Me, Alice
Me, Alice

'Me, Alice' is the very hard to find Alice biography 'as told to Steven Gaines'. It has been out of print since at least 1977 and was never published outside the USA. That said it IS worth finding a copy as while there are lots of mistakes it does give some insight into the early years of Alice's life and the creation of the band.

There's lots of mistakes in 'Me, Alice'. Lots of it does have to do with the fact Alice's brain was drowning in Seagram's VO - but also the fact that Alice didn't really write the book, persay. The actual credit on the book is "The Autobiography of Alice Cooper as told to Steven Gaines." Gaines has written a pretty well know book on the Beatles and some other stuff. Anyway, there was no AC historian around back then so Gaines made do with the best research material he had. Actually a few of the passages are lifted right out of the Circus magazine paperback bio of AC.
(Brian Nelson, June 1995)

Did Alice really shoot Neal?

Alice said "Yeah, I shot him. And it WAS an accident. If I'd done it on purpose I'd have shot a bit higher." He definitely shot him. Neal confirmed it once.
(Renfield, October 1996)

The introduction could give one the impression that Alice's father may have been "distant" from his son. But the thing is, everything I've actually seen in interviews, seems to tell a very different story. Interviews with Alice always give me the impression that Alice really respected his Dad and that father and son got on very well. And interviews with Alice's parents also give the impression that they got along very well with Alice and were proud of him. It's possible that Alice's father was a bit disappointed that Alice didn't become a minister as planned, and that this point just comes across too strong in the introduction.
Had the introduction been longer, the fact that Alice's father still had a good relationship with his son may have come out as well, as the intro is very brief and only really deals with this one aspect (Alice not becoming a minister). Also, since it's Alice's book, Alice could have chosen not to include his father's introduction. The fact that Alice did include it, suggests that they did have a good relationship and that Alice may have liked the effect the introduction gives the book. It's perfect for the overall humorous tone of the book. And it forewarns the reader that Alice Cooper is no ordinary guy, but the rock n' roll rebel with the black mascara and the snake.
(Susie, October 1996)

The prose seems really to have been polished by Alice's co-writer.
Since AC himself has said he was drunk during most of the writing I'm pretty sure that Steven Gaines hung around Alice as Alice told him his "life story". Gaines got it organized, did a little polishing and put it down on paper.

And how much of it may have been subtly altered by Alice's condition - "names and places changed to protect the innocent?"
There are some mistakes in it and things might have been more altered by Alice's imagination than condition.

Surely, Alice's memory could not be that trustworthy at this stage of the game.
Actually, his memory can be incredibly lucid. Things like dates and actual data can be a bit off with him.
(Renfield, October 1996)

I was the editor of Circus Magazine and worked closely with Alice over the years before I asked him to write his autobiography. Nothing in our book was taken from Circus, unless I wrote it. In 1973 and 1974 I continued to write my Top of the Pop column for the New York Daily News while I virtually moved in with Alice and his then-girlfriend, Cindy Lang, and traveled around the world with him for over a year. I was his golf partner, best friend, and chauffeur. Most of the book was written apart from Alice in a rented house in Connecticut, then I rejoined him in Los Angles and spent a few months with him going over drafts. There was no fact checking because Alice and Shep and the other members of the band read it over and over again, and they declared it accurate. Despite this, I'm sure there are factual mistakes. There was a lot of booze consumed.
Yours truly,
Steven Gaines

I don't know how many were printed. Probably only one printing is correct.
I have about 30 copies left. It was never printed in paperback. Alice and I own the rights equally. I have the originally typewritten manuscript that was first presented to Alice and Shep Gordon. The editor at Putnams was an old timer, Bill Targ, who appreciated what Alice had accomplished professionally, although Targ never personally listened to any rock music. You must try to imagine how huge a star Alice was at the time. His fame certainly had transcended his craft. This was the first time, to my knowledge, that a rock star had written a biographical book. The Beatles approved one on them in England in 1967, but they didn't contribute the way Alice did, and it was written in the third person. The original manuscript started with a scene in Brazil where tens of thousands of fans attending a concert actually got crushed up against the stage and Alice watched in horror. They made me replace it with the silly passage of Alice playing detective. Last I heard "Fast" Frankie Scinlaro was running a club called Heartbreak on lower Manhattan.

If I had the time I would try to get Me, Alice reprinted.


Steven Gaines (July 1999)