Alice Cooper, known prior to his fame days as Vincent Damon Furnier, credits his faith in Jesus Christ, along with his daily scripture readings, for freeing him from the vice-grip of alcoholism.
Cooper’s public religious professions convey an especially hopeful and deeply moving message to those who find themselves facing the same life circumstances or those of a parallel nature.
The iconic singer and songwriter is frequently referred to by music critics and pop culture aficionados as “The Godfather of Shock Rock.”
Known for his elaborate goth-tinged stage shows, Cooper’s Hollywood persona stands in stark contrast to his present day personal life. He is a devout family man who has been married to his bride Sheryl Goddard for four and a half decades. The couple has three beautiful daughters together.
The name “Alice Cooper” was originally used by a rock band, which came to fame in the 1960s. After the band broke up in 1975, the name had become so closely associated with Furnier as an individual, he began using the band’s moniker as his stage name as well as his legal name.
Having initially dubbed themselves “Nazz,” the band members discovered that another successful music group, headed by rock icon Todd Rundgren, were already using the same name. The group subsequently chose “Alice Cooper” as its new brand.
Following an audition in front of another rock music legend, Frank Zappa, the group was signed to Zappa’s new record label, Straight Records.
An interesting pop culture anecdote. The Alice Cooper band experienced an exponential surge in its trajectory at one pivotal point, due to an unusual spontaneous event that was actually severely misreported at the time by the press. The occurrence took on the apt label of “The Chicken Incident.”
In September of 1969, while the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival was raging on, a live chicken somehow managed to make its way onto the stage. The bird proceeded to nestle into a feather pillow that Cooper used during his performances.
With little familiarity or experience with farm animals, and making an assumption that chickens could fly, Cooper threw the bird up and over the heads of the crowd. Instead of flying off into the distance, the chicken fell beak first flat onto the front rows of attendees, who reportedly mishandled the poor bird and unfortunately precipitated its untimely demise.
The following morning an embellished version of the story appeared on the front pages of newspapers all over the world, where it was reported that the frontman of the band had bitten the head off of the chicken and had even drank its blood.
Zappa had become aware of the media coverage and called Cooper to ask him about the veracity of the story. When Zappa was told the details, he reportedly said, “Well, whatever you do, don’t tell anyone you didn’t do it.”
The news quickly spread and became part of the Cooper legend, which cemented the notion that he was the originator of the “shock rock” genre.
It was in the early 1980s, following a period of denial, that Cooper would come to realize that his alcohol addiction was endangering his life. Like so many other public figures who have wrestled with alcohol addiction, the rocker was able to hide his substance abuse from the public. However, as he recently described to the New York Post, it was on one crucial day that he came to the understanding his alcohol use had taken a severe toll on his body.
“I woke up one morning and I threw up blood and that’s how I kind of knew it was over. My wife grabbed my ear and said, ‘Hey, the party’s over,’” Cooper revealed.
He reminisced three years ago with the New York Daily News about this critical time in his life, saying, “Everything that could go wrong was shutting down inside of me, I was drinking with Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix and trying to keep up with Keith Moon and they all died at 27.”
After completing rehab, Cooper was amazed to discover that the intense craving for alcohol he had lived with before had vanished. It was a miraculous occurrence that had graced his life, and he gives full credit for his mended state to the Lord of the Universe.
“Even the doctor said, ‘This is an absolute miracle.’ I said, ‘Why?’ They said, ‘Well, you should be hiding bottles all over the house and you should be sneaking drugs.’ I said, ‘I have absolutely no desire for that at all,’” Cooper told the Post.
“Everyone said, ‘Oh you have such great willpower.’ I said, ‘No, God has great willpower. He took it from me.’ My dad was a pastor, my grandad was a pastor, Sheryl’s dad was a pastor. I had such strong prayer for me,” Cooper shared.
People are continually awestruck by the same book that Cooper reads each day. The Holy Scripture describes numerous unlikely figures that God chooses over time to fulfill his divine plans.
And so it seems fitting, within a supernatural context, that an individual who has been immersed in a secular shock rock world can be brought to a place where he can lift up others.
After God secured a victory for him over his addiction, Cooper seems to have been anointed as a kind of adjunct lay minister of the music industry. He now provides help and counsel to other rock musicians who struggle with substance abuse issues, often answering calls in the dark of night from those in need.
Much like the relatability and candor of his song lyrics, the rocker describes his religious faith in a way in which others can freely accept.
Christianity, according to Cooper, merely “has to do with a one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ.”