The artist who has seen and accomplished it all is Alice Cooper. One of rock’s most distinctive characters, he steered the genre toward a more scenic direction, enhancing his iconic musical approach with intricate production performances and mind-blowing exploits.
Cooper set the groundwork for bands like Slipknot, Gorgoroth, and those who would stretch the live scene to its boundaries. A brilliant entertainer with a taste for the grotesque, Cooper’s significance cannot be underestimated. Cooper is regarded as one of the greatest in the industry and is widely regarded as the father of shock rock.
Given his status as an industry veteran, Cooper has many tales to share, but one of the most well-known is the time he asserted that peace activist and former Beatle John Lennon went to considerable pains to make the nonpolitical rocker more political in public.
“The Hollywood Vampires would meet at the Rainbow Bar and Grill every single night,” Cooper said. “And we would go up there, and I don’t remember anybody ever talking about music. Because I think this was our escape from music. You had all these guys that would just like to drink. And Harry(Nilsson) and John (Lennon), after they drank five or six drinks.”
The singer continued by stating: “I’d have to sit between them. Because if John said ‘black,’ Harry would say ‘white.’ If Harry would say ‘Republican,’ John would say ‘Democrat’”. The author of “School’s Out” posited that the two didn’t truly dispute, but rather set out to refute each other on purpose as a bit of a laugh. This is a fair claim given the strong sense of friendship that existed between the pair. Lennon and Cooper are widely acknowledged to have been almost inseparable for much of the 1970s, as their cooperation on Harry Nilsson’s bizarre 1974 album Pussy Cats attests.
Cooper’s life today, however, is very different from the time when he was ripping up the Hollywood Strip with Lennon and Nilsson. He is a teetotaler and an enthusiastic golfer, and he even attributes his ability to kick his drinking habit to the game. One of rock’s most well-known great achievements is Cooper’s lifestyle shift, and his most hell-raising contemporaries are well aware of this.
Keith Richards, the guitarist on Wood’s band, hasn’t forgotten that Alice Cooper isn’t his real name, nor that he doesn’t drink. Cooper provided his best assessment of the English axeman to Wood, saying: “Keith never called me Alice, ever. He’d always go ‘Vinnie, Vinnie Vinnie, Vinnie’. He says, ‘How long has it been since you’ve had a drink?’ and I’d say, ‘Well, 20 years’, and he goes, ‘Ah! Begs the question… why?’”