When it comes to having juicy material for a book about a life in music, David Libert can be second to none.
The New Jersey native started out as a performer, having hits with the Happenings (“See You in September,” “I Got Rhythm”) in the mid-’60s before transitioning to the business side of the industry. He rose to fame, or at least notoriety, as Alice Cooper’s high-flying tour manager between 1971 and 1975, then worked as a manager and booking agent, with clients including George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, Bootsy’s Rubber Band, the Runaways, Brian Auger, Sheila E., Living Colour, Cactus and many more. These days, he’s mostly retired and spending time as an animal rights activist living in California’s Yucca Valley.
Libert’s new memoirs, Rock and Roll Warrior: My misadventures with Alice Cooper, Prince, George Clinton, Living Colour, the Runaways and more… is indeed a juicy 273 pages, he has endeavored to keep it free of cheap plans and gratuitously vulgar details.
“When I started writing it, I decided I didn’t want it to be a revealing, salacious book,” Libert, 79, told UCR. That said, he was the one who kept the “ball scores” on the Cooper tours, dividing the entourage into “teams” that scored points based on those who engaged in specific extracurricular activities.
“There’s a bit of that in there – it’s rock ‘n’ roll, you can’t help it,” concedes Libert, who also spent time in prison for dealing cocaine. “But I didn’t want it to be that kind of book. I wanted it to be more the adventure that I had. In the end, I had to decide if there were things I didn’t want not put in the book. I didn’t want to throw anyone under the bus. I just hoped it would be a good read for someone who just wanted to see what it was like to be inside of it all, what it was like to be there. That was my goal.
Watch Alice Cooper Perform “Billion Dollar Babies”
Libert’s previews are nonetheless detailed and, for the most part, unapologetic. “There’s no doubt that I had a great time, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” he says. rock’n’roll warrior is filled with great and sometimes historic characters, from his Happenings bandmates and early record executives to Libert’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame employers. He especially credits Cooper’s manager, Shep Gordon, for educating him on the many nuances of building and maintaining a world superstar number.
“Shep Gordon was a real bulldog and just fascinating to deal with because he was so creative in terms of marketing Alice Cooper,” Libert said. “So I learned a lot there, and I learned a lot about the infrastructure itself – how the whole booking process worked, how the money was distributed. You can’t buy that kind of You can’t read it in a book, and you can’t really go to college for it.
“So I consider myself lucky in that I was kind of like a sponge, soaking up whatever I could possibly learn. And I had great teachers.”
Libert maintains a friendship with Camp Cooper, and he considers the artist “a really cool guy who never really took himself seriously. He never wanted to be seen as a prima donna by his friends and others. We were just having fun. Everyone wanted to have a good time, and I made sure, at least from my position, that it was smooth and fun, like one big party.
“It was pretty crazy when you think about it, but it worked really well. And that was my job.”
There were bumps in the road, of course. Libert had a ringside seat to the disbanding of Alice Cooper’s original group and watched the situation deteriorate as Alice Cooper, the man, became the star of the show, much to the chagrin of his bandmates.
“When I first got the job, it seemed like everyone was on a level playing field,” Libert recalls, noting that the downward spiral began when Gordon decided that Cooper should lead the conferences of solo pre-tour press because he didn’t think the others were as comfortable in the situation.
“That’s when I started to realize that there was kind of a rift that was growing between Alice and the rest of the band. I used to tell them, ‘Listen, let’s Alice be the star. It’s good for business. silver.’ But they had a hard time dealing with it, and they started resenting all the stuff and props on stage, which is why people came to Alice Cooper’s show. was an untenable situation. Interestingly, they are all friends today. So it wasn’t beyond repair, and that’s a good thing because I like those guys. When the band broke up, it saddened me a bit, but I’m happy to see them doing things together again.”
Watch Parliament-Funkadelic perform “Give Up the Funk”
rock’n’roll warrior portrays Libert’s time with Clinton as the most arduous of his career, juggling a circus of shifting desires and inspirations as well as a myriad of personnel and parasites – including drug dealers to whom Clinton was beholden – who were part of the Parliament-Funkadelic universe. “If I threw anyone under the bus in this book…I guess it would be George, even though I praise him on a lot of things,” says Libert. “Let me put it this way: when I worked with Alice Cooper, I had a lot of bushy hair. I’m completely bald today, and I blame George.”
Libert’s relationship with Prince, meanwhile, seems almost random. Libert, who was involved in managing Sheila E. in the early 1980s, first met Prince at a Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Clinton at his farm near Detroit. When Sheila E. was on the road opening for the purple rain tour, Libert was often invited to hang out in Prince’s hotel suites and help criticize concerts.
“I liked Prince,” Libert says now. “He was a tough guy to deal with, but not for me. He was very nice to me. Prince was very antisocial; he felt uncomfortable in social situations. He didn’t really know how to treat people at some level so he just pretended to be mad the whole time but he was nice to me because i guess he didn’t want to look stupid in front of me which is amazing that prince is even care what I think of him. But I was older than anyone else around him, and because I worked with George Clinton, that earned me some respect. But I guess on all of this.
Watch Prince’s “Purple Rain” Video
With humor, Libert recounts how he eventually tried to find ways to avoid or escape from Prince’s company. “I liked him, but I didn’t want to have to go to his room every night with the select group of people he invited,” says Libert. “Prince wasn’t fun to hang out with, that’s for sure. But, yeah, it was an interesting experience. I felt like I went there once in a while and it seemed like he was happy to have me. see every time I did, so it was nice.”
Libert acknowledges that “they’re talking about a movie” based on the book, while he remains involved in the marketing and promotional aspects of the project. “This book is one of the highlights of my life, probably the last highlight, so I want it to do the best it can, and we’ll see what happens,” he says. But Libert will not rule out doing a little more rock’n’roll warrior-ing at some point in the future.
“I get calls all the time from people who want me to produce something or manage them,” he says. “I turn down almost anything because unless it sounds really interesting or I can make a quick buck or they want to hire me as a consultant, I’m not really interested in doing that much anymore. I enjoy sort of out of my leisure life, hanging out with my girlfriend and my dogs. It would take a lot to get me away from that.”
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