Thanks to Maria for sending in a translation of the long Sweden Golf interview mentioned a couple of times below.
Sweden Golf - July 2005
Alice in Golfland
When Alice Cooper threw up blood in the morning he would rinse his mouth with whiskey. But the heavymetal-icon realized his lifestyle was leading him towards an early death and decided to go from drinks to golf. This summer he plays in Sweden.
Text: Carl Magnus Hellsten
Photos: Harry How/public press
Alice Cooper is the terrifying shockrocker who chops the heads of chickens in his shows and brings poisonus snakes on stage. In the beginning it was called shockrock and was judged by both parents and teachers claiming the music scared their children. There was a time when Alice Cooper rather hung out with Jack Daniel's than spending time with his family and when he woke up after rough partynights he would vomit blood. Still he reached for the whiskeybottle and rinsed his mouth with whiskey.
The lifestyle was on its way to become Alice Cooper's death. That was 23 years ago. Today 57-year-old Alice Cooper is on first tee at seven o'clock in the morning.
That's his schedule, six days a week. At least.
- My wife thinks I went from one bad habit to another.
I hope she's joking.......Alice Cooper is in California to play a pro-am before a competition on the LPGA-tour and we meet the rocklegend in the lounge at a luxury hotel in Palm Springs.
How would you describe yourself, who is......"The man behind the mask"?
- I'm two persons. Not on stage I'm always like this, calm, nice, pretty anonymus and an ordinary person. On stage I'm Alice Cooper and that role isn't close to how I really am as a person. I think it's about the same for Anthony Hopkins and his character Hannibal Lecter in the movie "Silence of The Lambs". How can that sympathic, English gentleman be such a terrible angry, aggressive and arrogant maniac who eats people? It's the same for Alice Cooper. I know Anthony and we have talked about it.
So why did you create Alice Cooper?
- I wanted to be the Captain Hook of rock 'n' roll. There were so many Peter Pan's out there and there was needed a Captain Hook and I was happy to take on that role.
You were born as Vincent Furnier but Alice Cooper is now your real name, what do I call you?
- Everyone says Coop. I used to call Gary Cooper Coop, so I like that.
Right before your two shows in Stockholm and Gothenburg are two Europetourcompetitions in Sweden. Would you like to join their pro-am?
- If it fits my schedule - sure. Tell those responsible for Scandinavian Masters and Scandinavian TPC, hosted by Annika, to send me invitations and we'll see if a solution can be worked out. It would be a lot of fun.
Have you booked any times to play in Sweden?
- No. Callaway always sets everything up and directly when I land I get information on where and when I'll play. I have played five, six courses in the Stockholm area and around 10 golf courses on other places in Swedes and have got good impressions from all golf courses.
Do you map out the golf courses?
- No. For me a golf course is a golf course. Too many golfers think too much about the esthetic around the golf course. I have played many golf courses which were not so beautiful but a very tough challenge. Then I have played beautiful, but simple golf courses. The only thing I care about is to get from tee to green on as few hits as possible and then to get the putts in.
Do you plan your tours after how good the local golf courses are?
- No, even though I play six days/week golf is still at the second place. It's the music I make a living of.
The pro at the local club in small Karlshamn gets a call in his shop an early Saturday. The person calling wants to book a time. The pro hangs up, and walks, a bit confused to the reception which handles the bookings and says "Someone called and said Alice Cooper would like to play here today. They wondered if we could come and pick him up at the hotel in town.
- Alice Cooper! The hardrocker!? Sure, we believe that.....
Answers the skeptical person working in the reception. After another hour the phone rings again. It's the staff at the hotel on Varvsgatan saying there are two gentlemen in the foyer waiting for the ordered limousine to take them to the golf course. It's Alice Cooper and his caddie.....
The golf club in Blekinge sends for a taxi and then gives Alice Cooper a free greenfee as compensation.
- How I ended up at Karlshamn Golf Club?
I had played a rockfestival nearby and went a golf round there after performing. Now Fanny Sunesson, Nick Faldo's ex-caddie, wants me to come to her homeclub so we can play together.
Do you meet fans out on the golf course?
- It happens and what I really like with golf in Sweden is that it's not a snobbish sport but something anyone can do. In countries such as England, French, and Germany golf is still so big deal and you almost have to belong to the right social circles in order for it to be accepted.
Are the fans shocked that Alice Cooper plays golf?
- Not after 23 years.....but they were in the beginning.
What maybe surprised them most was that I actually played well and won a couple of competitions. I mean, it's like if Marilyn Manson turned out to be a pretty good tennisplayer. How strange wouldn't that be? It's the same with Alice Cooper, but I have always liked that dynamic in my life - I can be the most shocking rocker on the planet and still go out and play golf with Jesper Parnevik and Annika S'renstam - without losing too big.
What do you think about our Swedish worldnumberone?
- I know Annika, we are both Callawayplayers. S'renstam is the national treasure of Sweden - and I think she is the world's best golfer - regardless of gender. Annika has been more consistent in winning than Tiger and her results for this year is amazing. She is the one who really attracts the audience to the competitions.
Are you going to visit Annika Academy which opens in Orlando next year?
- I didn't know she is going to start a school, but it will surely be successful because there are so many men who want her swing. It is not only girls who should try to take after her swing and I tell male golfers who want to be better to look at how the proladies play - they have better rhytm and balance.
And Jesper Parnevik?
- He is "great" and the one who brought style to the tour. More of the young players start to dress better and more modern but who started it? Parnevik. He came out there with tight trousers, in sharp colours and with the right belts. Jesper is the best dressed golfer, next are Aaron Baddeley and Ian Poulter.
Who dresses the worst?
- Duffy Waldorf, without doubt.
You have called Parnevik "the Swedish pimp"!
- What I meant is that he dresses like one, but he plays better than a "pimp".
Would you consider playing in pink trousers?
- Oh yes, that would be no problem. I like strong colours and actually own several pink pants but tell Jesper I want a pair of J Lindeberg, because their model is really cool.
When you visited the conservative Los Angeles Country Club the first time you wore cut-off jeans and a t-shirt.....How do you dress today?
- A bit more adapted golfclothes....from Izod. The colours are often black and white, this week I have a light pink shirt and a pair of dark trousers.
What is your handicap?
- Right now, 5. But I'm going down towards 3-4.
When was the last time you drank alcohol?
- 23 years ago - when I started playing golf. My wife's and my dad's different parishes prayed for my life at the same time when I was in a hospital and when I came out from it I was cured. And I have never had a relapse. When I see a drink it's like putting a loaded gun against my forehead, and if I drink - it goes off!
Golf was a way to get away from the booze?
- Exactly. As an artist you have a lot of spare time and for me I had to fill that void with something good. I have always been an athlete, played a lot of baseball when I grew up, and actually had a record in track in Phoenix.
Golf was perfect, a lot thanks to the baseball as the coordination was in my body. When I swung a golfclub it felt as natural as swinging a bat.
Had you survived without golf?
- Only if I found something else to fill my time with....but I'm really glad it was golf. I have played five, six days/week for 23 years and never felt I did not want to play. That's amazing.
Do you think golf had been able to save the lives of other rocklegends?
- No, at least not my old friends Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Keith Moon and Janis Joplin. I can't imagine anyone of them would play golf! They were all my partyfriends, I grew up with them and was sort of the little guy in the gang - they were my older brothers and sister.
Who all died young.
- Yes, but none of them really had to die. The only problem was they lived up to their images. When Jim Morrison got off the stage he still tried to be Jim Morrison - he was Jim Morrison 22 hours/day and that kills you rather fast.
- You never get a break. Look at Keith Moon - he lived 100 years during his 27 years short life. He was always Keith Moon, always high. I could sit at a table where there were a candybowl filled with different pills, when Jim Morrison came in he got a handful and rinsed them down with a bottle of booze.
It was never about if they would die, but when. I miss them all, but am not surprised they died. Therefore I'm glad I'm only the rocker Alice Cooper when I'm on the stage.
What does the rocker Alice think about you playing golf?
- He hates golf! Give him a golfclub on stage and he will use it as a weapon. He sees the golfclub as a tool to kill someone with.
What is the most shameful you have done at the course?
- Remember I'm not the rocker Alice when I play golf....I have never thrown the golfclub in frustration over a bad hit, I just say - "so what". Sometimes you need a bad score in order to appreciate the good scores. I have had 67 one day and 87 the next day.
What are you best at - "singing or swinging"?
- Singing is the easiest thing in the world for me. When I'm on the stage with my band I feel completly secure and comfortable. Because I play so much golf I have the same feeling when I come to the first tee - it does not scare me at all. I normally participate in the pro-am-competition for the Phoenix Open which is watched by 100 000 people. Then I play my best ..golf, last year I had six birdies and finished the TPC Scottsdale on a score of 71.
Phoenix Open is a kind of Party Open. Is there enough rock 'n' roll in golf?
- Good question....There are at least very many heavymetalbands who play golf and many of the guys who have their bodies covered with tattoos play. All in my band play, all in Iron Maiden too, just as Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and the guys in Judas Priest.
Which is your favourite golf course to play?
- If I had to select one golf course to play every day for the rest of my life it would be Muirfield Village in Columbus, Ohio.
You turned 57 in February and are old enough for the Champions Tour.... - I have already played with some of the "old men", amongst others Tom Watson, and do good for a while but eventually they will win with a few points. If I took two years off and worked intense with David Leadbetter I might have a small, small chance to be on the tour.
Have you come up with songs during a round?
- No, never.
In "The Man of The Year" you play golf with the President. Which one?
- That song is not about me but about a made-up character. A guy who has everything in life - the most beautiful wife, the best family, the finest clothes, the best job, and even gets to play golf with the Preisdent. Despite that he sits with a gun in his mouth, ready to pull the trigger and kill himself. Why? Obviously there is something missing in the guy's life, not materialistic, but rather spiritually.
Have you played with any President?
- Yes, Gerald Ford. And I have partipicated in the same competitions as George Bush the older. For his son, the current President, I have given him a Callawaydriver. I was visiting in the White House and there was recently a new driver released which I brought as a gift. I asked a friend who works for the CIA to go and put it on the table in the Oval Office. Later I saw a photo from when the President played golf - and used my golf club.
What do you think about George W Bush?
- I'm really not politically interested but I have no problems with him and he got my vote in the latest election. Our nation is at war and then we need a "bulldog" as President, not a pacifist. In peacetime maybe he would not fit but Bush is the John Wayne of the White House and right now, right guy at the right place.
How is it going for your charity competition?
- Good. It's called "Solid Rock Foundation" and during eight years we have raised more than $1 000 000 and I personally make sure that each penny goes to children in need. The fond has for example been able to build a recreationcenter for an Indian tribe in a innertownarea where they earlier had big problems with gangviolence, criminality and drugs. Now our center is a meetingplace for all, they come to hang out, surf on the net in the computerroom or maybe play some basketball.
You also own a restaurant in Phoneix?
- Yes, Cooperstown. It's a kind of a sportsbar where on the walls also hangs guitars from Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Fleetwood Mac and Motely Crue. They are all my friends who have been in town and visited. Otherwise there are most things from local sportstars and I like the concept sport and rock 'n' roll.
What do you recommend from the menu?
- Our BBQ has for several years been chosen to the very best in Arizona. As first course I think you take a crab dip and then our "Tony La Russa's St. Louis Ribs". For dessert it's a brownie with vanilla ice cream which is big enough for four people. It is normally served in a big bowl where everyone gets a spoon and eats from different directions.
And then "Poison Pale Ale" to drink......?
- That's a tequiladrink.....I don't drink alcohol anymore, but you go ahead and have one!