Sunday, February 23, 2020

Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock 'n' Roller's 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict by Alice Cooper with Keith and Kent Zimmerman

Here is a surprisingly sensitive song from Alice Cooper.  He wrote it for his wife.  I think the video is cute.  I especially like it because I'm a big fan of those old crime noir stories and movies.

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 AddictAlice 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!

View all my reviews

And for absolutely no reason I am posting a photo of my sister's cat.


Sandi said...

An interesting man!

In years past he was involved with (or ran?) a camp for troubled teenagers.

It's good to hear the good, isn't it?

Brian Joseph said...

Fantastic commentary on this book. I kind of like the Alice Cooper songs that I have heard on the radio but never really knew much about him. Though Cooper does not fit the category in terms of image, I always found rock musicians who eschew the crazy lifestyle and wrote songs about books, social issues and history very interesting. Musicians like the members of Rush are an example of what I am referring to. Based on your post, Cooper does sound interesting and different. It also seems to be a very big contrast with the crazy, hedonistic rock biographies.

mudpuddle said...

i know nothing about modern rock stars, but it's informative to read your post about AC and his obsession... who would have thought!

we had computer trouble and cleaned out the cookies which made my blog not work... not sure how to fix it, but i may have to start another site if i can even figure out how to do that... i can still comment, tho...

pretty fun, the Spanish on Ms. Cachia's blog... wish i knew it better: i'm terrible at languages...

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Brian!

I never really listened to Alice Cooper or Rush, although a friend loaned me several of his Rush CDs and I must say that they are brilliant musicians. I enjoyed listening to them.

Cooper I never really listened to but I became curious after I read he became a Christian. Some of his songs are really poignant, like the Ballad of Dwight Fry and also How You Gonna See Me Now. When you watch the video of his live concert in 1981, you can see how he was so ravaged by drugs and alcohol. He looks ghoulish and not just because of the face paint.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Now mudpuddle I would have thought you'd have known Alice Cooper because you're about the same age. At 71, he's still giving concerts, which boggles my mind.

Sorry to hear about your site. Hope you can get it back up soon. I so enjoy your reviews.

And your Spanish was quite good in my opinion. Didn't you say you lived in Mexico at one time?

mudpuddle said...

i lived in Chihuahua for a year when i was -21?- i think... i had a job with the sinfonica de la noroeste until the orchestra disbanded... it was a normal classical orchestra... Jimenez Caballero was the conductor...

Sharon Wilfong said...

Wow, Mudpuddle! What a great experience. I would love to do something like that. When I was in Venice I saw what a robust music scene they had and I thought how wonderful to be a part of it. Maybe one day...

Baiba said...

I love Alice Cooper. And from what you've written here, I am very interested in reading this book.
Also, I absolutely love the random pic of the cat. What a cutie!

Sharon Wilfong said...

HI Baiba!

I have really gotten interested in Alice Cooper and am looking to find more biographies of him and his rock group.

I wish I could own a cat, but I have free range parrots, so I'll just have to be happy playing with my sister's.

Debbie Nolan said...

Sharon thank you for sharing this book review. What a wonderful insight into Alice Cooper. I admit I have never read anything about him. To think he grew up as a pastor's son...will be sharing your review with my hubby. Love the fact that you shared your sister's cat...I have three of them and they never fail to delight me! Have a super weekend. Hugs

mudpuddle said...

after obtaining the proper instrumentation (hammer, chisels, power saw, etc.), but mainly with the aid and assistance of mrs. m, a new blog place:

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Debbie!

I really wish I could have cats and dogs, because I love animals so much. But with my free range birds, I don't think it would work. Have a wonderful March!