Alice Cooper is a complicated individual. A world-famous musician, certainly, known for his shocking performances and focus on rock and metal.
But that’s not how he started out. And as he prepares for his role as King Harod on NBC’s live version of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” he’s telling more of his backstory.
When he started seriously focusing on music in the late 60s, Cooper quickly fell to the pull of alcohol. Not unusual for celebrities and musicians, but dangerous no matter what your career.
“Everything that could go wrong was shutting down inside of me,” Cooper told Confidential. “I was drinking with Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix and trying to keep up with Keith Moon and they all died at 27.”
Almost 40 years ago — 37 to be exact — the performer had a major turning point. A come-to-Jesus moment, if you will.
After years of heavy drinking and trashing his body, Cooper woke himself up by vomiting blood. While that would be concerning for anyone, Cooper knew why it was happening.
Cooper also knew what it meant he would have to do. After being authoritatively denounced as an alcoholic, he stopped drinking.
Stopping on its own is challenging, especially if you’re a habitual drinker, but Cooper said he also never had the desire to drink again.
Why? He said it was because of God.
“My wife and I are both Christian. My father was a pastor, my grandfather was an evangelist. I grew up in the church, went as far away as I could from it — almost died — and then came back to the church.”
That trend could describe many individuals. There are plenty of parents, friends, and relatives grieving the falling-away of loved ones. But perhaps it was Cooper’s foundation in Christianity that gave him stability when nothing else could.
He clearly has a lot of respect for his dad, and no doubt his father’s words rang in his ears during his darkest times.
“He could preach all day, keep you interested, tell jokes,” he said about his father in a 2011 interview. “I got that from him. He also loved music: Sinatra and Elvis.”
“When the Beatles came along, I was surprised when he went, ‘Yeah, they’re pretty good,’ because other parents were going, ‘Oh, no’. And my mom only worried about the lifestyle: ‘You’re gonna get caught up in drugs, you’re gonna get 20 girls pregnant.'”
Some people have had a hard time lining up Cooper’s appearance and life with standard Christian values, but he has words for them.
“There’s nothing in Christianity that says I can’t be a rock star. People have a very warped view of Christianity. They think it’s all very precise and we never do wrong and we’re praying all day and we’re right-wing. It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with a one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ.”
He’s also been faithful to his Christian wife, and the two still love each other after all these years.
“My wife is a ballet teacher so she is very organised,” he said in 2011. “I’m the spontaneous one – she never knows what’s coming, except that I’m gonna be home and I’m gonna be sober. After that, there might be a ticket to Jamaica in there.”
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