If you weren’t all that familiar with Alice Cooper, you’d probably assume that he was a menacing, controversial scary type who sports full leather outfits and racoon-eyed makeup while doing his weekly shop. Following a career of darkly flamboyant anthems and notorious on-stage antics involving live snakes, guillotines and straightjackets, discovering he’s actually remarkably mild-mannered and not the eccentric sinister ringmaster we see on stage has always been a unexpected yet welcome surprise.
So Alice Cooper is actually just the on-stage alter ego of Vincent Damon Furnier. It’s a made-up persona to help him get into the right frame of mind to be able to provide daring performances as one of the world’s most famous shock rockers. In a new interview with Classic Rock, Cooper discusses the difference between his alter ego and real personality.
When asked if he feels uncomfortable following periods of time away from his alter ego, which assumedly allows him to release the pent-up energy that he’s unable to divulge in as his usual mellow self, Cooper responds, “No, I can turn Alice on and off at will. I used to be a lot different, when I drank and took drugs I didn’t know where I began and Alice ended.
“So I was living in that chaos for quite a while. When I got sober I could separate the two; I could be talking about a movie when the curtain goes up, and in the time I turn from left to right I become Alice. It’s a different posture, brain, look, everything.
“When the curtain comes back down and the audience isn’t there any more, I’ll go right back into talking about the movie as myself. I can turn the character on and off. That’s something I had to learn to do.”
You can read the full interview in the latest issue of Classic Rock, out now. It’s an end of year review, looking back on everything from the best albums of the year to the best reissues. It also includes conversations with the artists who ensured that rock kept rolling throughout 2021. Plus, it arrives with two free gifts: a 2022 Rock Icons wall calendar, and a classic rock colouring book featuring Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden and more.