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Music

Alice Cooper reveals that Keith Moon loved to dress up as The Queen of England

@SamWKemp

In a revealing new interview with the BBC, Alice Cooper has shared some of his most treasured memories from his time drinking with an exclusive group of musicians at Hollywood’s Rainbow Bar and Grill. The Hollywood Vampires – as they were known – featured some of the most iconic rockers of the early 1970s. According to Cooper, who frequented the Rainbow Bar on a regular basis, the “most important” part of every night at the cub was the moment Keith Moon, the famously loony drummer of The Who, would walk through the door.

Moon loved to turn heads. He was, by all accounts, “the most entertaining human being on the planet” and was always making these grand entrances. As Cooper explained: “One night he would show up as the Queen of England, full outfit. One night he would be Hitler. One night he’d be a Viking. One night he would be a French maid”.

Cooper and Moon became “very good friends” over the years. It was a relationship based on a shared love of shocking people, of doing things that nobody else dared to do. “He was the court jester of the Hollywood Vampires, and everybody’s best buddy,” Cooper continued. “We’d go to the Rainbow, the roost of the Vampires, and just wait to see what Keith was going to wear that night.”

Later in the interview, Cooper explained how politics often became the subject of debate inside the club, with John Lennon encouraging Cooper to take more of an interest in political issues. According to Cooper, the average night would begin with everyone (the self-named Hollywood Vampires) meeting the Rainbow Bar and Grill: “And we would go up there, and I don’t remember anybody ever talking about music. Because I think this was our escape from music. You had all these guys that would just like to drink. And Harry [Nilsson] and John [Lennon], after they drank five or six drinks … I’d have to sit between them. Because if John said ‘black,’ Harry would say ‘white.’ If Harry would say ‘Republican,’ John would say ‘Democrat.'”

Despite it being a sore talking point, Nillson and Lennon continued to bring up politics simply for the chance to argue with one another. According to Cooper, they raised controversial topics “on purpose because they loved to fight with each other”. Cooper’s job was to make sure that the arguments wouldn’t get too out of hand. If things got a little too hot, he would “sit them both down and go, ‘Stop, stop, stop!'”.

In retrospect, Cooper’s role as a neutral buffer between the warring pair is a good example of the key difference between Lennon and Cooper. Lennon would often accuse the rocker of lacking understanding about the world of politics, that he was ignorant. As he explained: “The one thing about John was he always tried to get me more into politics. And I told him, ‘John, you’re trying to save the world. I’m just trying to entertain them.”