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Friday, July 7, 2017

#Book #Review: 5 out of 5 stars for Alice Cooper, Golf Monster by Alice Cooper @RealAliceCooper @CrownPublishing

AUTHOR: Alice Cooper
PUBLISHER: Crown Publishing Group (NY)
PUBLICATION DATE: May 1, 2007
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 260 pages
GENRE: Autobiography/Memoir
ISBN: 9780307382658
The man who invented shock rock tells the amazing and, yeah, shocking story of how he slayed his thirsty demons--with a golf club. It started one day when Cooper was watching a Star Trek rerun between concerts, bored and drunk on a quart-of-whiskey-a-day habit; a friend dragged the rocker out of his room and suggested a round of golf. Cooper has been a self-confessed golf addict ever since. Today he and his band still tour the world, playing some one hundred gigs a year . . . and three hundred days out of that year, Cooper is on the course.

Alice Cooper, Golf Monster is Cooper's tell-all memoir; in it he talks candidly about his entire life and career, as well as his struggles with alcohol, how he fell in love with the game of golf, how he dried out at a sanitarium back in the late '70s, and how he put the last nails in his addiction's coffin by getting up daily at 7 a.m. to play 36 holes.

Alice has hilarious, touching, and sometimes surprising stories about so many of his friends: Led Zeppelin and the Doors, George Burns and Groucho Marx, golf legends like John Daly and Tiger Woods . . . everyone is here from Dali to Elvis to Arnold Palmer.

This is the story of Cooper's life, and also a story about golf. He rose from hacker to scratch golfer to serious Pro Am competitor and on to his status today as one of the best celebrity golfers around--all while rising through the rock 'n' roll ranks releasing platinum albums and selling out arenas with his legendary act.
MY REVIEW:

I am a big Alice Cooper fan, and I loved learning more about him. This preacher's son went to hell and back with his alcoholism, and he’s been dry now for over 30 years.

Alice Cooper, formerly known as Vincent Damon Furnier, walks us through the ups and downs of his life. He was born in Detroit but suffered from asthma, so the family moved to California and then Phoenix. He nearly died at the age of 11, given only a 10% chance of survival after his appendix burst. His body was toxic with peritonitis, and his parents prayed for his survival. He lost over 20 pounds, but he miraculously pulled through. There was another miracle in Alice's life when the family needed $146 to pay their bills so that they could remain in Phoenix or else they would have to move back to California and get help from a relative. A blank envelope containing that exact sum of money was left in their mailbox, and no one could possibly have known the amount that they needed but there it was!

It was during his high school years that Alice and his friends formed a band, and they became quite popular in the local scene. After graduation, they moved to Los Angeles to try to find their big break. It was a crazy lifestyle, crashing with anyone and anywhere and they didn’t have much money. They struggled to make it, but they were determined.

In 1967, they lost control of their tour van on the highway and rolled four times. Everyone, all eight of them, survived the incident with only scratches. Not one had suffered any broken bones. Another miracle!

Alice Cooper did finally make it big, but not without paying a price. He became an alcoholic. He was a functional drunk, and those around him didn’t realize the extent of his addiction. He drank up to a case of beer a day and then switched to Seagram’s VO when the beer lost its effect. The alcohol took its toll on his body, and Alice threw up blood every morning.

I loved reading about Alice’s background and how he achieved his fame. It’s pretty cool that he has no written agreement with his manager, Shep. With a verbal agreement and a handshake, that relationship and trust has survived decades and that’s pretty amazing! I loved reading about Alice’s relationship with his wife, Sheryl, and how they weathered the storms with his alcoholism. At one point, they did file for divorce but clearly still loved each other but Sheryl just couldn’t watch Alice drink himself to death. They started seeing a Christian marriage counselor in 1983. Alice went into a treatment facility for a month, and he has been sober since 1983. Alice’s health recovered, and he replaced his alcoholic addiction with golf.

With his recovery, Alice questioned whether he could continue the Alice Cooper façade as an entertainer with his new-found Christianity. Here is his exchange with a pastor:

“I’m a Christian now,” I told him, “and I can’t really be Alice anymore.”

“Vince,” he said. (It’s funny. He calls me Vince and Alice.) “Do you believe that God makes mistakes?”

I answered honestly. “I think God is incapable of making mistakes.”

“Then look where he’s put you – right in the Philistines’ camp. He’s given you all this knowledge. What speaks louder? You preaching the word? Or is it your lifestyle that communicates with people? You’re in the world of rock ‘n’ roll, booze, and sex. Yet you’re the guy who never cheats on his wife, who doesn’t go to strip bars with the boys, and doesn’t get high. Your band sees you reading the Bible at night on the bus. What speaks louder than that? I don’t see any reason why you should quit being Alice Cooper.”

I was surprised. It was definitely now the answer I expected.

I was fortunate to see Alice Cooper in concert in 2016. It was a fantastic show, and Alice really is the ultimate performer with a top-notch show. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t hear a couple of my favourite songs, like “Trash” and “Spark in the Dark.” Now, after reading this book, I understand the reason why. Alice won’t sing songs like that anymore because his moral views have changed. He writes, “…I can no longer go on stage and represent something I don’t believe in.”

Alice later writes this about his Christianity:

"Part of my transformation involved a lot of study. I now study the Bible a few verses or chapters a night with books that explain and help light the path I’m walking as I’m reading. Since my conversion, I’ve gone through the Bible seven or eight times, and I’m just barely scratching the surface.”

"…As a Christian, I don’t declare myself a “Christian rock star.” I’m merely a rock star who’s a Christian. To me, A Christian rock star is somebody who gets up on stage and sings praise music, preaching the gospel. Alice Cooper is still a guy who entertains the audience – he just happens to be a Christian.”

Alice has hosted his own Alice Celebrity Golf Tournament since 1997, and all proceeds go to the Solid Rock Foundation which he founded in 1995. It is a nonprofit organization that helps teenagers and children. At the time the book was written, he was embarking on a new project, establishing a safe haven for troubled youth called The Rock.

I have a lot of admiration and respect for Alice Cooper! He conquered his demons and uses his celebrity status for good, giving back to underprivileged youth. It takes a lot of guts to do what he did and to be so outspoken about his Christianity, which could have potentially damaged his career as a rocker. I always was an Alice Cooper fan, and now I’m an even bigger one! Even though I know nothing about golf and have only played once in my life, I enjoyed the chapters with Alice’s golf tips and stories. The book also contains many photographs of Alice, which progressed from his youth until the present. I recommend this book to every Cooper fan!

MY RATING:

5 stars!! It was superb! I loved it and will likely re-read it in the future! You should definitely read it if you are a Cooper fan!

This book qualifies as:

3 comments:

  1. This actually sounds pretty interesting. I don't rate myself as a fan but I liked a few of his hits. The content of the book does sound good.

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  2. This book sounds great! Amazing review!

    I gave your blog a follow, and I would truly appreciate it if you could check out my book reviews blog located at https://elsbookreviews.blogspot.ca/ and possibly give it a follow as well! Looking forward to reading more of your reviews!

    - El

    ReplyDelete
  3. I actually might like this book. Not a huge Alice fan but I can appreciate him as an artist. May see of my library can get this.

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