Hit Parader

Hit Parader - December 1985

Hit Parader
(December 1985)

Originally Published: December 1985

Out to Lunch: Alice Cooper

Author: Jodi Beth Summers

Each month Hit Parader takes a noted rock and roll celebrity out to lunch to find out if food really does make the man. This month's lunch muncher is rock's original master of the macabre, that ol' snake charmer himself, Alice Cooper.

"My home life is so weird. I never talk about it," declares everybody's favorite ghoul Alice Cooper.

Weird is an appropriate description about everything relating to Alice. Born Vincent Furnier on December 25th, 1945, he took the name Alice Cooper because a Ouija board revealed that it was the name of a 17th century witch. That had instant appeal for the admittedly strange young Vincent.

"I wanted the name to sound like a very sweet, nice old lady," comments Alice about this creature he created which is "the perfect marriage of rock and roll horror."

Alice first rose to public acclaim in the early 1970's, when he became renowned for guillotining dollies on stage. (And you wonder where Twisted Sister and WASP came up with their ideas.) Magazines searching for info on Alice came up with little more than that he existed on a diet of junk food and beer and that he had a string of television sets that ran from his bedroom to his bathroom. Alice was apparently determined never to miss a moment of stuff on those magic boxes.

"I have 22 television sets at home so I never have to miss anything! I believe in being totally immersed in useless knowledge," confirms Alice of his visual obsession. "I don't have a stereo at home, I don't even have a record. I don't listen to music at all unless I get in my car. I think that's the only true way to listen to an album. I record music, I write music, I spend so much time with it that when I get home I don't want to listen to it."

You might figure that if Alice doesn't have a stereo blasting, maybe he'd thrive on the "natural" sound of the coyotes in the Los Angeles hills near his home. Wrongo! Alice lives in a world of incessant babble. He doesn't have 22 TV sets to put them on one at a time. They're all going - constantly! Who knows, those machines probably don't even have off switches.

"I don't know what the word silence means," confirms Alice. "If somebody turns a TV off when I'm asleep, I wake up. I'm so used to being plugged in... I'll watch anything. I'll watch cooking shows, I'll watch a Spanish preacher. I watch anything that's moving across the screen."

Because of rock and roll stardom, Alice has been able to become one of those lucky creatures to not only own a TV but to appear on the medium as well. In April, 1975, when he was at the peak of his career, Alice had his very own TV special, Alice Cooper - The Nightmare (the LP Welcome To My Nightmare was out at the time). And shortly after that, when he stopped being such a ghoul and sang such wimpy ballads as Only Women Bleed and How You Gonna See Me Now, he started turning up on celebrity Tic Tac Toe game, The Hollywood Squares. For Alice, who watches "every quiz show," it wasn't so much living out his fantasy as creating his form of chaos.

"I went on The Hollywood Squares to totally disrupt the program. They asked me if I wanted to be on the show and I said only if it will totally disrupt the system. I was in the enemy camp. I did it because I was going on a show where the contestants were the same people who wouldn't let their kids go to my concerts. The show was a real all-American type thing and I thought I should represent the other side. So, I wore all black leather, wore my makeup, and I was totally out of place, which was perfect. That's why I also did Las Vegas, because we didn't belong there. Anyplace I don't belong, I'll show up."

Figure this: 14 years of TV addiction, 10 game shows per day, and average of 25 questions per show. Alice has heard about 1,277,500 questions. Surely you want to know his favourite!

"It was on Tic Tac Dough," states Alice triumphantly, without a second's hesitation. "The question was, 'Who is Vincent Furnier?' "

Alice Cooper has become such a staple in American society that he has reached the lofty status of becoming one of those tidbits of useless information he loves so much.