Interview and Photos By Robert Cavuoto
Vault Date: May 26th, 2014
Super Duper Alice Cooper is a story of a young man named Vincent Furnier, who had a longing for rock n roll stardom and wanting to push the limits of excess onstage as well as off. Determined to strike fear in the hearts of people everywhere as the ultimate rock villain, Alice set out on a journey to take over the world with his macabre show and menacing look. This documentary goes beyond the make-up and music with a deeper story of a teenage Dr. Jekyll whose rock ‘n’ roll Mr. Hyde almost kills him. The focal point being how the band got started and how an underdog who never was to amount to anything proved the world wrong.
Debuting at the Tribeca Film Festival this past April, Super Duper Alice Cooper is the first ever documentary on Alice where we see the logic of this mad genius along with old photos, archive film footage, and animation.
I had the immense pleasure of sitting down with Rock n Roll Hall of Famer, Alice Cooper, about his new documentary and get the inside scoop on his new cover CD due out this summer.
Robert Cavuoto: I enjoyed the movie, Super Duper Alice Cooper. I learned a few things about you that I didn’t know. Was it difficult to encapsulate your entire career in an hour and a half?
Alice Cooper: There were so many stories left out like the ones with Elvis, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones. It was basically about how the career took off. What happened and what wasn’t supposed to happen. We were the band least likely to make it commercially. We had records and a notorious stage show which people had to digest.
Robert: Was it difficult to see yourself so messed up and emaciated?
Alice Cooper: Like the interview with Tom Snyder, that was a little uncomfortable to watch. I have never ever talked about the drug abuse up until this point in 1000’s of interviews. Everyone knew me as a happy alcoholic. Unlike Sherlock Holmes who always refers to himself as the functional psychopathic. I was the functional alcoholic. I never missed a show nor slurred a word. I would do talk shows like Johnny Carson and you would never know that I was a half a bottle of whiskey into it. But when it came to drugs, I always thought it was very uncool for Alice to fall into that trap. Being an addictive personality, I didn’t have a chance. When the cocaine blizzard happened in California I was in the middle of it. I never talked about until this documentary.
Robert: As up mentioned about the addictive personality, do you consider golf a healthy addiction to replace the drugs and alcohol?
Alice Cooper: For a person that tours six months out of the year, golf is perfect thing in the world. We didn’t get into it on the documentary because it happened later. The deal was that when you go on stage at 10:00 pm on Tuesday in Wichita and you wake up at 8:00 am, what are you going to do, go to the mall again? Most rock’ n rollers were athletes at a time in their life. The ones I introduced to golf got addicted to it. You can go play golf five times a week at five different golf courses and hang out with your buddies. Doesn’t matter if you’re any good, just that you go out and play.
Golf wasn’t a cure for me as I was already healed from the alcoholism. It was more of a spiritual thing that God took away for me. Golf helped kill the time that I didn’t know what to do with. I shot 74, by the way, this morning! [Laughing]
Robert: You’ve had so many ups and downs in your career, is there any one period of time where things seemed the most hopeless?
Alice Cooper: There is that moment in anybody’s life especially a rock’ n roll guy where you are living minute to minute and album to album. Even though you get really big this year, next year it doesn’t mean anything. You’re only as good as your last album. I got to a point where we made three or four albums in a row that didn’t do anything. My real fans loved those albums but they were so experimental and different from Billion Dollar Babies and School’s Out which were both #1 and Welcome to My Nightmare which was in the Top 5.Those were the albums that were huge. Then I had four albums and they were cool but non-existent. I think in that period of time from a career point of view, I said I’m never going to make another hit album again. Trash came after that and it sold 5 million copies. As soon as I got sober all of the sudden things got ok again. It took me going into a hospital and getting sober before I made another hit album.
Robert: Was there ever a concern that if you sobered up that you would lose your creativity, writing abilities, and your edge?
Alice Cooper: That’s a very good question as it came up when I was playing golf with John Daly. I got down to a two handy cap and it was so unusual that Alice Cooper was the most dastardly character in rock n roll and now he is able to play golf with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
I used that exact school of logic that you are talking about with John Daly. John told me he’s not going to drink again and probably not going to win again because when he won two Majors while he was drinking. So much that was part of his formula for success.
I told him when I made my two #1 albums and all these platinum albums I was drinking. I would have made more platinum albums if I hadn’t been drinking. Don’t give alcohol the credit, you won two Majors when you were stoned out of your mind, you probably would have won five! I got to the point that the alcohol was only holding me back. I would have done a lot better without it. Alcoholics and drug addicts will always give credit to the drug which is the opposite way of looking at it! I could have done a lot better on those albums had I been sober. I just took it the other way. It’s part of your formula that you take a drink, hit the ball, and win the tournament. What about the fact there were five other tournaments that you did make the cut. That’s five other tournaments where you would have won two of them. Don’t give the alcohol the credit because you won twice.
Robert: One of the things that always been curious about was how you went from being this outlaw rock n roller in the 70’s to having mainstream success in the 80’s onward, to the point of being highly respected and regarded.
Alice Cooper: It was a definite thing that we sat and talked about. When we were the notorious band we wanted to be the most notorious band. We wanted to make the Stones look like choir boys. The more notorious we got the bigger we got! We did get to the point where Shep Gordon and Bob Ezrin said this can only go so far even though we have hit records. We have to give Alice some breathing room on another level. What else can Alice do? Turns out I was funny. I can do the Johnny Carson show or any comedy show for that matter and hold my own. We had to let the audience in on the fact that Alice had a sense of humor. That’s when I would show up on Hollywood Square with Paul Lynn, highly commercial things that you would never expect Alice to be in on. Johnny wanted me back all the time and I was almost a regular. When that happened, mid-America when “Oh, he is still pretty dastardly and he still rock’s villain but also funny.” That’s when the turning point was.
Robert: You have a cover CD coming out this summer where the information has been kept under tight wraps. Lately, I’ve been hearing a title thrown around and the possibility of 4-5 new songs, what can you share?
Alice Cooper: The idea behind it was that my drinking club back in the day was called the Hollywood Vampires. It was John Lennon, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Keith Moon. So if I was going to do a cover album, which I have never done before, I wanted to salute all my dead drunk friends! I’m going to put together some new vampires on it as well as some of the old ones. I can’t tell you who is on the album I can just tell you its jaw dropping! There are some original songs on there too.
Robert: I heard the title of the CD was going to be All My Dead Drunk Friends?
Alice Cooper: [Laughing] Well to me it is, but I’m sure it’s going to change. I’m sure the powers that be will look at that and go “no way”. It might be just a great tagline. I think it is a great title. It also might be Hollywood Vampires.
Robert: If you could pick a favorite album in your career, which would it be?
Alice Cooper: Oh boy, that’s a tough one, but I would have to say the first album that I call a real Alice Cooper album. I would have to say Love It To Death, which was the most representative of Alice Cooper. It has “Ballad of Dwight Fry” and “I’m Eighteen”. That one along with Killers were real Alice Cooper albums. I don’t think Pretties for You and Easy Action were Alice Cooper albums because we wrote most of the songs when we were The Nazz.
Robert: For what it’s worth, my two favorite albums are Hey Stupid and Eyes of Alice Cooper.
Alice Cooper: Hey Stupid has the best songs on it. “Dangerous Tonight” and “Might as Well Be on Mars” are two of the best songs I ever wrote.