SickthingsUK: Golf Monster by Alice Cooper

Alice's second autobiography was released on May 1st 2007 in hardcover and as an audiobook in the USA. The full title is 'Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock 'n' Roller's 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict' and it is co-written by Kenneth and Keith Zimmerman. It has since been translated into several languages as well as reissued several timesin both in hardback and paperback with new covers.

The Publishers discription reads as follows:

The man who invented shock rock tells the amazing and, yeah, shocking story of how he slayed his thirsty demons–with a golf club. It started one day when Cooper was watching a Star Trek rerun between concerts, bored and drunk on a quart-of-whiskey-a-day habit; a friend dragged the rocker out of his room and suggested a round of golf. Cooper has been a self-confessed golf addict ever since.
Alice Cooper, Golf Monster is Cooper’s tell-all memoir; in it he talks candidly about his entire life and career, as well as his struggles with alcohol, how he fell in love with the game of golf, how he dried out at a sanitarium back in the late ’70s, and how he put the last nails in his addiction’s coffin by getting up daily at 7 a.m. to play 36 holes.
This is the story of Cooper’s life, and also a story about golf. He rose from hacker to scratch golfer to serious Pro Am competitor and on to his status today as one of the best celebrity golfers around–all while rising through the rock ’n’ roll ranks releasing platinum albums and selling out arenas with his legendary act.
Alice Cooper, Golf Monster is an unlikely and captivating tale full of wretched excess, life-saving redemption, ghoulish eye makeup, power chords, and five irons to the center of the green.

It'd been a long time since the first Alice Cooper autobiography, 'Me Alice' and a lot had happened since then. Unfortunately this book isn't going to tell you much about it. Don't get me wrong, it's an enjoyable read and for the casual fan it will hold stories they haven't heard before, but for the hardcore looking for insight into Alice, his music and his life, it really doesn't tell you very much.

To start with what you get is a book with two sides. The first is the general biographical content, starting with Alice's life as a child in Detroit and following through the ACG years to 1975, but for the most part in little detail. This music side of the book then seems to almost rush through most of the rest of his career with virtually no mention of albums post-'The Last Temptation' at all. You get stories about Alice and other celebrities (many of which have been retold in numerous interviews over the years) but very little about band members. Bob Ezrin and Shep Gordon get a lot of coverage but the original band get very little, while other arguably very important people and events aren't even mentioned. On top of that the version of events retold in this book are often at odds with what other people present tell, and often at odds with what Alice used to say! An example being the bands first introduction to Shep Gordon which has changed beyond all recognition from what the rest of the band have always stated, and Alice's own version in 'Me, Alice', since the addition of Hendrix to the story a few years ago.

Obviously with such a long and event packed career there was no way everything could be included. However the lack of detail, and some factual errors, are disappointing to someone who already knows most of what is in the book. Many of the stories just don't ring true, or at least sound like they have been heavily embellished from the basic facts.

The other half of the book is the much feared (by some) "golf addict" chapters where Alice talks about his addiction to the game, why he finds it so fascinating and how it changed his life. In some ways these are possibly the most insightful parts of the book, and they do include music related material, as well as the sort of thing only a golfer would be interested in. What is very clever is the way the golf sections and the music sections are differentiated by using a different typeface, so the reader can, if they wish, simply skip past these sections if they aren't interested. This is a great idea, although I would certainly recommend the reader to read the complete book the first time, as the golf sections do contain some good stories.

It's a fun read, but you have to approach it not as a definitive, authoritative biography of a legend, but more as an extended interview with Alice discussing whatever comes to mind in very lose chronological order.

There's also many photos (with a colour section in the middle) throughout the book some of which are rare and some maybe never even published before. However even here the logic of where some photos are placed in the narrative seems inconsistent as the photo chosen doesn't have any connection, even period-wise, to the text it's against.

Also worth a mention is that there is also an abridged AUDIO version of the book, read by Alice himself. I have only heard a short clip of this at the time of writing but it sounds like it could be very enjoyable.

I think the bottom line here is that 'Golf Monster' is an enjoyable read and a good starter for anyone who wants to know more about Alice, the man. However the hardcore fans may finish the book feeling a little disappointed at the lack of new information or insight into Alice's work. It's worth reading of course, but for a better book on the band check out Dennis' 'Snake, Guilotines, Electric Chairs' first.



You can try the links below to order a copy.