Request

Originally Published: May 1999

Up Close and Personal

Author: Russell Hall

If good fortune sometimes comes from being in the right place at the right time, then for Brian Nelson it came from being there over and over again. Between 1977, when he managed to persuade an Alice Cooper roadie to give him a backstage pass, and 1980, when he surreptitiously snagged the singer's phone number, Nelson was a constant lurking among the Coop's post-show entourage. Little did he know that his zealousness would lead to a job as Cooper's personal assistant, a postion he's held for almost two decades.

"Alice didn't really know me," says Nelson of those early days, "except for those backstage encounters. But I rang him up one day, and he said, 'I'm glad you called. It so happens I'm going back on tour again, and I had to let this guy go who was working for me. Would you be interested in going out on tour with us?' I was like, 'Yes, of course!' As it turned out, I didn't go on that tour, but he flew me out to Beverly Hills, and I moved into [his] guest house and began working for him and his wife.

Before he became AC's assistant, Nelson - subsequently christened "Renfield" by his boss - had begun accumulating an impressive array of Cooper memorabilia. His collection includes a white top hat worn on the Welcome to My Nightmare tour, the T-shirt Cooper sported on the cover of Trash, and a pair of thigh-high, leopard-skin platform boots the Coop strutted in during the Billion Dollar Babies shows. Despite his lengthy tenure with the mascaraed one, the 39-year-old is still amazed that fate shined so kindly upon him.

"I don't know how or why it happened, but I really did end up with my dream job. I guess I was kind of lucky. I never wanted to be a lawyer or a doctor or anything like that. I had no particular goals, but then again, working for Alice Cooper was never a goal either. It was more like, 'Wow, how cool would that be - to work for your favorite rock star?'"