Alice, meet Alice
Alice, N.D., is the kind of town where the only bar also sells butter, milk and 50-pound sacks of potatoes. Alice Cooper is the kind of guy who arrives in a Hummer-style stretch limousine to a crowd chanting his name. The two collided Sunday, to ...
Alice, N.D., is the kind of town where the only bar also sells butter, milk and 50-pound sacks of potatoes.
Alice Cooper is the kind of guy who arrives in a Hummer-style stretch limousine to a crowd chanting his name.
The two collided Sunday, to the apparent amusement of both.
Cooper, the original king of shock rock, was presented on Sunday with a ceremonial key to the little hamlet that shares his self-given name (officially changed to replace Vincent Furnier). He hoisted the key - actually a stone plaque depicting a key - above his head to a round of cheers.
He arrived shortly after 5:15 p.m. to an audience that had been waiting, many drinking, all day.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said 47-year-old Harley rider Lex Schauer, a Fargo man who was decked out in leather chaps Sunday and likes to karaoke to Cooper's "Only Women Bleed."
The erudite rock star was witty and affable for the five minutes he spoke from the stage. "See, I thought they were giving me the whole town. I was going to sell it to (rock star David) Bowie," Cooper joked.
While he was on stage, several audience members yelled out years and locations of concerts, held favorite albums above their heads and hooted in general. One fervent fan held up an Alice Cooper action figure.
"You know what's great about those action figures?" Cooper said. "They give you great abs."
Cooper - who plays a concert at the Fargo Civic Center tonight - was not in his full show regalia, instead wearing blue jeans with black leather boots and jacket.
Though the avid golfer and Christian quit booze and drugs a quarter century ago, he looked all of his 58 years. His face was cragged with wrinkles and he had a bandage on the forefinger of his right hand.
City officials estimated about 1,000 people showed up, only a third of what planners were hoping for but by far the most the city has seen since its centennial celebration in 2000.
Alice City Councilman Ron Mulder - who rode in Cooper's limousine on the 45-minute drives to and from Fargo - came up with the idea of having the rock star visit the town shortly after he heard in February that the Cooper was playing in Fargo for the first time in 28 years.
His wife, Jill, sent an e-mail to the rocker's Web site. Many Alice residents were skeptical that the plan would pan out, but after several e-mails back and forth, Cooper agreed to the appearance.
He said in an interview after the key presentation that he accepted the offer because he was curious. "I can go to Ozzy (Osbourne), 'Do you have a city? I have a city,' " Cooper said.
The visit brought a party atmosphere to the city of about 60 people. For hours before Cooper arrived, local bands played, the After U Bar did steady business, civic groups sold sandwiches and Cooper fans, Alice residents and curious onlookers milled about the unpaved streets of the town's central square.
Zac Starleaf, 20, drove his four-wheeler more than 20 miles from near Fort Ransom, N.D. He's heard Cooper radio hits, but he was more interested in the spectacle.
"I just showed up to see what happened," he said.
Not everybody was impressed. Tim Schmidt, 47, who has lived in Alice since he was 20, said he was unfamiliar with Cooper. "I've heard of the name - that's it. No big deal," he said.
Mary McGough of Rogers, N.D., - whose sister owns the After U - said before he arrived that people were hoping Cooper would stick around and hang out.
"Everybody wants to see him up close and personal," she said.
Cooper didn't do much hanging out after the ceremony, but he did sign dozens of items, from albums to arms, even the action figure.
Though the veracity of his claim is suspect, Cooper said after the appearance he'd like to hold a music festival in the town whose key he now holds.
As always, finances could be a potential glitch:
"When I come back here, I expect to pay for nothing," he told the crowd with a smile.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535