Originally Published: July 29, 2004

A real 'Mr. Nice Guy': Cooper in area for Gilford concert

Author: Rich Bergeron

CONCORD - Alice Cooper paid a visit to some of his biggest fans Wednesday night, visiting the studios of a radio station that was the first in the nation to pick up his new radio show.

Cooper is giving a concert at Meadowbrook in Gilford tonight.

"I consider it a real privilege that heís stopping by and hanging out with us," said I-93.3 FM WNHI General Manager Britt Johnson about the visit Wednesday night to tape his "Nights with Alice Cooper" radio show.

The show runs weekdays from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. and features commentary and perspective on each artist Cooper plays.

"We like the show," said Johnson as Cooper finished taping in the studio next door. "He offers an insight into music none of us here can offer. He lived it." Johnson is a fan and collector of memorabilia. "I grew up in that era," he said.

Johnson said the best part of his job is "Itís not routine."

For Frank Norton of Gardner, Mass., going to Alice Cooperís shows is routine. He even went as far as getting an Alice Cooper tattoo when he was a teenager. He had Cooper sign it Wednesday night along with some albums and a cane Cooper threw out into the audience during a performance Norton was at. He was having the signature tattooed over today before the Gilford show. He has been a fan since he was 8 or 9 years old.

"I love everything about his music," said Norton. "The whole theatrical aspect, the concept albums that he does." Norton also mentioned that Wednesday was not the first time he met the superstar. "Iíve seen him in every single tour since Ď86," he said.

When Cooper signed Nortonís arm he joked, "I feel bad. I donít have one of you."

Eating pizza and sipping Diet Coke, Cooper chatted about the show, his music, and even touched on politics.

"I have no reverence for anyone," he said about poking fun at other rockers during his show. "Theyíre my friends." He also explained he plays Frank Zappa on the show. "He discovered us," said Cooper. "He gave us our first gig."

He said he enjoys playing Cooper on stage but is not really him in real life. He drives a Volvo, coaches Little League, and is every bit an average Joe out of costume. He said even his kids at home sometimes see him on television and say, "Look, Daddy, thereís Alice Cooper."

He described the reason for having the persona be so separate from who he really is. He knew being Cooper all the time would end up killing him.

Cooper ó whose real name is Vincent Furnier ó pointed to past stars like Jimmy Hendrix, drummer Keith Moon, Jim Morrisson, and Janis Joplin. "They tried to be that character they were on stage all the time and it killed them doing it."

He discussed his take on the best guitar players and drummers at Johnsonís request. He pointed out that Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop were the best heíd ever seen and that Pete Townsend is "the best live guitarist." He said Tommy Lee is todayís best drummer while "Keith Moon was a guy that drove the band."

Cooper also said it isnít as easy as it once was to shock people.

"What you see on CNN is basically about five times more shocking than what I could do," he said. He went on to say heíd never want to be president of the United States.

"Itís a thankless job," he said. "Heís just a figurehead anyway. The president never makes decisions. Heís got 20 guys from Harvard behind him."

He also spoke about his restaurant called "Alice Cooperstown." He has two open and is partnering with Randy Johnson in the effort. There is even a "Big Unit" hot dog on the menu.

Cooper even talked about the trade rumors swirling around Johnson.

"I golf with the manager of the team," said Cooper. "They havenít got any plans to get rid of him." He also said that the team never really talked about trading the all-star pitcher until the media made the trade possibility into a reality. He said if Johnson goes anywhere it will be to either Texas or Anaheim.

As for Alice, the man who is the legend said, "He was not born to be in this world." He also said if his fans want to see Alice Cooper heíll be on stage at Meadowbrook tonight.

Otherwise heís just a "regular guy" according to Johnson. "Heís a real nice guy, heís really friendly."