It's fair to say that Vincent Furnier made musical history when he became Alice Cooper; an androgynous shock rocker who spent his teenage years pursuing a career in rock, and certainly not following in his preacher father's footsteps. From his inception, Alice Cooper went against the grain of what is accepted in modern music with over-the-top, gore-filled live shows which at one point saw a chicken get unwittingly murdered by his audience. However, the fun soon got out of hand when Alice Cooper and his band got fully submerged in the rock 'n' roll world of alcohol and drug abuse. Setting up the drinking club The Hollywood Vampires, Alice Cooper would be hospitalised more than once for his substance abuse issues, getting so obsessed with that world that he would not even be able to remember large chunks of his recording career.
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To look at the life of Rodney is to look at a near-complete history of several decades of music. A shy kid from a broken home, Rodney left Mountain View, California, for Hollywood in the early 1960s and never really left. Quickly making himself at home on the Sunset Strip scene, Rodney surrounded himself with every kind of celebrity, especially from the music industry. One interviewee after another comments on his Andy Warhol-like blank demeanor that allows the famous and talented to see reflections of themselves. But there is also an eternally childlike innocence to him that was quickly picked up on: Cher, who practically adopted Rodney for a time with Sonny, talks about how you could just tell that Rodney never wanted anything from you, just to be there and absorb the glittery experience was enough. There's a sense of a kid trying to make up for his own fractured past with a famous family, and also just looking for someone to take care of him.
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The BBC drama starring Aidan Turner returns to BBC One on September 4th.
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