Tales of Rock – Alice Cooper Reveals How Jesus Saved His Life

Alice Cooper is a complicated individual. A world-famous musician, certainly, known for his shocking performances and focus on rock and metal.

But that’s not how he started out. And as he prepares for his role as King Harod on NBC’s live version of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” he’s telling more of his backstory.

When he started seriously focusing on music in the late 60s, Cooper quickly fell to the pull of alcohol. Not unusual for celebrities and musicians, but dangerous no matter what your career.

“Everything that could go wrong was shutting down inside of me,” Cooper told Confidential. “I was drinking with Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix and trying to keep up with Keith Moon and they all died at 27.”

Alice Cooper Reveals How Jesus Saved His Life on Night He Was Throwing up Blood 40 Years Ago

Almost 40 years ago — 37 to be exact — the performer had a major turning point. A come-to-Jesus moment, if you will.

After years of heavy drinking and trashing his body, Cooper woke himself up by vomiting blood. While that would be concerning for anyone, Cooper knew why it was happening.

Cooper also knew what it meant he would have to do. After being authoritatively denounced as an alcoholic, he stopped drinking.

Stopping on its own is challenging, especially if you’re a habitual drinker, but Cooper said he also never had the desire to drink again.

Why? He said it was because of God.

“My wife and I are both Christian. My father was a pastor, my grandfather was an evangelist. I grew up in the church, went as far away as I could from it — almost died — and then came back to the church.”

That trend could describe many individuals. There are plenty of parents, friends, and relatives grieving the falling-away of loved ones. But perhaps it was Cooper’s foundation in Christianity that gave him stability when nothing else could.

He clearly has a lot of respect for his dad, and no doubt his father’s words rang in his ears during his darkest times.

“He could preach all day, keep you interested, tell jokes,” he said about his father in a 2011 interview. “I got that from him. He also loved music: Sinatra and Elvis.”

“When the Beatles came along, I was surprised when he went, ‘Yeah, they’re pretty good,’ because other parents were going, ‘Oh, no’. And my mom only worried about the lifestyle: ‘You’re gonna get caught up in drugs, you’re gonna get 20 girls pregnant.’”

Some people have had a hard time lining up Cooper’s appearance and life with standard Christian values, but he has words for them.

“There’s nothing in Christianity that says I can’t be a rock star. People have a very warped view of Christianity. They think it’s all very precise and we never do wrong and we’re praying all day and we’re right-wing. It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with a one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Alice Cooper Reveals How Jesus Saved His Life on Night He Was Throwing up Blood 40 Years Ago

 

He’s also been faithful to his Christian wife, and the two still love each other after all these years.

“My wife is a ballet teacher so she is very organized,” he said in 2011. “I’m the spontaneous one – she never knows what’s coming, except that I’m gonna be home and I’m gonna be sober. After that, there might be a ticket to Jamaica in there.”

 

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Tales of Rock – Love Me Plenty, Presley Pleads

I love that photo of Elvis.

Jan. 8 will be the 85th anniversary of the birth of Elvis Presley. Don’t fear that this milestone will be celebrated too quietly. Elvis 75 (a shorthand moniker for the event itself, as well as the title of a new greatest-hits collection) will bring an onslaught of commemorative festivities and products, like parties at Graceland, concerts with Elvis impersonators and a movie suggesting that Presley, who died on Aug. 16, 1977, has spent the last three decades in outer space. It will bring everything except realistic thoughts of what the uncontrollably self-destructive Elvis might have been like as a 75-year-old man.

Naturally, there are books. Lots and lots of books. Among the standouts — beyond a tell-all by the doctor who knows a lot about Presley’s death and a hagiography from the lifelong buddy who is fond of saying that America has had many presidents but only one King — is Alanna Nash’s long look at Elvis’s bizarre history with women. She has cleverly borrowed one of his most seductive song titles, “Baby, Let’s Play House.”

Since Ms. Nash’s book is studiously annotated and longer than many biographies of American presidents, there is reason to think she may have done some serious work here. Also, she approaches this subject with a running start. As the author of “The Colonel,” about the carny tricks of Presley’s famously Machiavellian manager, Col. Tom Parker, as well as “Elvis and the Memphis Mafia,” she sounds like someone well connected in the Presley world. So it is only a little bit worrisome to see her identified in the jacket copy for her new book as “the first journalist to see Elvis Presley in his casket.”

Elvis Presley and his wife, Priscilla, at their 1967 Las Vegas wedding. He had unusually close ties to his mother, Gladys. Credit Doc Pele/Stills, Retna

That whiff of morbid curiosity turns out to be determinative. So does the genesis of “Baby, Let’s Play House”: Ms. Nash acknowledges that she initially wrote a women-oriented article for Ladies’ Home Journal and then decided to expand it. Thus armed with what she all too aptly calls “an oral history of some of the women in Elvis’s life,” Ms. Nash began padding her story with three kinds of material: her own legitimate interviews (some with women still pining for Elvis 50 years after their fateful encounters), secondhand gossip (from self-serving memoirs and fan publications) and psychobabble. Cobbled together, these elements led her along Presley’s long, winding trail from babes to baby sitters as his life spiraled into sad decline.

“Baby, Let’s Play House” is abundantly illustrated with pictures of Presley with his girlfriends. And the pictures tell a powerful story. He worked his way through a lifetime’s worth of women who looked like his brown-haired, soulful-eyed mother, Gladys. At first they were girls next door. Then, though still from the same cookie cutter, they became ever more beautiful as Elvis’s star rose, to the point where he paired up with women almost as good-looking as he was.

Ms. Nash tells a long, repetitive and dirt-digging version of that dramatic tale. Her central premise, supplied by Peter O. Whitmer (“The Inner Elvis”) in his capacity as this book’s resident psychologist and buttressed by terms like “individuate,” “stuck grief,” “sexual dimorphism” and “estrogen-androgen balance,” is that Presley’s loss of a twin brother at birth set him on a lifelong search for companionship he could never truly find and that his extreme closeness to his mother left no room for other adult women.

Using details too tawdry for even the most voyeuristic fans, the author offers evidence of her subject’s arrested sexual development, physical insecurities and general predilection for the 14-year-old girls who struck him as unthreatening. Sometimes he really did throw pajama parties and teach girls how to put on eye makeup and style their hair.

Some details in “Baby, Let’s Play House” invoke the bottom-feeding biographical style of Albert Goldman. And Ms. Nash, in playing to the rubbernecking crowd, is not shy about using Mr. Goldman as a source. She also replays the memories of each girlfriend who believed herself to be Elvis’s true love (“I was the one who got away”), the creative stylings of too many ghostwriters and the fairy-tale tone of Priscilla Presley, Elvis’s wife. (“I thought I was living inside a dream. Except the dream had come true. I had come home with Elvis.”) Although Ms. Nash usually plays fair with attributions, she sometimes creates the misimpression that material borrowed from fan Web sites is a) current and b) her own.

But she has done her own dogged research too. And some of it is memorably succinct and tough. Consider this near haiku from Patti Parry, the lone female buddy in Elvis’s inner circle: “Nineteen-year-old truck driver becomes superstar and super stud, which he wasn’t.” Or this from Lamar Fike, one of his closest associates: “I’ll give you Elvis’s relationship with Priscilla in a nutshell. You create a statue. And then you get tired of looking at it.” Or from Sheila Ryan Caan, one of the rare girlfriends who felt free to tease Elvis about his sartorial style: “Does Cruella know you have her cape tonight?”

Regardless of how Ms. Nash accrued and assembled this material, she manages to collect all the madness, badness and sadness of the Elvis myth in one exhaustive and (let’s face it) embarrassingly tempting volume. Though she is sure to be excoriated for leaving the emperor unclothed, she also writes with admiration. And after presenting an endless-seeming parade of consorts (he had declined from young starlets to young bank tellers in his final months), Ms. Nash gets the last word on girl-chasing from Elvis at his weariest.

“Why the hell do you put up with her?” Billy Smith, Presley’s cousin and entourage member, tells Ms. Nash that he asked Elvis about Ginger Alden, the consort who was asleep in the next room when he died. Said the King, “I’m just getting too old and tired to train another one.”

 

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Tales of Rock – 6 Musicians Who Predicted Their Own Death in Song

Everybody dies. That’s no secret. Even you, you’re going to die some day. Accept it. Once you accept it, write a bizarrely specific song that details how exactly you’re going to die, live up to your prediction and voila! You’ll be an entry in a Cracked article, just like these guys.

 

6

Richie Rich feat. Tupac – “Niggas Done Changed”

Let’s just get it out of the way: Nobody knows who the hell Richie Rich is. According to the lyrics of this song, he’s got a hand full of game. For all we know, that is still true. Maybe even a sack full of game by now. We don’t care. The real star of this tune, featured on the Seasoned Veteranalbum, is Tupac Shakur. His verse on “Niggas Done Changed” is the stuff that conspiracy theories are made of.

This probably isn’t the right one.

Unfortunate Lyrics:

“I been shot and murdered, can tell you how it happened word for word, But best believe niggas gon’ get what they deserve.”

What Happened Next:

Pac was shot and murdered, just like he said. The shooting happened on the strip in Vegas after a Mike Tyson fight. Obviously, at a time like that not many people were around, so nobody saw the shooter and the case remains unsolved. Unsolved for most people anyway. Some others are convinced they know exactly what happened. Tupac faked his own death! The logic went as follows: Since Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli advocated faking one’s own death, and Tupac used Makaveli as a stage name, then he must still be alive. That’s shaky reasoning, even before you take into account that the real Machiavelli didn’t actually say much of anything about faking your own death.

If he was dead, could he do this?

But when “Niggas Done Changed” was released less than two months following Tupac’s death, the “Pac’s Still Alive” movement was off and running, and it hasn’t let up since. Group psychology experts contacted by Cracked attribute the movement’s seeming refusal to die (sorry) to the fact that Tupac Shakur has released at least seventy-three studio albums since his death and also to the fact that he’s totally alive, y’all.

 

5

Lynyrd Skynyrd – “That Smell”

Have you ever put a curse on somebody? Like if you came home and found that your roommate ate your leftover Chinese food and you got pissed and told them you hoped it gave them explosive diarrhea and then it actually did and you felt really bad because you didn’t realize your own powers? Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “That Smell” is kind of like that. Except substitute “diarrhea” with “horrible plane crash” (although with a title like “That Smell” it totally could have gone either way).

The song was written to express lead singer Ronnie Van Zant’s disappointment with the lifestyle lead and rhythm guitarist Gary Rossington was leading, as his drug and alcohol problems had started to negatively affect the band. After a verse poking fun at a recent alcohol-fueled car accident Rossington had, Van Zant starts pouring on the ominous.

Unfortunate Lyrics:

“Say you’ll be alright come tomorrow, but tomorrow might not be here for you.” “Angel of darkness upon you.” “The smell of death surrounds you.”

What Happened Next:

On October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of the now unfortunately titled Street Survivors, the plane Lynyrd Skynyrd was traveling in crashed in a forest near Gillsburg, Mississippi. The line “the smell of death surrounds you” took on a whole new ugly meaning after Rossington survived but three bandmates, including Van Zant, perished. As if the song and the album title weren’t enough, thanks to the plane crash, Street Survivors now had, quite possibly, the most inappropriate album cover ever.

Yes, that’s the band and, yes, they are on fire. In the wake of the plane crash, original copies of the album were recalled and replaced with a cover image of the band standing against the completely non-depressing black background. Of course, the fire cover was restored for the deluxe CD reissue of the album in 2008. Like almost every other crime, there is a statute of limitations on bad taste. Apparently, it’s 30 years.

 

4

Jeff Buckley – “Dream Brother”

Jeff Buckley’s “Dream Brother” is said to have been written about a friend who was about to leave his girlfriend and child. In the song, he warns of the sadness to be had by following in the footsteps of Buckley’s father, Tim Buckley. The elder Buckley was a promising young musician who had his career cut short by an accidental heroin overdose. He also walked out on Jeff and his mother shortly after Jeff was born. It’s that last part Buckley is singing about, but he probably should have considered penning a few lines to himself regarding the “musician gone too soon” part. Or, did he?

Unfortunate Lyrics:

“The dark angel he is shuffling in.” “Don’t be like the one who left behind his name.” “Asleep in the sand with the ocean washing over.”

What Happened Next:

We’ve never given relationship advice to a friend that involved any mention of a “dark angel shuffling in,” so we’re not sure how that first line would apply to a dude leaving his girlfriend, though we will concede that the second one fits. But the third? “Asleep in the sand with the ocean washing over,” well, that’s just pretty fucking creepy. Less than three years after the release of “Dream Brother” Buckley died. By drowning. This leads us to an obvious question: “Hey, Jeff Buckley, how about taking your own advice?” We’re guessing the reply would be something like, “Hey, leave me alone you assholes, I’m dead.”

3

Hank Williams – “I’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive”

Immediately, there’s nothing too shocking or particularly insightful about the title of this song. It’s obvious that everyone is going to die at some point. Most of those people, however, won’t crank out a comical tune about it right before they go. Released in 1952, “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive” was the last single Hank Williams released in his lifetime. The lyrics are your standard down-on-your-luck type of stuff. Troublesome, sure, but nothing life threatening going on. But still, there’s that chorus…

Unfortunate Lyrics:

“No matter how I struggle and strive. I’ll never get out of this world alive.”

What Happened Next:

After reportedly struggling and striving, Hank Williams barely made it out of the rest of the year alive. On the morning of January 1st, 1953, just months after the song was released, he was pronounced dead at the Oak Hill Hospital emergency room.

“Doctor, hurry, he’s struggling. And striving! Oh no…”

There is a myth that the song was actually #1 on the Billboard charts at the time of his death, but “I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive” actually didn’t reach the top spot until shortly afterhis death. Today, Hank Williams is hailed as an innovator in the field of record promotion for being the first to employ the “Die Young and Sell a Ton of Records” technique.

 

2

John Lennon – “Borrowed Time”

You may not know this, but most posthumously released songs are indeed recorded before the artist dies. Although “Borrowed Time” wasn’t released until four years after the death of John Lennon, it was actually the first song he recorded following a five year exile from the music business. The unnervingly upbeat tune wraps lyrics about the frailty of life around the type of instrumentation you would expect to hear during dinner on a Carnival cruise ship. It was inspired by a Final Destination-like escape from death Lennon pulled off while sailing to Bermuda through an intense storm. An experience like that would probably just inspire us to shit our pants and stop showering. Lennon, on the other hand, was inspired to start rocking again.

Unfortunate Lyrics:

“Living on borrowed time, without a thought for tomorrow”

What Happened Next:

John Lennon was sometimes criticized for not practicing what he preached. Like how he sang about imaging no possessions but lived in a million dollar apartment. You could argue that he totally lived up to the lyrics of “Borrowed Time,” but you’d be a fucking prick for doing so. We only mention that criticism because it was Mark David Chapman’s main beef with John Lennon.

Speaking of beef, holy shit, right? Mooo, right?

Chapman delicately handled this beef by shooting Lennon to death, about six months after the song was written. Hopefully, Lennon practiced what he preached this time and genuinely didn’thave a “thought for tomorrow,” because, unless that thought was “be dead,” he was guaranteed to be pretty disappointed.

 

1

Jimi Hendrix – “The Ballad of Jimi”

In 1965, before most people even knew who he was, Jimi Hendrix entered a New York recording studio and probably weirded out everybody in the room by cutting a new tune about how some dude named Jimi was going to be dead in five years. “The Ballad of Jimi” starts with a declaration from Hendrix that the song is dedicated to the memory of his best friend. That the friend’s name is a guitar player named Jimi is apparently to be chalked up to coincidence.

Hendrix further confuses matters with the line “that is my story” before ratcheting the creepiness up considerably.

Unfortunate Lyrics:

“Many things he would try, For he knew soon he’d die.” “Now Jimi’s gone, he’s not alone. His memory still lives on.” “Five years, this he said. He’s not gone, he’s just dead.”

What Happened Next:

“I’m gonna go over there and die, now.”

Next, Jimi Hendrix suffocated in the most horrible way imaginable that doesn’t involve cock. He choked on his own vomit. Conveniently, for the purpose of this article, he died almost exactly five years after recording “The Ballad of Jimi.” “Five years, this he said. He’s not gone, he’s just dead.”

Disturbing as all fuck, isn’t it? Probably the only reason he didn’t get more specific than that was that nothing rhymes with “choked on vomit.”

 

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