Balto. Co. anti-drug campaign goes on without Alice Cooper Rocker's agent is said to renege on Cooper's public service ad pledge.

September 27, 1991|By Meredith Schlow | Meredith Schlow,Evening Sun Staff

Rocker Alice Cooper has apparently reneged on a promise to tape a public service announcement for Baltimore County's anti-drug campaign.

Cooper's tour manager said that any appearance by the singer in a public service announcement would be bad for the rock star's image, according to a county library employee.

Cooper, 43, acting as a volunteer spokesman for the anti-drug campaign, gave a free concert Sept. 10 on the steps at Courthouse Plaza in Towson.

Before the concert, Cooper was to record a special anti-drug video which library officials had hoped to use as a public service announcement.

Cooper is currently on tour, promoting "Hey Stoopid," his new album, the title cut of which carries a strong anti-drug message.

But Carl Birkmeyer, a library video production specialist, says that Cooper's tour manager refused to let him interview the performer and said that being a part of any public service announcement would be bad for Cooper's "bad-boy" image.

"We're just supposed to believe he is a tough guy," Birkmeyer says. "And tough guys don't do PSAs."

Birkmeyer says that Cooper's tour manager told him on the day of the concert that public service announcements were something that "the Beaver" would do, referring to the character in the television show, Leave it to Beaver, "but not Alice Cooper."

Cooper "said he was here as [an anti-drug] spokesperson, but he didn't speak about it or talk to anyone in the county about it," Birkmeyer says. "Basically, they got their publicity and they were out."

Birkmeyer said the sponsor of the concert, 98 Rock Radio, had contacted the library and asked if it would be interested in taping a public service announcement with Cooper. The radio station said that an interview concerning Cooper's anti-drug views had already been cleared through the rocker's record company.

Gerry Thompson, a regional promotion marketing representative for Epic/Sony Music, the label under which Cooper records, says he "has no idea" why Cooper's tour manager might have said that a PSA would ruin the singer's image.

But Thompson insists that the county was notified the day before the concert that time restrictions were going to prevent the rock star from being available for any interviews other than that scheduled to air on 98 Rock the morning before the performance.

Michael Gimbel, director of the county's office of substance abuse, says Cooper's failure the tape the announcement comes as no surprise to him.

"That's why I said I don't use these people [as spokesmen]. They're unreliable. . . . But it's really par for the course. It's obvious that this guy is using the drug-abuse issue in order to sell records. He's still a piece of work."

The record company may yet convince Cooper to make good on the promise after he returns from Europe and Scandinavia on Nov. 1.

"We'll see what can be done," says Thompson. "From my end, I'm attempting to go back through his management."

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