Rock’s original horror man remembers playing golf here with John Denver – and other shocking bits.
It wasn’t quite as vexing as his “Wayne’s World” history lesson on Milwaukee — originally pronounced “Mill-e-wah-QUE” in Algonquin, we learned — but Alice Cooper’s standout memory from four decades of performing in the Twin Cities wasn’t very rock ’n’ roll.
“You guys have one of the best courses in the country there, with Interlachen,” the Detroit-bred pioneer of shock rock cheerily reported.
That’s right: golf — not groupies or guillotine mishaps or any other backstage debauchery — is what sticks out most in the mind of the makeup-smeared, chicken-sacrificing rock legend. The gruesome singer born Vincent Furnier, 65, is well-known to be a scratch golfer, as well as a faithful Christian, recovery counselor and all-around nice guy. He earned back some of his solid musical reputation, too, with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s induction of his original namesake band in 2011.
Returning to Minneapolis for a two-night stand at the State Theatre on Sunday and Monday, Cooper talked by phone two weeks ago before one of his final gigs on a summer tour with Marilyn Manson.
Q: You’re well known to be a normal guy offstage. What about Marilyn Manson?
A: [Laughs] Well, he’s good at letting you see what you want to see. When I was young, I didn’t want anyone to see the real me, either, and that’s part of why I became such an alcoholic — I was partly trying to disguise myself.
Q: So is Mr. Manson secretly an ace golfer then, too?
A: He seriously keeps telling me that he’s thinking about getting into it. He told me he and Johnny Depp were talking about taking it up together, getting up at 7 a.m. and hitting the course. And I said to him, “Listen, I have a pretty great imagination, and never in my wildest dreams could I see that ever happening.”
Q: How much golf do you actually get to play on tour?
A: We get out and play nearly every day. A lot of my band plays, too, and I’m usually out there teaching them things. We play golf more than we rehearse. Playing rock ’n’ roll is the easy part.
Q: How do the Twin Cities on the whole rate by your golf standards?
A: Interlachen is Bobby Jones’ place, so it has its own reputation, and rightfully so. I’ve played Hazeltine there, too. In fact, I played Hazeltine with John Denver once, probably in the early ’80s. There was a thing in the press about us beforehand, “He said this, blah, blah, blah.” But when we got out there, we got along great. That’s the thing about golf. It can be a common denominator among people who otherwise wouldn’t have a lot in common.
I was at a Friars Club thing once, and somebody said, “Hey, Bob wants to talk to you.” And I was like, “Bob?!” I went into this other room, and there’s Bob Hope with President Jimmy Carter and Frank Sinatra. And Bob starts asking me about his golf game. He kept pulling his ball to the right. I told him he needed to loosen up his right hand, and it became this thing where this amazingly different group of guys had this one great thing in common.