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Fame & Fortune: Alice Cooper

Outlandish on stage, humdrum on money

Pop quiz: Which of the following correctly describes Alice Cooper?

  • Painted-face shock rocker
  • Born-again Christian
  • Long-time real-estate investor
  • Daily golfer
  • Faithful husband of 25 years and father of three
  • President of a Christian nonprofit charity for inner-city kids
  • The correct answer is, "All of the above."

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    While Alice Cooper may seem a mass of contradictions, he wasn't always that way. Early in his career, while he was scoring hits with songs such as "School's Out," and "Billion Dollar Babies," Cooper was as menacing as his persona. At the time, he was drinking a bottle of whiskey a day and living a life every bit as scary as the horror scenarios he depicted on stage.

    But the late '70s saw him bottom out, and Cooper was institutionalized (his drying-out time is depicted in his From The Inside album). Since then, Cooper has been a new man, much like his father before him, a minister who also changed his life after conquering alcohol addiction.

    While Cooper himself changed, his music and show have stayed the same -- at least on the surface. Cooper still offers fans the same type of wild horror antics he has for the past 30 years, although he has no misconceptions about how scary they really are. Cooper sees himself as a modern-day Vincent Price -- horror fun, but not real fear, and certainly tame by today's standards.

    One change that has taken place, however, is the intent with which he writes his lyrics. Mere horror plays now have become morality plays in Cooper's eyes, although on the surface the difference is hard to discern. His last two CDs, Brutal Planet and Dragontown, are Cooper's version of Dante's Inferno, and Cooper hopes people will look at the horrific situations that befall his characters and ask if they want to risk their souls to that type of damnation for their acts here on earth.

    But if you don't find yourself racking your brain over such things -- well, it's still fun.

    Bankrate spoke to Cooper about much more earthly concerns -- his finances, and his deceptively casual relationship to them.

    Bankrate: Let's talk investments. What has your traditional investment strategy been?

    Alice Cooper: I have no idea. I don't do any business. I have been with the same manager for 33 years, and the deal is, "I make the money, you manage it. Don't tell me where it is, just tell me at the end of the month how much is there." We've been together 33 years, and we have no contract with each other. It's the best relationship in rock 'n' roll -- it's legendary. We still have money from the '70s. He's brilliant. He doesn't get into high risk things. I put myself on an allowance, and I'm probably one of the only guys from the seventies that still has cash.

     
     
    Next: "What happens is, guys get greedy. ..."
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