By Richard von Busack
Horror clown of ’70s rock Alice Cooper stars in a one-night revival of his 1975 concert movie Welcome to My Nightmare. On hand for a June 1 screening in San Rafael will be Tom Silberkleit, son of the film’s executive producer William B. Silberkleit, in conversation with the Pacific Sun’s own David Templeton.
Today, Tom is the publisher of The California Directory of Fine Wineries, a bestselling guide now in multiple editions. Then, he was 17 and on break from school in Europe. Tom’s father worried about the cost of getting a courier to take the film’s negative to Hollywood, and Tom volunteered. As he recalled via phone from his home in Sonoma, “They pulled me aside, and said, ‘this is THE NEGATIVE, do you understand? It’s the only one.’ Put the fear of God into me. I took it with me to the bathroom on the plane so it wouldn’t be out of my sight.”
Cooper happened to be in Los Angeles when Tom arrived, playing a two-night set at The Forum. Tom was given free tickets to see the show. He was, and is, more of a John Denver fan. “I was not interested in Alice Cooper at first. In fact, I was repelled by him and some of his songs. I was asking myself, do I really want to see this? And it was awesome. The show was a visual feast.”
Cooper’s sedate life away from the stage—he teaches Bible classes now—was a valuable lesson never to mistake the mask for the performer. Though it’s sad to learn that Cooper doesn’t actually sleep in a pit of boa constrictors, the musicianship of this long-lived rocker endures the fading of the initial shock.
Welcome to My Nightmare, Thursday, June 1; 7pm; Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center, 1118 Fourth St., San Rafael; rafaelfilm.cafilm.org.