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Originally Published: April 18, 2008
Author: Mitchell Peters
After 26 years of sobriety, rocker Alice Cooper has some advice to pass along to the younger generation: "I don't think you need to die for your art." And for his support of the MusiCares MAP Fund and devotion to helping other addicts with the recovery process, Cooper will receive the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award at the fourth annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert, to be held May 9 at Los Angeles' Music Box at the Fonda.
"I've made myself very available to friends of mine," Cooper tells Billboard. "They're people who would call me late at night and say, 'Between you and me, I've got a problem.'"
Cooper, a recovering alcoholic, says programs like the Recording Academy's MusiCares -- which provides artists with access to addiction recovery treatment -- are invaluable to the music community.
"I think the older bands are a lot hipper than the younger bands when it comes to the drinking and drug thing, because we've been through it," he says, citing musicians like Slash and Ozzy Osbourne. "All you need is for one guy to drop dead next to you until you get a real clear picture of it."
MusiCares will also honor Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash with the From the Heart Award for his dedication to the mission and goals of the organization. The alcohol-free event will feature performances from Cooper, Slash, Cat Power, Blind Melon and all-star group Camp Freddy, among others.
Ticket information is available at musicares.com.
Meanwhile, Cooper says his forthcoming studio album, "Along Came A Spider," is about 75% complete. "It's a real 'Alice' album," he says, noting that the set could see an August release date. "Conceptually, it's going to be pretty interesting."
Cooper wouldn't reveal too many details, but says the album is based on a fictional serial killer named Spider, who wraps his victims in a silk web. "Every song is sort of a letter to the police," he explains. "They think they're investigating it from the outside, but he's actually woven them into the whole thing."
Cooper has international tour dates booked from July through October. For the "Along Came A Spider Tour," which will most likely begin in 2009, Cooper says he plans to model each show after an old radio drama, like "The Shadow."
"Nobody has ever done that, in the format of a '40s radio cliffhanger kind of thing," he notes. "I want people actually playing detectives between the songs."