Shock-rock godfather Alice Cooper’s personal relationship with country singer Glen Campbell, who died August 8th at 81, was an odd-couple friendship to say the least. And Cooper himself admits as much.
“Glen was one of the most unique guys. You think of Glen, country; Alice Cooper, rock & roll; we couldn’t have been closer,” Cooper told Phoenix, Arizona, TV station Fox 10 in a new interview. (Watch the full interview below.)
“He could go hang out with the Rat Pack, or he could hang out with Donnie and Marie [Osmond], or he could hang out with the Beatles, or anybody. He was in that middle. He was just that all-purpose, good-looking kid that could do anything. He was the golden boy,” Cooper says. “And yet him and I were like this when it came to our sense of humor, when it came to golf, when it came to music.”
While best known as a country music star, the Arkansas native was an accomplished studio musician who even moonlighted as a member of the Beach Boys in the mid-Sixties. “He was one of the premier guitar players in rock and country. A lot of people don’t know the respect he had in the rock & roll world,” Cooper says. “Eddie Van Halen asked one time, he said, ‘Could you get me a guitar lesson with Glen?’ Most rockers would go, ‘What?’ That’s the kind of guitar player he was. He was considered one of the five best guitar players out there.”
In their later years, Cooper and Campbell were golfing buddies who played together once or twice a week after they’d both gotten sober, found God and moved to Phoenix. “He did cocaine more than just about anybody out there during what we called the ‘L.A. Blizzard,’ when everybody was into cocaine. But he had a real problem with it, I mean a huge problem. He navigated through that, I navigated through that, we both came out the other end with great families,” Cooper recalls. “That’s what we had in common, was that we were survivors of that world and we both moved to Phoenix to get away from that world. And we were still in the business.”
In 2011, Campbell revealed that he’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and it was during their golf outings together that Cooper says he first noticed the signs of his friend’s deterioration. “Every once in a while, he’d tell me a joke on the first tee. And on about the fourth tee he’d tell me the same joke again,” Cooper says.
Cooper admits that, with six years having passed from the time of Campbell’s diagnosis to the time of his death, he’s had time to come to terms with the passing of his friend. Campbell, too, had his chance to say farewell, first with his Goodbye Tour and ultimately with Adiós, his final album, which was released two months ago.
“I think it’s a relief for Glen and the
family,” says Cooper, referring to the slow and often painful process of
death, both for the patients and their loved ones, that typically occurs with
Alzheimer’s disease. “I’m sure if it were up to Glen, five years ago
would’ve been fine with him. [His wife] Kim was so faithful taking care of him.
His kids were so faithful taking care of him. They’re in that period now of
grief that’s unexplainable.”