News Item : Alice Cooper is my sane side, says rock star
Rock star Alice Cooper has been leading a double life, one of a rock showman and the other as his real name and self Vincent Furnier, an alcoholi.
Cooper says he has two personalities, with his rock star side being the healthier one (Ethan Miller)The rock star Alice Cooper has claimed that his stage persona was actually more sane than his real self at the height of his career.
After years of heavy drinking off stage with friends such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison — all of whom died young — Cooper, whose real name is Vincent Furnier, realised it could easily lead to fatal consequences for him, too.
Speaking on today’s Desert Island Discs on Radio 4, Cooper, whose demented stage routines involve decapitations and boa constrictors, explains how he finally sought help.
“My psychiatrist asked, ‘How much do you drink when you’re on stage?’ I told him I never drink on stage or when acting in movies.
“He said, ‘Wait a minute. Alice is not an alcoholic. You are. You have these two personalities and Alice is the healthy one. He’s the one who is working, not drinking, not taking drugs, and doing his job. The other 22 hours during the day is you. You’re the problem. It’s not the monster. It’s Doctor Frankenstein’.
“I thought about it and said, ‘You’re right!’”
Cooper, 62, explains to Kirsty Young, the show’s presenter, that while working on the bestselling albums Welcome to My Nightmare and Billion Dollar Babies in the 1970s, and performing in huge concerts, he was utterly professional. “There was never a time when I was late. I knew every lyric. I never missed a show.”
Yet he admits that he once did not know “where I began and Alice ended”.
Cooper says: “I was trying to keep up with my drinking friends. Only after they had died did I realise that you don’t have to be your own character off stage. Jim Morrison was always Jim Morrison on and off stage. And it killed him.”
Over 30 years, Cooper has beaten his demons and swapped drink dependence for an addiction to golf. “I play every morning. Golf is the most addictive sport there is. Golf was one of those things [that] when I couldn’t drink, I had to find to take up time.”
Cooper has remained with his wife, Sheryl, for 35 years.
“Never cheated on her,” he says. “She’s never cheated on me. We’re just two totally compatible people.”
However, earlier in the marriage they considered divorce because of his drinking. “But we went to a Christian marriage counsellor. From then on I had to prove I was going to be straight as an arrow.”
In the interview, the singer reveals how he was propositioned by Mae West in her last film, Sextette, when she was 86. “She said, ‘Why don’t you come back to my trailer?’” Cooper declined.
He also tells of the unaffected attitude of his mother to her son: “She will still shout at me, ‘Hey, rock star. Take out the garbage’.”
by Richard Brooks
The Sunday Times
For all of you sick things that live in the UK, you can listen to the interview with th BBC here.
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