Alice Cooper has become such an archetypal figure of the rock ‘n’ roll world that he had to overcome his own addiction to alcohol – a problem that arises far too often when dealing with musicians. The list is endless; some have made it through and have lived to tell the tale, while others have died trying to kick it. There’s a bit of both in this particular story; in an ironic twist of fate, one rock star who would not make it handed another who would, a joint of crystal THC one night at a hotel after a show.
“I’ve made myself very available to friends of mine – they’re people who would call me late at night and say, ‘Between you and me, I’ve got a problem’,” the godfather of shock, Alice Cooper once said.
Alice Cooper was probably the first artist to employ true theatrics to the rock stage. Alice Cooper – not unlike what David Bowie would do with his various characters – became his own character on stage and in every other aspect of his life. The difference between Bowie and Cooper, however, is that Bowie never married himself to one stage character, whereas Cooper couldn’t escape the definitive stage name of ‘Alice Cooper’.
Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier, and would become somewhat of a goth queen psycho-killer; he has used pyrotechnics, guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, and baby dolls during his performances.
“From what I understand, he used to bring the Spiders From Mars to our shows and say, ‘That’s what we should be doing.’ And I never had a problem with it. David and I got along really well. For one thing, he was going to do something theatrically that was entirely different from Alice Cooper. His music, his early music, I really liked his early, early music,” Cooper commented on the comparison between the two glam rockers, according to Rock and Roll Garage.
Cooper has been described as the one who “first introduced horror imagery to rock and roll, and whose stagecraft and showmanship have permanently transformed the genre.”
Although, Cooper was obviously not born straight into what he would become famous for. He too was just a young aspiring musician at one point with an unknown band trying to find his way.
Cooper recalls being at a show in Detroit one night to watch Jimi Hendrix perform. “I’m sitting there after the show. I went to see them (Hendrix band). We were just a little high school band, but they said, ‘Hey, come on up to the hotel room’,” Cooper recalled on the SDR Show.
“Weed was the first drug, and it was [with] Jimi Hendrix,” Cooper added.
Cooper adds, “‘Hey, come on up to the hotel room.’ And we were sitting on his bed, and Jimi goes, ‘Here, man’ [with a joint], and I went, ‘Okay.’”
From the way the glam rocker describes the setting, it seemed like a strange surreal evening, involving a vibrating bed. “And then he goes and puts a quarter in the bed – you know, the vibrating bed. There was, like, eight people sitting on the bed. And he goes, ‘We’re on a spaceship.’ And I went, ‘Okay.’”
Among all the crazy drug-related stories that Alice Cooper has shared throughout the years, this one involving Hendrix is a little more on the lighter side.
“I wasn’t a drunk drunk. … I was never falling down, nobody had to carry me home,” he admitted in 2017. “I was always on this golden buzz. Kinda this Dean Martin thing,” according to Ultimate Classic Rock.
His doctor “told me that if I stopped drinking, I could probably record 20 more albums – but if I didn’t, in two weeks I’d be playing with my friends Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix up in Heaven.”
“I didn’t realise that I was an alcoholic until I realized that the alcohol was not for fun anymore. It was medicine,” Cooper also added.
Compared to the amount of alcohol that Cooper used to drink, smoking crystal THC with Hendrix didn’t seem as bad.
The aftermath that ensued smoking with Jimi Hendrix
“It was Detroit, and I think it was crystal THC,” Cooper added to his story about sharing a joint with Hendrix on The SDR Show.
“It was, like, four in the morning. I regained consciousness. And I thought it [was] a Jim Jones thing. And I got up. I remember it was about 20 degrees below outside. And I walked outside just in my shirt on, just to wake up. And when I came back in, everybody was just kind of coming up.”
Cooper also added, “It was weird; it was like a [Federico] Fellini thing. It was so strange that I really did believe that everybody was dead, and I was the only one that survived it.”
Alice Cooper has been sober since 1983, after he checked himself into a sanitarium.
For now, listen to Alice Cooper’s anthem of youthful rebellion, ‘School’s Out’, below.