Home > Alice Cooper believes the most shocking thing about him is his Christianity
<em>News Item :</em> Alice Cooper believes the most shocking thing about him is his Christianity
November 1, 2010 | 9:52 AM
He is the original multi-million selling shock rocker.
In a career spanning more than 40 years, Alice Cooper pioneered rock as horror theatre and amassed a fortune with punk, metal and garage rock anthems such as School's Out, I'm Eighteen, No More Mr Nice Guy and Welcome To My Nightmare.
But away from a stage show that has featured executions by electric chair and guillotine, impalings, lethal injections, live snakes and decapitated babies, Alice is Vincent Damon Furnier, a 62-year-old, born again Christian son of a preacher man.
Happily married for 34 years with three children by ballerina and choreographer wife Sheryl, Alice long since gave up his daily six packs of beer to concentrate on perfecting his golf handicap. "Maybe the most shocking thing about Alice Cooper," he says, "is that I am Christian. It may be the most shocking thing I ever did. I really do live the life."
Before the prodigal son returned to the faith he was raised in, he lived another life, enjoyed ménages à trois with groupies, a fling with Raquel Welch and prolonged drunken binges. "I was the prototype rock star," he says. "I did everything they're supposed to do. Ke imagine what my lifestyle was like.
"Take a 21-year-old kid, give him a No 1 record and a jet, tell him he's in the biggest band in the ima m gine w e what hj e big world. Well, it's pretty hard not to enjoy that. Plus, you're indestructible at that age - you can live on beer for 10 years. But then I started throwing up blood."
Like Eminem and Marilyn Manson after him, he has been the recipient (and beneficiary) of much outrage and censorship. Yet in real life Alice is a supporter of the capital punishment he enacts onstage, and says his music and shows have always had a moral, good versus evil dimension.
He also prides himself on having never sworn on a record. "If you can shock people and stay within the boundaries then you are really doing something," Alice insists. So has there ever been any real evil in rock 'n' roll?
"I think there's real evil everywhere, but there's more evil in politics," he smiles. "If you are looking for satanic things that are going on, why look at rock 'n' roll? Rockers want to get laid and get high, but politicians want power and money. Now what's the most satanic thing there?" In his time, Alice has supped with showbiz legends, and John Lennon was a friend. "We had a great time. I would sit beside him and Harry Nilsson and be the referee," he laughs. "John wanted the world and politicians to be more honest whereas I cared more about giving the audience a good show."
Comedian Groucho Marx was another pal. "For some reason the old school actors and comedians took me in as their mascot," Alice explains. "Groucho Marx, Jack Benny, George Burns, Fred Astaire, Mae West...
"Groucho came to my show and saw it as vaudeville, Salvador Dali saw it as surrealism, Vincent Price saw it as rock, horror and comedy. Everyone had their own take on it."
Alice Cooper's 70s success was a stark contrast to the hippy era that preceded him. "We were not into peace and love," he says.
"Everyone was high and saying love was everywhere. Well I thought, that's a given - what I want is a Ferrari!" Next year, Alice will officially enter the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and have a reunion with the remaining members of his original band on his album Welcome 2 My Nightmare. It has been a phenomenal career, but not one that got in the way of he and Sheryl raising Calico, 29, Dash, 25 and Sonora Rose, 17.
"There were standards," he says. "I don't care how crazy your hair gets so long as there's respect for your parents, God and country."
Alice certainly got his Ferrari and much more. And this Halloween weekend he'll be in the UK getting executed several times onstage, running through his allaction show drawn from old hits and more recent horror concepts.
He surely doesn't need the money? "I work all the time," Alice says. "I feel more at home onstage with a microphone than I do sitting around watching television."