Alice Cooper is one of the most famous rock stars of all time, but sometimes his life away from the stage has been as dramatic as his shock-inspired concerts.
Branded The Godfather of Shock Rock, Cooper was known for dazzling fans with terrifying props at his music concerts, from electric chairs and guillotines to reptiles and even baby dolls.
Of course, there was also that one infamous gig incident with a chicken that has become etched into rock history – although not all of the gory details were true.
To celebrate the musician’s 74th birthday, Silver Screen Beat has dug into the wild life of Alice Cooper.
Like many of his fellow rock stars, the School’s Out singer struggled with alcohol abuse back in the day, and his booze battle peaked in the 1970s and early 80s.
He opened up about his alcohol addiction in his audiobook – Who I Really Am: Diary of a Vampire – where he explained he tried “many cures, lots of different doctors, lots of different methods, nothing worked.”
Cooper, who was born Vincent Damon Furnier, confessed he used to cry before playing his shows as he knew how much he would need to drink in order to finish the gig.
He said: “It just kept getting worse. I loved doing the show, I hated doing the show. I loved my life, but I hated my life. I could be so much better than this.
The singer went on: “I was drinking more and more. I would get to the show, I would look at my costume lying out, I would remember crying, looking at it, knowing what I had to do in order to get that show done.”
He found it a “nightmare” having to get into costume, but he “felt great” once he was singing on stage.
However, he managed to overcome his alcohol problems in the mid 1980s, and he’s since become something of a mentor for other rock stars with addiction issues.
In 2008, he even won the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award at a MusiCares MAP Fund charity concert in LA.
‘Death pact’ with wife
Cooper has been happily married to his wife Sheryl Goddard for 43 years – after they tied the knot in March 1976.
Dancer and choreographer Sheryl was even part of the Alice Cooper show from 1975 and 1982.
In 2009, he appeared to reveal he had a death pact with Cheryl when he told the Mirror: “We’ve made a pact – there is no way of surviving without each other.”
The smitten singer went on: “I couldn’t live without her. We always said there will never be a time when one of us will be mourning the other. Whenever it does happen, we are going to go together.
“I’ve been married 43 years to the greatest girl in the world. We have never cheated on each other.”
However, he later clarified that he didn’t have a literal “death pact” with his wife.
Cooper said: “We love life so much. What I was meaning was that because we’re almost always together, at home and on the road, that if something did happen to either of us, we’d most likely be together at the time.”
Alice Cooper is also part of a star-studded supergroup called Hollywood Vampires – and its members include Hollywood hunk Johnny Depp.
Formed in 2012, the band’s name came from a celebrity drinking club of the same name formed by Cooper in the 1970s – which he shared with the likes of Beatles legends Ringo Starr and Keith Moon.
The band have released two studio albums so far and played at glam events like the Grammy Awards.
Secret restaurant career
Fans might be forgiven for not knowing that the rock star is an avid restauranteur.
He opened his Phoenix-based eatery, called Alicecooper’stown, in 1998.
It used to serve free meals to children in need every Christmas, and featured walls lined with rock and sports memorabilia.
Sadly, it closed down in October 2017.
However, the singer does have a line of hot sauce which is available to buy online.
Notorious chicken incident
Alice Cooper’s infamous chicken incident spread like wildfire in the tabloid press, but it’s become something of an urban myth as it seems not all the details are actually true.
As the story went, Alice Cooper and his band were playing on stage at the 1969 Toronto Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival festival when a member of the audience lobbed a chicken onto the stage.
Newspapers splashed the gory version of the story which alleged that Cooper bit off the head of the chicken and drank its blood during the gig.
However, the rocker has confirmed multiple times that it’s not true.
Telling the tale himself, Alice said: “Somebody threw a chicken on stage. This was in Toronto and I’m from Detroit. I’ve never been on a farm in my life and I said, ‘It’s a chicken, it’s got wings, it’ll fly.’
“So I threw it back to the audience, I thought it was gonna fly away. It went right at the audience and they tore it to pieces and threw the parts back on stage.
“The next thing I knew, it was ‘Alice Cooper bites the head off a chicken and drinks the blood.’ That’s what the papers said the next day. I got a call from Frank Zappa and he says, ‘Did you do that?’ I said, ‘No.’ He said, ‘Don’t tell anybody that. They love it.'”
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