It’s a tough subject, saying who has inspired me most as a writer. I can’t event approach the subject without giving a nod of admiration to H.G. Wells, Ernest Hemingway, Ray Bradbury and Stephen King. These authors (and to a lesser degree, Tolkien, Saberhagien, Aspirin and others) inspired and nurtured my love of a good story and reading in general. Because of these authors, I have great adoration of the truth and deception in the written word. The sheer power of words to change my opinion or make me care about nonexistent characters still amazes me. When it comes down to who influenced me most; I really had to think about it.
With a clear head and a meditative frame of mind, I thought about whom was most inspiring to me – who motivates me to keep at this writing gig even though it seems futile. I was a little surprised to draw the conclusion that it was Alice Cooper.
For those under 20: Alice Cooper is an American rock singer, songwriter and performer whose career spans five decades. His stage shows are like Hammer Films’ horror movies, featuring guillotines, giant Cyclops, fake blood, swords, boa constrictors and just about everything that is cool but you don’t want to get to close to. Big-time theatrics – that was Alice’s vibe. I get the real impression despite his freak-show public presence, once he goes home, he is just a normal guy – plays golf, maybe?
More than that, Alice is a recovered alcoholic, surviving his own rock star personae, and he did so while maintaining a charming and intelligent repartee with talk show hosts for decades. Even more than that – he keeps creating new stuff. Some is experimental and cool and some is more difficult to appreciate, but he continues to be prolific and try new things in his music and performances. Just from steel balls alone, not only did the guy NOT die when everyone expected him to, but he outlived a lot of his critics and is still making music and performing today, dancing on said critic’s graves.
Without a doubt, I admire Alice Cooper as a creative influence. I couldn’t think of anyone who came close. If my life has theme music, it is Alice Cooper’s songs, not because my life is a horror show like in Alice’s songs, but because I keep at it no matter what, just like Alice.
Alice’s outrageousness spawns legends, and I choose to think it was all part of his master plan to out-survive us all – bigger than life and more foreboding than death. The bombs will drop, the zombies will rise and the economy will collapse. When the dust settles on our ruined planet, Alice Cooper will still be standing there, wearing eye makeup and holding his bayonet. We will all be gone, and what is left will be owned by Alice Cooper and cockroaches.
If you have not checked out Welcome to Nightmare, you must go rent that DVD. Watch it with the audio commentary from Alice and… some pandering guy (I don’t know who he is) first, and then watch it again without the commentary. There are much worse ways to spend 3 hours of your life. Clip is here.