Alice Cooper feels justified in celebrating the dead members of his Hollywood Vampires drinking club – because he once came within a month of joining them.
The shock-rock icon has recalled how his doctor warned he only had weeks to live if he didn’t stop drinking, after he’d started throwing up blood in 1982.
Until that point he’d been the leader of the Vampires, who met in the Rainbow Bar And Grill in Hollywood and included Keith Moon, John Lennon, Harry Nilsson and others. Most of them had passed away by the time he went to the doctor.
Cooper tells Rolling Stone: “He told me, ‘If you want to join your buddies, I’ll give you another month. Just keep going how you’re going and you’ll be with them.’
“I went, ‘Uh.’ He said, ‘You have a choice of stopping or joining them.’ At that point I said, ‘I’m a little tired of this.’ I didn’t want to die.”
He adds: “I guarantee you – Steven Tyler, Ozzy, Iggy, all the guys that are still here went through that decision. That’s why we’re all still here.”
He recalls those years as “the beginning of the end of my drinking career” but argues that it’s worth marking the Hollywood Vampires era in his covers album, which features Joe Perry, Johnny Depp and others playing tracks that originally featured club members.
Cooper say: “When you’re an alcoholic, at the back of your mind you know it’s a death wish. No matter how you disguise it, every time you have another drink you’re closer to the grave.
“Being able to survive it, I felt in some way I should document it. If any guy is allowed to make an album about his dead drunk friends, it would be me.
“33 years ago I came as close to joining them as possible without doing it. I’m a survivor.”