Tales of Rock: Alice Cooper – Discovery

Most drunken purchases are best forgotten.

But not this one.

The rock star Alice Cooper was so caught up in “a swirl of drugs and drinking” that he apparently forgot he owned a silkscreen of an electric chair by his friend Andy Warhol that could now be worth several million dollars.

The forgotten work has spent the best part of the last forty years in a storage locker, and was only rediscovered four years ago when Alice’s mother found it ‘rolled up in a tube’ in the locker.

The work has never been stretched on a frame.

According to a report in the Guardian by the British writer Edward Helmore, Cooper’s then-girlfriend organized the purchase of the work, a red Little Electric Chair silkscreen, from Warhol’s Death and Disaster series, for $2,500 in the early ’70s.

However, amidst the chaos of his rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, Cooper forgot all about the purchase, and was shortly afterwards admitted to a psychiatric hospital, according to his manager, the legendary Shep Gordon.

Gordon told the Guardian that Cooper and Warhol became friends in New York in the ’70s.

“It was back in ‘72 and Alice had moved to New York with his girlfriend Cindy Lang,” Gordon told the Guardian. “Andy was kind of a groupie, and so was Alice. They loved famous people. So they started a relationship, and they loved to hang out.”

At the time, Cooper had a stage routine that involved him feigning electrocution in an electric chair.

After learning that Warhol had produced images of the electric chair – the work is based on a press photograph from 13 January 1953 of the death chamber at Sing Sing prison, where Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for passing atomic secrets to the Russians—Lang, who passed away in January at the age of 67—had the idea to approach the artist’s studio and purchase one of the 1964 canvases.

“As I recall,” Gordon told the Guardian, “Cindy came to me for $2,500 for the painting. At the time Alice is making two albums a year and touring the rest of the time. It was a rock’n’roll time, none of us thought about anything. He ends up going into an insane asylum for his drinking and then leaves New York for LA.

“Alice says he remembers having a conversation with Warhol about the picture. He thinks the conversation was real, but he couldn’t put his hand on a Bible and say that it was.”

After a chance meeting with a Los Angeles art dealer, Ruth Bloom, Gordon was reminded of the work, which measures 22 x 28in, and Alice’s mother found it rolled up in a tube in storage.

Upon learning that the top price paid for a Little Electric Chair was $11.6m, at Christie’s in November 2015 for a green version dated 1964, Cooper said he didn’t want anything of such value in his house—and put it back into storage.

Richard Polsky, a Warhol expert believes the canvas dates to 1964 or 1965.

“I’m 100%,” Polsky told the Guardian. “It looks right, and the story just makes too much sense. It’s hard to appreciate how little Warhol’s art was worth at the time. Twenty-five hundred was the going rate at the time. Why would Andy give him a fake?

“He had plenty of electric chairs. They were not an easy sell. They weren’t decorative in the conventional sense. It’s a brutal image.”

Gordon added: “At the time no one thought it had any real value. Andy Warhol was not ‘Andy Warhol’ back then. And it was all a swirl of drugs and drinking. But you should have seen Alice’s face when Richard Polsky’s estimate came in. His jaw dropped and he looked at me.

“‘Are you serious? I own that!’”

 

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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 – Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier; February 4, 1948)[1] is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over five decades. With his distinctive raspy voice and a stage show that features guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, deadly snakes, baby dolls, and dueling swords, Cooper is considered by music journalists and peers alike to be “The Godfather of Shock Rock“. He has drawn equally from horror films, vaudeville, and garage rock to pioneer a macabre and theatrical brand of rock designed to shock people.[2]

Originating in Phoenix, Arizona, in the late 1960s after he moved from Detroit, Michigan, “Alice Cooper” was originally a band consisting of Furnier on vocals and harmonica, lead guitarist Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce on rhythm guitar, Dennis Dunaway on bass guitar, and drummer Neal Smith. The original Alice Cooper band released its first album in 1969 but broke into the international music mainstream with the 1971 hit “I’m Eighteen” from their third studio album Love It to Death, which was followed by the even bigger single “School’s Out” in 1972. The band reached their commercial peak with the 1973 album Billion Dollar Babies.

Furnier adopted the band’s name as his own name in the 1970s and began a solo career with the 1975 concept album Welcome to My Nightmare. In 2011, he released Welcome 2 My Nightmare, his 19th album as a solo artist and 26th album in total. In 2011, the original Alice Cooper band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[3] Expanding from his Detroit rock roots, Cooper has experimented with a number of musical styles, including art rock, hard rock, heavy metal, new wave, glam metal,[4][5] pop rock, experimental rock, and industrial rock.

Cooper is known for his social and witty persona offstage, with The Rolling Stone Album Guide calling him the world’s most “beloved heavy metal entertainer”.[6] He is credited with helping to shape the sound and look of heavy metal, and has been described as the artist who “first introduced horror imagery to rock’n’roll, and whose stagecraft and showmanship have permanently transformed the genre”.[7] Away from music, Cooper is a film actor, a golfing celebrity, a restaurateur, and, since 2004, a popular radio DJ with his classic rock show Nights with Alice Cooper.

Random Facts

Vincent Furnier and his band the Nazz adopted the name Alice Cooper after attending a seance in which a preson identifying herself as Alice Cooper talked to the members via a Ouija board.

In 1986, Megadeth opened for Cooper on his US Constrictor tour. After noticing the abuse of alcohol and other drugs in the band, Cooper personally approached the band members to try to help them control their abuse, and he has stayed close to front man Dave Mustaine, who considers Cooper to be his “godfather”.Since overcoming his own addiction to alcohol in the mid-1980s, Cooper has continued to help and counsel other rock musicians with addiction problems. “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.'” In recognition of the work he has done in helping other addicts in the recovery process, Cooper received in 2008 the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award at the fourth annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert in Los Angeles.

Alice Cooper filmed and Exedrin television commercial which was never shown.

Alice was once elected Homecoming Queen for the University of Houston.

I once read a book back in the seventies about his life, entitled, Me Alice. If you can find a copy of it check it out. It is hilarious and heartwarming, about how a bunch of no talent idiots rose to the top of rock stardom.

In the book, Alice said he used to masturbate so much into his pillow that it started to crunch.

He also said as a teenager he used to jerk off into his sister’s jelly donuts and she would unknowingly eat them.

I also read that for a few years in the seventies he went on a “Total Budweiser Diet” drinking nothing but bud bottles.

I don’t know if this is true or not but there used to be a Budweiser commercial on TV that showed their logo imprinted at the bottom af a luxury swimming pool. Apparently that pool belonged to Alice Cooper.

 

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Tales of Rock – The Starship Flew Insane Rock Stars Around The World

“The interior was so relentlessly tacky that Mick Jagger literally gasped when he first saw it, and Mick Jagger generally gasps only when he sees himself in a mirror.”

When you’re one of the biggest, wildest bands in music, you need transport to match. It doesn’t matter how many meat catapults or flaming codpieces you own; your fans will turn against you if they see you roll up to a gig driving a bombed-out Astro van. Or at least that’s the thought process that led to the birth of the Starship: a drug-fueled flying sex den that flew the biggest names in rock music around the world. Among the clients who paid a ball-smashing figure of $2,500 per hour for the plane were Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, The Rolling Stones, and, um, The Bee Gees.

Having lived a previous (and tasteful) life as a commercial passenger plane, the Starship was outfitted like Ron Burgundy’s treehouse. In among the shag pile carpeting and acres of leopard print, its precious cargo could enjoy a drink at the 30-foot-long bar, discuss matters of the day in the drawing room (complete with fake fireplace), watch movies using the built-in cinema system, and play the massive organ. The interior was so relentlessly tacky that Mick Jagger literally gasped when he first saw it, and Mick Jagger generally gasps only when he sees himself in a mirror.

And, just in case you were wondering whether the infamously debauched guests of the Starship felt the need to rein in their behavior while soaring through the lawless sky, the answer is no, of course they didn’t. Only a few details have emerged regarding the depravity that went on aboard, presumably because history isn’t yet prepared to hear the full details. For starters, the Allman Brothers climbed aboard to find “Welcome Allman Brothers” written on Starship’s bar in cocaine. One unnamed record executive wandered around the plane, waving a handgun for no apparent reason. There was a system in place to smuggle drugs aboard the plane wrapped in dirty clothes, in order to fool police sniffer dogs. And Robert Plant considers getting a blowjob during a powerful bout of turbulence as one of his favorite Starship memories. Without question, that airplane is haunted by the ghosts of thousands of unborn children.

 

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