Alice Cooper has been faithfully married to his wife for 43 years. They have been to hell and back together, but she stuck it out and they're still going strong.
Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock 'n' Roller's 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict by Alice Cooper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Often when one reads books or listens to interviews of rock stars or actors, it's surprising, if not appalling, to hear how inarticulate or boring they are in real life.
This is emphatically NOT true of Alice Cooper. I don't know if it's the make up that made me think he was just a brainless rocker-not that being a rocker makes you brainless; most of those guys are music and business wizards, which is why they're so successful-but I was pleasantly surprised to discover the guy who makes his living looking and acting like a psychotic harlequin is brilliant on so many levels.
In Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock 'n' Roller's 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict, we learn that the man in black leather, strait jackets, chopping up baby dolls and screeching, "Welcome to My Nightmare" started out as Vincent Furnier, a pastor's son.
I really enjoyed hearing Cooper's step by step account of growing up in a healthy, loving household, even though his family struggled financially. They lived in Detroit, then California then finally Phoenix. By the time Cooper was in high school he was a cross country jock as was most of his fellow future Alice Cooper band mates.
Cooper gives us a step by step account of how he and his fellow Coopers began playing and how they slowly bit by bit made it into the big time.
I must say I found his honesty refreshing. Most famous people like to keep their rise to success a closely guarded secret. They were nobodies, then they were zillionaires. The rest of us are going, "uh, what happened in between?"
Alice Cooper does not do that. I never have had someone so clearly and articulately explain how their band achieved success.
Of course there's the legend of the name and a lot of urban legend that surrounds it. Alice Cooper explains that while other bands were coming out with all these weird and wonderful, catchy names, his band decided they would go in the opposite direction.
Cooper states that he decided on "Alice Cooper" because it sounded like the little old lady down the street who bakes cookies for the neighborhood kids. In the beginning, before they were known, their band would be introduced and the audience would be expecting another surfer band or ballad singing group, or even a pot smoking hippy group.
Then a bunch of raunchy goths in white paint make up and black leather would appear on stage.
Cooper recounts their first stage experience with other performers of the day. The audience was a crowd of hippies high on acid. They had been listening to bands like Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, or Jimi Hendrix. Everyone was just laid out and tripping.
Then Alice Cooper came on stage and started singing songs about trying to escape from an insane asylum. He said that by the third verse the entire place was empty. High hippies weren't ready for Alice Cooper.
What I found most interesting was his analysis of his music and how they created and arranged it so that it would work and have the most effective sound. It was not unlike listening to a composer/conductor of classical music explain how he or her creates their works. Cooper reveals great insight into the human psyche and what connects people to his songs and how they create his loyal following.
Some of Cooper's story is a common one for most rockers: their ascent into stardom, than their descent into alcohol and drug abuse. Then finally their deliverance from those demons. With Cooper it ends with a journey into another addiction.
Intertwined with Cooper's personal story are his pointers and life applications pertaining to the game of golf. Yes. Alice Cooper is a serious golfer and has played on several celebrity tournaments.
The last chapters are a testimony of his Christian faith and where that has taken him and why he chose to continue performing. Although he has changed the lyrics to some of his songs, he sees his shows as satire and the Alice Cooper on stage as the villain everyone wants and needs to defeat, which happens when the guillotine falls.
I read this book in a couple of sittings. It is highly readable, entertaining, and I recommend it for all of us old and new rockers out there.
Rock on, Alice!
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