Alice Cooper: 'Actually, it was Ozzy Osbourne, Who Did That Crazy Thing You Remember'

Shock rocker Alice Cooper would like to remind you that he did not, in fact, do that crazy thing you think you remember him doing. That was actually Ozzy Osbourne.

"For the last time, it wasn't me who supposedly bit the head off a live bat," said the 63-year-old Phoenix resident. "If anyone did that, it was Ozzy, and, honestly, it's probably just a myth."

"Just the other day I was at Safeway buying groceries when some moron comes up to me, tossing up the Devil Horn hand sign," Cooper continued. "And he goes, 'What does bat blood taste like, dude?' And it's like, 'how the hell am I supposed to know? Ask Ozzy.'"

Now that he's in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame, Cooper says he would expect people to stop confusing him with the British-born Black Sabbath singer a year his junior. Yet, if anything, he's found the opposite to be true, especially as it relates to popular urban legends.

"People assume I must have bit the head off something to get into the Rock Hall based off the two or three really good songs our band had," he said. "But they forget I also wore women's clothing and goofy makeup about the same time other acts were doing the same thing, and that I had a few cheesy haunted house-type gags involving fake blood built into our performances. Groundbreaking stuff, ya know?"

"But I've never been to The Alamo, let alone pissed on it," Cooper said, referring to another of Ozzy's exploits. "And I'm more than welcome anywhere in the state of Texas."

Among other common misconceptions Cooper, a golf-loving radio DJ and restaurateur, is often believed to be the father of two annoying children with odd accents. He says people often go blank when they hear him speak and discover that he's from Detroit, not the similarly dreary industrial English city of Birmingham.

"It's amazing how often people ask me how Sharon is doing with her cancer battle," he says. "Again, I barely know Ozzy and Sharon and have absolutely no idea. So I just tell them to pray for her, which takes them aback because they don't seem to realize I'm the crazy metal guy who got really into Jesus, not the guy who saw his guitarist die in a fiery plane crash."

Tattoos are another popular topic of discussion with people who meeting Cooper in public.

"People want to know where they are -- asking if I had them lasered off or whatever," he said. "Sorry, I was never dumb enough to tattoo my own name on my knuckles with a sewing needle and pencil lead. You've got the wrong guy."

Though both men wore spooky makeup and had somewhat theatrical stage shows, Cooper expressed amazement at the inability for the public at large to distinguish between his career, which began in earnest with an album released in August 1969, and Osbourne's, which kicked into high gear with the first Black Sabbath album six months later.

"It's not like we have similar names. Also, I used to dress up like a girl, whereas he didn't do that -- why doesn't anyone confuse me with David Bowie?" Cooper asked, apparently baffled. "I mean, if anyone, I sorta look like Franke Zappa without the soul patch. Why doesn't anyone mix us up and ask me about weird Captain Beefheart b-sides?"

Reached for comment in Los Angeles, Osbourne's verbose remarks on the subject were mostly unintelligible. However, his annoyance at the question was obvious.

"For the fookin' last time [grumble, grumble, odd noise, shriek] I don't own any bloody snakes!" he said.

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Martin Cizmar
Contact: Martin Cizmar