Wretched excess, rock stardom, and golf—from the man who invented shock rock
In this tell-all memoir, Alice Cooper speaks candidly about his life and career, including all the years of rock ’n’ roll history he’s been a part of, the addictions he faced, and the surprising ways he found redemption.
From a childhood spent as a minister’s son worshiping baseball and rock ’n’ roll; to days on the road with his band, working to make a name for themselves; to stardom and the insanity that came with it, including a quart-of-whiskey-a-day habit; to drying out at a sanitarium back in the late ’70s, Alice Cooper paints a rich and rockin’ portrait of his life and his battle against addiction—fought by getting up daily at 7 a.m. to play 36 holes of golf.
Alice tells hilarious, touching, and sometimes astounding stories about Led Zeppelin and the Doors, George Burns and Groucho Marx, John Daly and Tiger Woods . . . everyone is here from Dalí to Elvis to Arnold Palmer.
Alice Cooper, Golf Monster is the incredible story of someone who rose through the rock ’n’ roll ranks releasing platinum albums and selling out arenas with his legendary act—all while becoming one of the best celebrity golfers around. – Amazon Excerpt
Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock’ n’ Roller’s Life and 12 Steps To Becoming A Golf Addict” is intriguing and laid out perfectly from beginning to end. I had read this book many years ago – before I knew much about Alice or his history. But, I owned the hardcover version and remembered enjoying it.
I have to be honest; I’m not sure why, but I didn’t remember some of the content. I may have skipped over some chapters or didn’t pay much attention to the golf tips or specific periods of his life. However, I remember my curiosity about his faith and what he had to say about it.
Those feelings and revelations came flooding back as I listened to this audiobook as Alice read through this narrative. Like then and now, Alice continues to impress me – he is the real deal.
NOTE: If you spend time traveling to and fro in a vehicle or have the ability to work while listening to books, do yourself a favor. Check out Amazon’s Audible.com.
Audiobooks are great ways to fill our time with meaning, but I’m not going to lie. They are either intriguing or boring. And it’s usually not the content’s fault.
No one picks out a book and says, “this does NOT seem like a good book; let’s take a listen.” You are initially interested and want to know about the book, story, and content. However, it’s the reader that makes or breaks the book.
In this case, it was Alice reading his book, and Alice is a born performer. He doesn’t just read the book. He performs it – a pleasant surprise.
If you know or have learned anything about some key players in the Alice Cooper world and story, you will know who Shep Gordon and Bob Ezrin are. Alice does not just quote these guys when he reads – he plays the part.
When he mimicked Shep’s voice, I would have thought it was Gordon reading the text.
All of this to say, if you get the chance to listen, it’s well worth it, and in my case, it made 4.5 hours worth of driving an enjoyable experience.
You should know what to expect if you haven’t read or listened to Golf Monster. Alice skillfully weaves his life, career, faith, and other interesting tidbits about the musical world and specific eras into a powerful narrative, giving a few helpful golf tips and general advice about the game.
So, with each self-help step of becoming a golf addict, Alice also tells his story – a roller coaster of a story. And, for the record, I’m not a golfer. However, after listening to him describe his love for the game, I might take it up.
There are no specifics from Alice’s life to share or specifically disclose. I would hate to spoil the experience for anyone. So instead, it would be best to undertake that for yourself as you read or listen to the book.
However, three distinct talking points were evident as I listened to the book. Those points are perseverance, identity, and demons. The rest of this post will focus on those.
From the beginning, the Alice Cooper group and Alice himself decided they would not give up. Being cross-country runners, maybe they were programmed for the long haul with the endurance and stamina to run the race.
As the Earwigs (the band’s original name), Alice admits that the group was awful. However, through determination and rehearsal, they made small strides that would continually propel them to the next phase.
From a talent show performance to playing during lunch hours at the school, from becoming the house band and finally playing actual paying gigs at local venues. They would have to dig deeper and push harder with each new step.
Perseverance and drive ultimately revealed who they were and the potential for a promising future.
We can find thousands of books and self-help guides focusing on perseverance alone. However, persistence in the name of Jesus Christ is more than merely holding on until the end.
It’s a commitment to finding that target and mark He’s given us – that goal He has entrusted us with accomplishing.
After finding what He has called us to do, we must set our sights on Him and that calling. Nothing else truly matters to the same degree as those do.
“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. – Matthew 6:25-34
We should read the words of Matthew 6 carefully. Then, know and believe our needs will be met as we persevere in His name (2 Corinthians 9:8). It’s an often bumpy road filled with hiccups, hurdles, trial, and error. None of us get it all right or perfectly carry out His Will – it’s a tough road, one not easily traveled.
The more we lean on Him and His understanding, the more clarity and determination we will be given. It’s as if He allows us to set the cruise control at certain times on our journey.
But it’s not a set-and-forget sort of thing; it’s one of those endeavors where God sets the speed but requires us to stay awake and keep our hands on the wheel.
Falling asleep at the spiritual wheel can be as deadly as the physical one. So we must pay attention as we persevere in His name.
After moving to L.A. and playing some shows and festivals, the Alice Cooper band was quickly branded a “shock-based” group – mainly because of the hints of experimentation, psychedelic influences, and a crazy stage show. However, there was no real identity.
Frank Zappa and Shep Gordon had done an excellent job giving the band a platform and venues to play, but there was no definition. Nothing that made them memorable enough to capture and maintain a base or lasting presence – enter Bob Ezrin.
With the help of Ezrin’s direction and fine-tuning, the music and style of Alice Cooper were “deconstructed” and rebuilt. Go back and listen to the difference between Pretties For You and Easy Action (the band’s first two LPs) versus Love It To Death (the first LP produced by Bob Ezrin).
Ezrin first helped define Alice’s signature voice. The whispers. The loud sneers. The growls. The snarls. Next, Ezrin had the band focus on their instruments. They were essentially asked to “unlearn everything” they knew and “relearn it better.”
After Ezrin’s fine-tuning process, Alice’s voice and the band’s newfound cohesiveness produced an innovative style, sound, and direction.
Everyone’s willingness to allow Ezrin to shape and define them led them to the next level and a definitive identity. An identity and persona that would indefinitely represent Alice Cooper.
“For through the law, I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” – Galatians 2:19-21
Once you’ve accepted Christ, your identity and life have forever changed. The things of this world no longer identify you. You still play a role and may be known for what you do, but it does NOT identify you.
We are defined instead by Him and His Word. We are his children (1 John 3:1-2), reconciled (2 Corinthians 5:18), righteous (Romans 6:18-22, Ephesians 4:24), a Light in this world (Matthew 5:14), redeemed (Ephesians 1:6-8), justified (Romans 5:1), a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and so much more.
Identity is a fascinating puzzle. So many people spend their entire lives figuring out who and what they are. However, once you know Him, that is all perfectly spelled out in His Word.
We are automatically identified and defined through Him. However, what He has planned for us to do is not entirely or automatically evident. For that, we must seek out His Will.
There is no secret about Alice’s bouts with alcohol. But, unfortunately, the same demon that has haunted so many musicians, stars, and ordinary everyday people, snagged him as well.
Alice admits that alcohol became medicine. It became that crutch that propped him up, helped him prepare for the show, helped him get up in the morning, and helped him to bed at night. Alcohol was carrying him.
This demon had convinced him that everything would be alright. As if the bottle would whisper to him, “As long as I’m nearby, you’ll get through this.” Like any demon, the one that whispered to and gripped Alice was a liar.
After battling rigorously and the threat of Sheryl ending their marriage, he was miraculously healed. He states in the book, “By September 28, 1983, I had beaten my demon.”
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the whole armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 6:10-12
Life is a constant battle. After battling one demon, another is waiting on deck. The enemy wants to keep us absentminded and distracted from God and His Word.
Would the world be in such a depressive or failing state if we were all functioning according to the Holy Spirit’s purposes?
The enemy knows our weaknesses, and he also knows God’s Will for our lives. Therefore, darkness does its best to keep us confused and preoccupied in the dark. The little things like money, routine, the news, work, and even ourselves keep us from fully knowing and experiencing His best for us.
And while there’s nothing demonic or inherently evil about many things in this world, we must not believe that the enemy can’t use them to keep us sidetracked.
What seems most appropriate is scheduling time for God – making Him a priority. However, we must not be surprised when we start to see events and reasons to keep us from taking that scheduled time for Him. It takes discipline and strength to keep that up.
Alice states in the book, “…to successfully defeat (your) demons; you have to keep hitting the ball, no matter how painful…until you drive the demons away screaming.”
Perseverance and identity go a long way when fighting and battling the demons in our lives. And as we win more and more victories against them, we begin to find our lives and His Will aligning together. He shifts our priorities as we “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
Wrapping up this week’s post, as we endure this life, we do not always understand why certain events or circumstances unfold the way they do, yet we push on knowing His plans are perfect (Psalm 18:30).
What makes no sense in this life perfectly aligns with the next and His Kingdom here on Earth (John 18). So as we push forward, we must learn to persevere, find our identities through Him, and defeat the demons that haunt us.
But we must also learn to place Him as our first and foremost priority as we journey. We find purpose and meaning by striving to replace our character with His character (Matthew 5:48) and seeking His Kingdom first (Matthew 6:33).
Those who earnestly seek Him and ask Him to enter their hearts will find Him dwelling within them forever (Jeremiah 29:13).
In conclusion, Alice is faithful to his calling. He is who God created him to be. Listening to him recount his story is compelling.
One of the remarkable aspects of an audiobook (especially one where the author narrates) is the demeanor, tone, and emotion found in the narrator’s voice.
It’s as if you could see Alice’s face as he told stories about Groucho Marx, Elvis Presley, his addictions, his transformation, and other events in his life. Not to mention some pretty cool golf advice (I’m serious about the golf stuff – my interest is now peaked).
As we continue on this journey with Alice, there should be no question at this point about who this man is. Alice loves the Lord and is earnestly asking for the Holy Spirit to guide his journey. What more can be asked of him?
That’s it for this week. Be well, and we will see you next Friday.
In the meantime, Keep Walkin’ in Faith and Rockin’ with Alice.
Have you accepted Christ as your Savior?
If you would like to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please pray the following prayer:
"God, I believe in you and your son Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave to save me. Today, I invite Jesus into my heart to stay. I make you Lord over my life. Make me new. Wash me, Lord, and cleanse me. In Jesus Name, Amen"
If you have just prayed that prayer, we want to celebrate your new victory with you. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can welcome you into the kingdom. We don't want you to have to walk alone and we have some resources we would like the opportunity to share with you.
NOTE: We’d also like to share the following resources used by “Fridays With Alice.” Without these books and sites, this would be a much more complicated endeavor. So be sure to check them out if interested.
Click the images to learn more about these resources: