Alice Cooper, the shock-rock megastar who makes Marilyn Manson look like a choir boy, stopped his hard-partying ways and returned to his Bible Christian roots in the late 1980s and today, still hugely popular and touring, says he isn’t shy about discussing his faith, says his early songs always warned against choosing evil, and contends that the world we live in “doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to Satan.”
“The world doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to Satan,” said Alice Cooper. “We’re living with that. We’re bombarded with that every day.”
“[A]lmost everything I wrote was good and evil,” he said. “Don’t pick evil. Even when I wasn’t Christian, I was saying that. God and the Devil. Don’t pick the Devil. It’s a bad idea.”
Alice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier) shot to mega-stardom in the 1970s and early 1980s with hits such as “I’m 18,” ‘Schools’ Out” and the 1973 album, Billion Dollar Babies. He also was notorious for his demonic makeup and costumes and macabre theatrics on stage, which included simulated suicide and the decapitation of baby-dolls, among other dark antics.
Alice Cooper was nominated for two Grammy Awards and he and his band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. He has played roles in several movies, including Wayne’s World with Mike Myers and Dana Carvey and, perhaps most ironically given his shock-rock music career, Cooper is an avid and skilled golfer.
Cooper scored a two-over par 74 on The Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., a world-class course; he played in the All Star Cup in Newport, South Wales; he has appeared in commercials for Callaway Golf equipment; and he is the author of Alice Cooper, Golf Monster.
In an interview posted on YouTube about his Christian roots, his Prodigal-son waywardness in the 1970s and early 1980s, and his reversion to Bible-based Christianity and his life today, Cooper explained that despite all the wealth and fame he attained early on, there was a huge emptiness in his life.
“I grew up in a Christian house,” said Cooper. “My dad was a pastor, he was an evangelist for 25 years, and I used to go up and do missionary work with him with the Apaches in Arizona. My grandfather was a pastor for 75 years. I grew up in a Christian home. And my wife’s father is a Baptist pastor. So, I was like, we were PK’s – preacher’s kids – so we married each other.”
“So I always refer to myself as the real Prodigal Son, because I went out and the Lord let me do everything,” said Cooper. “Maybe didn’t let me but allowed it, and then just started reeling me back in. You know, you’ve seen enough. Let’s bring you back to where you belong.”
“When you get out there and realize you’ve had every car, every house, and all that, you realize that that’s not the answer,” he said. “There’s a big nothing out there at the end of that. So, materialism doesn’t mean anything. A lot of people say that there’s a big God-sized hole in your heart. And when that’s filled, you’re really satisfied, and that’s where I am right now.”
Cooper then explained that his return to Christianity occurred when he tried and eventually quit drinking alcohol in the mid-1980s. (He also had a dangerous addiction to cocaine, which he discussed in the 2014 movie, Super Duper Alice Cooper.)
“I stopped drinking and I started going back to church,” he said. “I was throwing up blood every morning; I was really a bad alcoholic. I wasn’t a cruel or mean alcoholic but I was certainly self-destructive.”
He continued, “And when I stopped drinking, I started going back to church with my wife, and there was this pastor in Phoenix who was just Hell-fire. I mean, there were 6,000 people there and he was talking to me every Sunday. Of course, he wasn’t, but he was – just nailing me. Every weekend I’d get out exhausted. I’d come out of there and be, ‘I don’t want to go back.’ It was like torture and I always came back.”
“I finally realized, I had to go one side or the other,” said Cooper. “I had to make a decision for one side or the other, because I was so convicted. The Lord really convicted me, saying, look, it’s time to make a decision here. I said okay, and I joined a church called Camelback Bible over there, and that’s where I go now. It’s a really good teaching church, good strong Bible-teaching church.”
As for how his life has changed for the better, Cooper said, “Well, before you are always self—you’re always self-centered. Everything is for you. Your self is God. And we make lousy gods. Humans make lousy gods, I think. We need to let God be God and us be what we are. I think that’s what changes: the focus on who you’re serving. You’re not serving you. You’re serving Christ.”
“God’s chipping away at your life all the time to try to make you more like Him,” said Cooper. “That’s what a Christian is, a person that’s being molded and shaped all their life …. I think the Lord expects you to do your best in His name. I had to struggle a long time about rock and roll. I realized it’s not really the music. It’s what’s being said with the music. So I think you have to be careful of what you’re writing, what you’re representing.”
For those people who may have been big Alice Cooper fans back in 1970s and 1980s but who are still following the sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll lifestyle and not following Christ, Cooper said, “Well, they’re going to eventually know Christ, and I hope it’s not too late. If you’re at the wrong end at the wrong time, I think that’s going to be tragic.”
As for the temptations of this world, Cooper said, “Sure, what is the world made up of? It’s made up of that. The world doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to Satan. We’re living in that world. We’re bombarded with that every day.”
“So how do we react to that?” he said. “If you don’t have Christ in your life, then you’re a victim to it. So I think what we have to be very careful about is how we react to the world. If we have Christ in our life now, we have to react humbly. React in a teaching way and at the same time be humble about it.”
When it comes to politics, Cooper frequently says that he doesn’t like to get into the subject because it poisons rock music. In a 2010 interview with Rolling Stone, Cooper said he was “extremely non-political” and that he would “go out of my way to be non-political.”
He has also criticized other rock musicians for wearing their politics on their sleeves. During the 2004 presidential race, Cooper quietly supported George W. Bush but criticized Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews, James Taylor, and Bruce Springsteen for enthusiastically and publicly backing Democrat John Kerry.
“To me, that's treason. I call it treason against rock-and-roll, because rock is the antithesis of politics. Rock should never be in bed with politics," Cooper told the Canadian Press.
"If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are,” he said. “Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night and very rarely do we sit around reading the Washington Journal."
Cooper continued, “Besides, when I read the list of people who are supporting Kerry, if I wasn't already a Bush supporter, I would have immediately switched. Linda Ronstadt? Don Henley? Geez, that's a good reason right there to vote for Bush."
In an interview with the evangelical Christian program The Harvest Show, Alice Cooper said that if there is Bible story that represents his life, it is Jonah and the whale. He also disclosed that despite the dark and demonic aspects of some of his early music, there were still Christian messages being conveyed about good vs. evil and that the songs did warn against Satan.
“[A] almost every thing I wrote was good and evil,” said Cooper during the interview. “Don’t pick evil. Even when I wasn’t Christian, I was saying that. God and the Devil. Don’t pick the Devil. It’s a bad idea. But all they saw was the image [of Alice Cooper].”
“And I gave Alice his perimeter, his areas where he wouldn’t go past,” said the musician, “and I still find songs from the first albums that totally all have Christian bywords going all the way through it. It comes out of you what’s in you. So songs like Second Coming, and that, were all warning about Satan.”
Cooper also said that if his life means anything remotely similar to what is told in the Bible, it is that “Jonah was swallowed by a whale.”
“I don’t believe this [notion] that it’s all parables and they mean just this – no,” Cooper said in reference to the Bible. “I say, if it says it, it meant it. People laugh at me and say you can’t really believe that. Look, if I can believe that God created the world and everything in it, why wouldn’t I believe a simple thing like that? That’s not a hard thing.”
“The very fact that He cared enough about me to save my life about 20 times, and help me survive a million different things, to put me where I am now, and the challenge I have now to be a Christian in the rock business,” said Cooper. “He kind of put me in the camp of the Philistines, which is okay.”
He continued, “What people don’t realize is that when you become a Christian it doesn’t make things easier, it makes them harder. It makes your life harder. It makes your soul at ease with God because you know where you are with Him. It doesn’t make your social life or your normal life in America any easier. In fact, it puts you under the microscope.”
“Sometimes I think that TV evangelism is one of Satan’s greatest weapons,” said Cooper. “They put these guys on a pedestal and all of a sudden they get caught with a prostitute, and every Christian I know then is under the gun. So you don’t think that’s kind of set up?”
“I’m telling you, the Devil is very smart,” said Cooper. “He’s not going to come out with the horns and the tail. He’s going to come in as the slickest car salesman you ever saw – and I’ve seen some pretty slick pastors on TV. Now that’s not to say they’re all like that. … But every time I hear something that goes a little left of center, I go, ‘What? What was that?’ You know, too much healing on TV, I don’t know about that. That’s showbiz I think.”
In mid-December 2014, Alice Cooper’s song “School’s Out” was inducted into the 2015 Grammy Hall of Fame, along with music from other artists such as Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Otis Redding, Neil Young and Harry Belafonte.
“An Evening With Alice Cooper: Raise the Dead Tour,” in the United States, France, and Switzerland launches in February 2015.