And also if you watch DVDs, it’s never on the DVDs. So they piped in my original music.

When I was out with my neck injury, I met Mark Tremonti. I met him at a Metallica show, actually. And I went back to his place after and he played me what would end up being the first Alter Bridge album. I heard Metalingus and I was like, “Dude, can I use that when I come back?” And he said, “Yeah! Of course!” So that ended up being the genesis of it and when I heard it, it was actually Mark singing. It hadn’t been Myles yet. So it was in its infancy, but I had heard that song. I was like, “Okay, that’s gonna be what I come to the ring to.” And that’s how that all started.

Alex Obert: Was there ever discussion about Alter Bridge playing your theme live one time for a WWE event?

Adam Copeland: We had talked about it, but it just didn’t work out. My whole idea to me is if you’re a heel in wrestling, you should not having a band playing for when you come out and people will react in a positive way. And I never wanted them to react in a positive way. So it never made sense to me when Motorhead showed up and did Triple H’s song, you’re supposed to be a heel. They’re now gonna cheer you because you just had Motorhead playing you to the ring. So, to me, it just never fit. I was never a babyface at the point where it would have worked out. So, we kind of missed the boat on that. Looking back at Wrestlemania 24, I wrestled Undertaker in Orlando, which is Alter Bridge’s hometown. That would have been the perfect night to do it. But I was the bad guy. If I had done that differently, it would have been a very cool moment for all of us.

Alex Obert: What are some of your favorite live band performances on WWE programming?

Adam Copeland: The first one I really remember was Motley Crue. I show up at work one day and I was like, “Oh! Wow, that’s Motley Crue up there! What is going on?” So that was kind of cool because there’s nobody in the arena and you sit there and listen to them soundcheck. So I remember sitting there and I went, “Man! That’s Tommy Lee killin those drums up there! This is amazing!” And you get your own little private show. When Ozzy played Smackdown. It’s Ozzy! And Zakk’s up there ripping away. It was Baltimore and Zakk had this prototype, 1 of 1 half SG, half Randy Rhoads flying V Gibson with Zakk’s bullseye design, and it was just a ridiculous guitar. So I’m just sitting there and he goes “Wanna play this fuckin thing!” I didn’t, not in front of him! But I got a picture with it. Dropped that phone in a toilet though and that picture is gone. Just fun experiences like that, having pictures of Ozzy choking you and stuff. It’s ridiculous, you never know what’s gonna happen. You get a private show with Ozzy Osbourne and Motley Crue.

Alex Obert: How have you bonded with Chris Jericho throughout the years over music tastes?

Adam Copeland: There’s always certain guys that you just end up bonding with. Chris and I always knew that we had similar taste in music. Like I said, we’d hit concerts together. We have similar tastes in that it’s not just metal, we love The Beatles, a very open musical pallets. We can sit there and talk music for hours. We’ll talk about music and hockey more than we ever did about wrestling. We’re roughly around the same age, grew up in the same era of music. Iron Maiden. Kiss Army and all that. And then with the emergence of thrash metal and The Big Four and that whole scene. So, also, heavily influenced by Queen and the Stones and Beatles. We were kind of two of a few guys that had kind of the same musical taste. But I think he’s the closest of anyone else in that industry to what my musical tastes are.

Alex Obert: When I interviewed Matt Striker, he was talking about how you went to see Foo Fighters with Alex and Geddy on stage and he was so jealous about it.

Adam Copeland: (laughs) He’s a huge Rush fan and the same show where I first met the guys, I walked into the dressing room and so I’m having a shot of Crown, sitting there talking, and in walks Lifeson and Geddy Lee and I go, “What?!? Woah! This is mind-melting!” And so I told him about that he was pretty upset. He’s a huge Rush fan. I’m a Canadian, so I have to be, I have no choice in the matter. But he absolutely is infatuated with them, so he wept a little inside.

Alex Obert: Back to Chris Jericho, a show he’s been on, if you were asked, would you be a guest on That Metal Show?

Adam Copeland: For sure! Yeah! I love that show. I watch it all the time. It’s one of the few things that I actually DVR. And I just love the fact that they’ll have Jake E. Lee on there. I don’t know how many outlets that Jake E. Lee has anymore to tell his story and he’s got a great story. And it’s awesome too because they’re not just pigeonholed to metal. It’s a classic rock show, it’s a rock show, they had Mike McCready from Pearl Jam on with Michael Schenker and if you’re a music fan, you have to love that. So that’s one of the shows I definitely make sure, even if I’m on the road for a couple months filming or whatever, when I get home, I watch nine episodes in a row or something.

Alex Obert: What is it like with live shows, going backstage and watching shows from the side of the stage?

Adam Copeland: I love sitting in the audience, but it’s also very cool to stand on the side of the stage. You get a different element, you see it differently. And sometimes, the sound is different from the side of the stage, so I’ll go in the audience because I wanna hear what the band is like, not just one side. The sound’s going straight out, so you don’t necessarily catch it at the side. And I really do wanna experience it, I wanna hear it. I wanna get out into the energy of the audience too to get that whole live experience. Don’t get me wrong, it’s always fun being on the side of the stage for Kiss, for Foo Fighters, VH or the Midtown Music Festival. It’s fun, it’s cool to see it from that side, to experience the energy that the musician gets hearing their lyrics sung back at them. Word for word. It’s the closest thing and the closest relation that I’ve seen to what I did. The closest thing to being a rockstar, I think, was being a wrestler. They incorporate so many similar aspects. It’s always pretty cool to stand there. But I usually find myself running out into the crowd anyway.

Alex Obert: I would think that being on stage with Rob Zombie was pretty cool too.

Adam Copeland: (laughs) Yeah, that was fun! I got there and Rob didn’t know that I asked to use his music. You never know, it’s like okay, is it some kind of high-end promotion or something like that? And when I met him, I was like, “Oh dude, I got my first tattoo listening to Devil Music Volume One.” So I dig the music, it’s not just I’m getting saddled with your music or something, I dig it. And I was just gonna introduce him on stage and he said, “Just stay on for the whole song!” I was like, “Okay.” I had no idea what to do. It’s a different thing. I don’t sing, I don’t dance or anything like that. I’m used to throwing people around or getting thrown around. And his stage set, it was absolutely amazing, it was this huge horror funhouse. So I’m here with my trenchcoat, my sunglasses and everything and I just said, “Okay, I better go balls out with this, to be part of a character to this crazy show.” It’s Alice In Wonderland on crack. So I thought, “Okay, it makes sense.” Wrestler in a trenchcoat to be here, I get it. So it was pretty crazy. There was a couple parts where I felt like Ricky Bobby where I didn’t know what to do with my hands. It was like, “Oh, what do I do?” I’ll just jump all over the place.

Alex Obert: Would we ever see you on stage with Fozzy?

Adam Copeland: I have, actually. I did T.N.T. with them in Calgary.

Alex Obert: Were you singing?

Adam Copeland: Yeah, just the chorus. I did a death metal growl on it. I can’t hold a note to save a life.

Alex Obert: Back to WWE, when they announced the Guest Hosts for RAW a couple years ago, which musicians were you hoping would be apart of it?

Adam Copeland: Zombie was apart of it one night, that was fun. We really got to catch up again. And it was in Philly, so during the day, Chris, Rob, and I just sat there and talked about music in the arena. It’s tough because with that, you realize that it’s theatrical and it’s fun and don’t take it too seriously. And I don’t know necessarily if some people would get that. A guy like Rob gets that. Alice Cooper would probably get that. Alice Cooper would have been cool, that would have been pretty fun.

Alex Obert: Do you think Dave Grohl would have adapted well if he did it?

Adam Copeland: I think he would understand the aspect of it after seeing him in the Muppets movie. (laughs) He would have had some fun with it. He would have made that work for sure.

Alex Obert: Another band that I think would have done well is Tenacious D.

Adam Copeland: Oh, without a doubt. Yeah, for sure. Once again, watching the Muppets movie and you see Jack Black in there. It’s like, “Okay, they would get it.” Steel Panther probably would too, but I don’t know how much they’d actually be able to do with their lyrics and stuff. (laughs)

Alex Obert: Dolph Ziggler is trying to get them to do a theme for him.

Adam Copeland: (laughs) That’s a good idea!

Alex Obert: Stix Zadinia, their drummer, told him on Twitter that they’d play him to the ring. And Ziggler said he’s asked for it every night.

Adam Copeland: (laughs) I could see that!

Alex Obert: Stix suggested Eyes of a Panther, which is probably their only clean song, so that would work.

Adam Copeland: Yeah, you can’t go wrong with anything clean for their PG rating now, you’re gonna be good.

Alex Obert: What are some of your favorite entrance themes over the years that have been done by other bands?

Adam Copeland: I always liked when Sting in WCW used Seek and Destroy, a live version. I was surprised when I heard that. I was like, “That sounds great!” So I liked that. We were talking about Motorhead, Triple H with Motorhead. Obviously, I’m pretty biased. I always felt that mine was amazing and it really fit to the point where backstage, I’d come back through and everybody would be singing “On this day…”. It was just one of those songs that would land in your head. I’ve had Japanese fans, German fans, French fans, you name it, come up singing it to me. They can’t speak English, but they can sing Metalingus. It just speaks to the power of music, the power of that song, people connect to it and get it. And that’s why it’s really so important to me, what I came to the ring to and I really didn’t like my original theme music. I’m like, “I don’t want to come to the ring to this, I can’t feed off this. I can’t relate to it. I need something that I dig and people will know I dig it by the way I enter.”

Alex Obert: I feel like it was perfect timing because you just turned heel when it started. Was it planned that way?

Adam Copeland: Once again, I really break apart the lyrics and those lyrics really fit what I was feeling at that time. So it was perfect timing, it was kind of serendipity. And it fit what the character was actually going through at that point, it was just another happy accident. I met Mark at a Metallica show at the Citrus Bowl and we started talking and stuff and then he played me this new album and then here I am, I’m back, I’m turning heel, and we started using it.

Alex Obert: In closing, who are some of your favorite frontmen?

Adam Copeland: Oh gosh, oh man, so many good ones. Freddie Mercury, Paul Stanley, Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Jagger, Lennon and McCartney, Dave Grohl, Eddie Vedder. There’s just so many guys. I saw Scott Weiland and you couldn’t take your eyes off the guy. He owned the stage. That was one of those instances where I was like, “That dude’s a rockstar! That’s what he was put on this planet to do.” There’s so many to name, but I think that little roster I just spit out was pretty good.

Alex Obert: I’d like to thank you very much for your time. I really, really appreciate it.

Adam Copeland: Cool! Thanks, Alex. Appreciate it, man.

edge-tt

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