Alice Cooper actually is Mr. Nice Guy
Charitable rocker bringing on-stage chaos to Wabash
Alice Cooper has been a household name for generations of rock music fans over the last half-century.
Known for his grandiose onstage persona, sporting dark makeup and lavish outfits, the rock legend will bring his iconic act and personality to the Honeywell Center on Monday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m.
The Godfather of Shock Rock is known for renowned, witty hits such as “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” “I’m Eighteen,” “School’s Out,” and “Poison.”
Exultant fans can certainly expect to see Cooper’s extraordinary and shocking imagery at the Wabash performance, but, according to Cooper, the personality that crowds see at his shows starkly contrasts the person he is when the curtains close.
While Cooper is widely known for his chaotic onstage energy, off the stage he has learned to separate the rock n’ roll lifestyle and a life of sobriety and giving back.
While today Cooper, whose real name is Vincent Damon Furnier, can “turn Alice on and off at will,” he says he once struggled to separate these personas, according to a recent interview with the magazine Classic Rock.
“When I drank and took drugs I didn’t know where I began and Alice ended,” he said.
Cooper overcame his addiction to drugs and alcohol, and counsels fellow rockers who share similar addictions.
“I’ve made myself very available to friends of mine,” Cooper told Billboard. “They’re people who would call me late at night and say, ‘Between you and me, I’ve got a problem.’ ”
In recognition of his efforts to minister to the needs and addictions of his peers, Cooper received the 2008 Stevie Ray Vaughan Award at the fourth annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert.
Cooper’s charitable efforts have touched many lives.
In December, his annual fundraiser, “Christmas Pudding,” raised a record-breaking $660,000 for programming at Cooper’s Solid Rock Teen Centers, according to a report from the Arizona Republic.
The mission of Cooper’s teen centers is to “make an everlasting difference in the lives of teens by helping them meet the spiritual, economical, physical, and social needs of teens in the community by offering a safe, engaging environment during non-school hours.”
The Arizona Republic also reported that a Cooper mosaic made from 5,000 guitar picks sold for $120,000 at the benefit’s auction, the highest-selling item of the night.
“You can sell as many tickets as you want,” Coopert told the newspaper. “But the overhead, after paying insurance and getting security and all that, the show kind of almost breaks even. It’s the auction and the donations that really add up.”
The 2021 fundraiser marked its return after a pandemic-related postponement. In another charitable move, Cooper tried to make sure his crew was taken care of during COVID-19 shutdowns.
“When we saw this coming, we put money aside for our crew,” Cooper told Forbes in December.
“We could see that it was … something. So we put money aside as a backup for them. Because we knew that their unemployment would run out, you know? And then they’d have something to go to. I think all responsible bands did that. Hopefully.”
Continuing to Rock
Cooper released his 28th studio album, Detroit Stories, in May.
Reviewing the album for Rolling Stone, Kory Grow wrote, “That spirit of rock & roll abandon still exists in Cooper’s music half a century later, and his inherent showmanship is why people still fill theaters to see his guillotine act.”
It’s possible that fans may get a taste of music from Detroit Stories at the Wabash performance.
Cooper’s attitude and music have matured over the years, but audiences can still expect a spectacular and likely extravagant show from the Godfather of Shock Rock.