Spin

Originally Published: December 1993

Alice In Dali Land

Author: Jay Stowe

In early April of 1973, a mind-melding of sorts took place in New York City. Over the course of about two weeks, shock-rocker Alice Cooper and Salvador Dali, fabled Surrealist, ate together, drank together, and basked in the glow of each other's exceptional freakishness. And lo, it was beautiful. In light of the recent publication of Meredith Etherington-Smith's biography, The Persistence of Memory, (Random House)- and the fact that Alice's and Dali's coming together is mentioned, however scantly, in Chapter 14- the time seemed right to query Alice about just what, exactly, happened.

How Alice Met Dali
Dali invited Alice and his manager, Shep Gordon, over to the St. Regis Hotel. "We met in the bar. Gala (his wife) comes first. She's dressed in a full tuxedo. She looked exactly like Fred Astaire- top hat, cane, spats. I went, 'Wow!' Then about six boys and girls- or whatever they were- about 16 or 17 years old, came in. These creatures he had with him were like something out of Satyricon. They were dressed in a lot of silk. Flowing things, loose things. They didn't say anything but they were real pretty. I had this vision of Count Dracula and his wives. They kind of floated around the room. Then Dali comes in. He said, 'I am the great and grand Dali!' And I said, 'Hi, I'm Alice Cooper.' I felt like Jerry Lewis, you know."

The Clothes Dali Wore
Purple crushed velvet pants; a pair of gold elastic shoes ("you know, where the toes go up at the end"); a pair of purple glitter socks that Elvis gave him; a giraffe-skin coat; his usual mustache; and sideburns "kind of up in pincurls."

The Cocktails Served
Scorpions- for the whole entourage. The drinks came in bowls with lilacs floating in them. Dali ordered a glass of hot water. "He pulled a jar of honey out of his pocket and started pouring the honey in. He lifted it up and up and up until he had this long strand of honey, then with his right hand he reaches into his other pocket and pulls out a pair of scissors and cuts the honey. I looked at Shep and said, 'We're in trouble. This guy is out there.' "

What About Alice's Snake?
Renowned for letting a 12-to-13-foot boa constrictor loose on stage, Alice did not pull his boa out with Dali around. "A lot of people are disappointed when they meet me because they expect me to chase them around with an ax. Well, that's Alice on stage. I don't even hang around with Alice."

What Dali Talked About Over Dinner
The psychotronic membranes of the brain and the radio impulses constantly shooting out of them into space. In five different languages. One word in French, one in Portugese, one in Spanish, one in English, and one in "whatever." "So you only picked up every fifth word."

The Name of the Work of Art Dali Wanted Alice to Be In
"First Cylindric Chromo-Hologram Portrait of Alice Cooper's Brain."

How Dali Proposed His Idea to Alice
"He gave me my brain." Dali presented a brain sculpted out of plaster (or something) with a chocolate eclair running down its middle and ants crawling all over it. "He said, 'This is Dali's version of Alice Cooper's brain.' And I said, 'Wow, I never thought I'd ever get this.' "

What Dali Asked Alice to Do
To be filmed biting the head off the Venus de Milo in a hologram while wearing $2 million worth of diamond tiaras and necklaces. "They had armed guards there and everything. It was just ridiculous."

What Happened at the Press Conference Afterward
"I was sitting there wearing all black and my eyes are all smeared and I'm drinking a tall can of Budweiser and he's all in white and looks like some kind of saint. He's explaining on and on and on and they ask me, 'What do you think of this?' And I said, 'I haven't understood one word he's said since I met him.' And he jumped up and said: 'Perfect! Fusion is the greatest form of communication.' "