Monday, April 21, 2014

Alice Cooper, Golf Monster - Audiobook Review

Title: Alice Cooper, Golf Monster: A Rock 'n' Roller's 12 Steps to Becoming a Golf Addict
Author: Alice Cooper, Keith Zimmerman, Kent Zimmerman
Narrator: Alice Cooper
Abridged Length: 4 h, 0 m
Published by Random House Audio, 2007
Genres: Biography & Memoir, Arts & Entertainment

From the Publisher:
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.

My Review:
I need to start this review with a confession. I’ve been an Alice Cooper fan since 1970 (at age 16), when I first heard I’m 18. I own all of his albums in CD format and the first 15 or so in LP format that I bought originally as each was released. I’ve seen Alice in concert twice, the first time being during his legendary “Welcome to my Nightmare” tour. I’ve played golf since I was 12 years old. The combination of a story of rock and golf works for me, so I decided to give it a listen.

Alice credits his switching of his bad addiction (alcohol) with his good addiction (golf) with saving his life and his family. He and his wife Cheryl have been married over 37 years, several months longer than I’ve been married. They met when she was a dancer during his first Nightmare tour. Now, she choreographs his stage shows and for awhile, their daughter Calico was a dancer in the shows.

The audiobook is loosely formatted around the 12-step process similar to that used by AA. It is used as a tool to walk the listener through the 12-steps Alice teaches that helped him beat his alcohol addiction. The book covers Alice’s entire life story from youth to current day. Even if one doesn’t care for golf, they will likely enjoy most of the book as the stories are fantastic. I really enjoyed all of Alice’s voicings of the various characters in his life over the years. His story about his friendship with Peter Sellers was particularly amusing, as was the story of his meeting Elvis Presley in Las Vegas.

This audiobook is abridged, the only format available in audio. I have read the book as well, and didn’t really notice anything of consequence missing in the abridgement. My only problem listening to the abridgement was that it seemed to get rushed for the last disc, as they seemed to want to keep it to no more than 4 discs, about 4 hours. As such, 5 of the 12 steps were covered in the last hour and the music stories that were so much of the first three discs seemed to dry up. In fact, a significant portion of the 4th disc seemed like an infomercial for Callaway Golf.

Note: I did go back and check the book and the last 5 steps are crammed into the final quarter of the book as well, so it had nothing to do with the audiobook and everything to do with the actual unabridged book coming up light on material for the last 5 steps.

The book has a whole lot of photos covering most of Alice’s life. There is an appendix with Alice’s Golf Clinic, 15 Tips for Achieving Your Best Game. Too bad this material wasn’t included in pdf files in the audiobook production.

The cover of the audiobook shows Alice holding a bloodied golf club, which is appropriate. The only problem is the club is a left-handed short iron and Alice plays golf right-handed.

Alice does all of the narration and is a good story teller. He has lots of great stories. Of course, his performance work in music has always involved acting, and he's had a radio show for years. He's a good speaker with voice inflections and changes in pacing to keep it interesting. I can't imagine anyone but Alice telling his life's story. If you haven't heard him out of character before, it may take a little while to get used to his real voice. For the most part, listening to Alice tell his story seemed like he was actually sitting there talking. The abridged format allowed him to edit on the fly to make the stories flow better than they do in the book. One time late in the book, he was droning on about the technical features of Callaway golf clubs and seemed to realize it, which was funny.

If you have ever liked Alice Cooper, listen to Alice Cooper, Golf Monster as it is a fascinating memoir of a guy who has done pretty much everything and hung out with the who’s who in the music, TV, movie, and golf world, and lived to tell about it. 

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