Vincent Damon Furnier turned 67 today. Like most men his age, he's semi-retired and enjoys spending time with people, occasionally singing, and teaching Sunday School part-time as a testament of his Christian faith. It might be any elderly American male we're talking about here, except it's not. You know him as Alice Cooper.
The "Poison" and "House of Fire" shock rocker seems like an unlikely candidate for teaching the Bible, as for years he was rumored to be a singer of songs with Satanic undertones. He was well-known for his gruesome stage makeup, and stage shows that featured items like electric chairs, boa constrictors, fake blood, and all things macabre.
These days, Alice professes to be a born-again Christian and a reformed alcoholic, regularly speaking about his progression through both journeys. He regularly attends the interdenominational church called Camelback Bible Church in Paradise Valley.
Cooper, who still goes by his stage name, always had a knack for being likable and non-scary during interviews. Cooper told Nati Celebrity Services vice president Chris Riddick at the celebrity flag football game at the Super Bowl in Arizona on Saturday that he enjoys teaching Bible study when given the opportunity. He was candid and joked about how odd that might seem.
"I teach Bible Study, I'm sort of a substitute if nobody shows up. I'm the bottom of the barrel guy."Cooper still loves dark humor, as he recently jokingly offered to kill Motley Crüe during their final tour stage show. The Crüe has signed a contract saying they'll never go on tour again. Cooper, who was known to stage his own death scene during his volatile concerts, laughed as he made the offer to be sure they wouldn't tour again.
Cooper actually stopped his hard-partying days in the 1980s and turned more and more towards reading the Christian Bible and finding solace in the Christian faith. He has strong words about the influence of the devil.
"The world doesn't belong to us, it belongs to Satan. We're living with that. We're bombarded with that every day. Almost everything I wrote was good and evil. 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."Cooper and his band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. While he's proud of things he has accomplished, he is not shy about discussing his wayward years and how they left him in a dark and lonely place.
"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. 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. I stopped drinking and I started going back to church. 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."On your 67th birthday, Mr. Cooper, we wish you many more happy years and congratulate you on your continued sobriety.