Alice Cooper Talks Addiction, Recovery, and Music in Interview with Andrew W.K.
“The late sixties and early seventies were kind of a breeding ground for exciting new sounds because easy listening and folk were kind of taking over the airwaves. I think it was a natural next step to take that blissful, easy-going sound and strangle the life out of it.”
You can’t talk rock music of the 60s and 70s without talking about the enigmatic Alice Cooper. From the hair, crazy makeup, and the wild shows, he and his band are beyond iconic- they’re legendary. So when someone sent me a video for a brand new interview with Alice Cooper and Andrew WK, a multi-talented game changer in his own right, I was definitely all in.
I didn’t expect to learn quite so much from the 9-minute video.
It features both artists in an intimate setting: just two chairs and a small table between them, two glasses sitting mostly untouched. The video, presented by Noisey, opens with Cooper discussing his roots in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which he declares to be the best rock scene in the world between 1968 and 1972. He and Andrew discuss the hard edge to music in the Detroit area, speaking of the all-or-nothing, intense shows. “
A teenage kid in a big city,” Cooper says, “where would he vent his anger? Certainly not The Carpenters. It would be heavy metal. That’s where you go to get angry, and feel good about it afterwards.”
“The most angry sounding music I’ve always found to be made by the nicest people.” W.K. added, noting the cathartic nature of the genre.
Later in the interview Cooper, whose real name is Vincent Furnier, opens up about his five decade career, stating simply, “we were too weird for LA.” He also talks about the heavy drug use of the music scene at the time:
“Alice Cooper was like this Vaudeville freak show. We’d scare the Hell out of people because they were all on acid… In two songs, we’d clear the building.”
Things really get interesting around the 3:28 mark. There, Cooper begins to explain his thought process behind his onstage persona. He says:
“There were two Alices. There was the ‘victim Alice’ when I was drinking; I look at those videos now and Alice was always slumped over and he was society’s whipping boy. And I said ‘okay, that’s what I’ll make him. I’ll make him this ‘everything happens to him’ and everybody will relate to that. As soon as I quit drinking, I went ‘now Alice is this arrogant villain, who really is in charge of everything.”
He continued later in the video to explain that despite his addictions, he does not believe he ever contemplated suicide, even at his lowest points.
“Believe me, I got to the point where it was just me, a big rock of cocaine, a pipe, a gun, and me, all by myself in this big Hollywood mansion where everybody had left my life. It was just me and that, and I went ‘is this what I worked for?’ That’s when I realized how pointless that was. I didn’t have one more person on my side. I finally got to a point of [being] smart enough to take the rock and flush it, and sleep for four days, then start my life over again. It’s like that’s air to you: that drug ends up being air, alcohol was like air to me. I couldn’t picture my life without alcohol.”
Thankfully, now Alice lives a life of sobriety while continuing to contribute to the music scene. In 2011 the remaining members of the Alice Cooper band were inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, producing an album, Welcome 2 My Nightmare, that same year. He continues to tour the world, with a North American tour starting in April with a show Mississippi. Andrew W.K’s own tour begins next week with a Comedy Central spot on the show ‘Idiotsitter’.
What do you think about the impact of drugs on the music scene of the 60s and 70s? Do you think they are more or less prevalent? Let us know in the comments!
Keep Up With Trending Addiction News
About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.