On This Day: Alice Cooper Tried to Get “Elected” as Governor of Arizona — “A Troubled Man for Troubled Times”

I never lied to you, I’ve always been cool / I wanna be elected / I gotta get the vote, and I told you ’bout school, sings Alice Cooper in his Billion Dollar Babies hit “Elected.” Originally released in 1972 when Richard Nixon was in the White House and the U.S. was in the middle of the Vietnam War, more than 15 years later Cooper repeated his earlier sentiments and revealed that he was running for governor of Arizona on February 24, 1988.

Neither Democrat, Republican, nor anything in between Cooper said he was representing another party altogether. His gubernatorial campaign was for the Wild Party. His slogan: “A troubled man for troubled times.”

“I’m definitely a write-in candidate,” said Cooper at the time. “Hey, I’m a native. I’m a registered voter. I represent the Wild Party, and I even have a campaign slogan: ‘Alice Cooper: A Troubled Man for Troubled Times.”

By the late 1980s, Arizona Governor Evan Mecham was in hot water for obstruction of justice, misuse of government funds, and filing a false statement and would later be impeached. “It never ceases to amaze me how these men are whitewashed as soon as they’re in the public eye, but it wouldn’t be the same with me,” said Cooper in a 1988 interview. “Everyone knows that I’m dirty old Alice from the start. If I became governor, the people would know what I’m like right from the beginning, which would make a change.”

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Born Vincent Damon on February 2, 1948, in Detroit, Michigan, Cooper moved to Arizona when was 12. It was in Phoenix that he transformed into Alice Cooper and started the band in 1964. Several months after releasing his 1987 album Raise Your Fist and Yell, and less than a year and a half before releasing his blockbuster Trash in 1989, Cooper was headed into politics in his home state.

“Arizona needs a good heavy metal governor,” said Cooper in an interview on February 28, 1988. “It’s a rock and roll state. They just don’t know it. It’s a very closet rock and roll state, and they’re ready to break out. They just need a guy like me in there to push them a little bit, that’s all.”

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Cooper continued, “I’m probably much more trusted than anybody there. These people know where I’m coming from. They look at me. They see my shows. They know it’s gonna be a bloodbath.”

All a Joke

In the end, Cooper was never elected, and he never intended to run for governor in the first place. It was all a joke that went too far. People took him seriously and he later explained what happened.

“I actually went on TV and made a statement saying, ‘I cannot run for governor; I am not crooked enough to be the governor,’” said Cooper in 2001. “I would hate it. I hate politics. I absolutely hate politics.”

Cooper for President?

In 2016, Cooper revisited his “A Trouble Man for Troubled Times” slogan on his official site and jokingly announced his run for president.

“Alice Cooper is tired of the rhetoric, the mudslinging, the media frenzy” read the announcement. “Keeping his snake in his cage and the guillotine in storage, he is putting people before career. Alice Cooper wants to be ‘Elected.'”

That year, Cooper also released “Elected” around the fake presidential run.“I think the idea that I honestly have no platform is maybe the most honest thing I’ve heard in politics in a long time,” said Cooper in 2017. “I have absolutely no idea what to do and if everybody said that, that would give me a guy I can vote for.”

Cooper added, “Anyone who’s survived this long in rock ‘n roll is beloved, so I’m a beloved presidential candidate.”

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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