North Valley

North Valley - December 2006

North Valley
(December 2006)

Originally Published: December 2006

Alice Cooper and Jerry Jones

Love of motor cars

Author: Shannon Willoby

With a recognizable face and a famous name, Alice Cooper has become somewhat of an American icon. But to Valley residence, he's more than just a rock and roll legend – he's a family man, restaurant entrepreneur, and generous supporter of various Arizona charities, including his own: Solid Rock Gold Foundation.

Solid Rock Gold Foundation is a Christian nonprofit organization that helps inner-city kids stay out of gangs and away from guns and drugs. Cooper holds various fund-raisers throughout each year to support the foundation, including his December 16 "Christmas Pudding" variety show. Annually, his foundation raises up to $150,000, and he continually helps contribute to his worthy cause.

Cooper can often be found out on the links playing a number of Valley golf courses, hosting his own charity golf tournament every year in April, and visiting with fans at his restaurant, Alice Cooper's town. But it was his love for custom cars that first led him to get involved with the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction held annually in Scottsdale since 1971. The largest of its kind in the world, the Barrett-Jackson auction is a spectacular event filled with sports cars, hot rods, custom vehicles, and rare classics. Thousands of spectators attend the auction each year, and the event rakes in millions of dollars from car and merchandise sales. For the 2007 event, Alice Cooper has again teamed up with Jerry Jones of Premier Auto Sales to create two unique custom cars to be auctioned off. Jerry Jones, owner and creative mastermind of Premier Auto Sales, has been building these dream cars for Cooper for a few years, and together, the two make a highly resourceful team. In the spirit of "anything is possible," Jones builds upon the ideas that spring from Cooper's active imagination and turns them into custom cars unlike anything else on the road.

North Valley Magazine: The Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction is a huge yearly event - when did you first get involved with it?

Alice Cooper: I got involved about fifteen years ago and have been hooked ever since.

NVM: You will have two custom cars up for auction at the 2007 event. Can you tell us about them?

AC: My Billion Dollar Babies album-theme car - a '39 Lincoln Zephyr with billion-dollar-bill-graphics flowing down both sides of the car and an ATM machine in the trunk; also, my 1970 Dodge Challenger 426 Hemi R/T S/E recreation complex Rotisserie Restoration.

NVM: Do you ever get attached to cars you plan to auction off, and find it hard to part with them?

AC: I don't have a problem parting with them because they seem to bring other people joy also. So many cars so little time.

NVM: Have you ever purchased a car you first saw at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction?

AC: I have not purchased a car at the Barrett-Jackson but have sold a few.

NVM: Tell us about your charity, Solid Rock Foundation.

AC: Solid Rock Foundation is a Christian nonprofit youth center alternative place for kids to learn music, sports, and art.

NVM: A Fender guitar was auctioned off at last year's event to raise money for your charity. Will a similar item be sold at the 2007 Barrett Jackson event to benefit Solid Rock Foundation?

AC: We have a guitar with the Billion Dollar Baby car to auction off or go with the car. It will be signed and dated.

NVM: Will you be making a New Year's resolution for 2007?

AC: Yes - I promise only to buy no more than twelve cars in 2007.

NVM: We heard a new album is in the works. Can you give us any additional information about that?

AC: Yes, all the songs have been written and will be recorded in January and will be part of my sixth world tour in six years.

NVM: You were a candidate in the 1972 election for presidency against Richard Nixon. Do you have any advice for those running in the 2008 election?

AC: Yes - let me write the candidate's songs and teach them to use song [in their campaigns].

NVM: For fans looking to meet you, is there a day of night they'd be most likely to find you at your restaurant. Alice Cooper'sTown?

AC: When I leave my house, I belong to the public for autographs and photos.

NVM: When did you last tour end?

AC: My last world tour ended November 8, with touring ninety-seven cities.

NVM: What do you enjoy most about touring, and are your onstage antics as shocking as they used to be?

AC: I was born to be onstage. Impossible to shock the public, so I would rather entertain them.

NVM: How long have you lived in Phoenix, and what do you like most about the city and its people?

AC: I moved here when I was ten years old, and there are too many good reasons why I would rather live here in Phoenix; the people have made it home for me and my family. For me, it's the warmth, generosity, and overall response of the people and fans that I enjoy the most.

North Valley Magazine: The Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction is a huge yearly event. When did you first get involved with it?

Jerry Jones: About ten years ago.

NVM: How many custom cars have you built for Alice Cooper?

JJ: Along with Chip Saggau, James Keaton, Josh Compton of Compton Rod and Custom, Lee Diaz Graphics, and my stepson, Cliff Speerstra, Jr., I have built a total of four special custom theme cars for Alice Cooper. The first was the Dirty Diamonds '39 Zephyr, the second was the Dirty Diamonds '57 356 Porsche, the third was a money green '39 Zephyr for his Billion Dollar Babies album and the fourth is a '36 Auburn Boattail speedster - the "Welcome to my Nightmare" theme car.

NVM: How many custom cars do you own personally?

JJ: I own a few custom cars and a variety of special-interest automobiles that my stepson and I sell worldwide via eBay. We have about twenty autos on-hand at all times.

NVM: Have you ever purchased a car you first saw at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction?

JJ: I have bought a car at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction , but I have sold a few in the years past. We have had displays there, and the Barrett-Jackson personnel are a superior organization to work with. Jill and Steve give great personalized service.

NVM: Can you tell us more about the cars you create?

JJ: We love to create automobiles just from a whim and a suggestion. Case in point: Alice Cooper asked if we could put an ATM machine in the trunk of the Billion Dollar Babies' Zephyr theme car, and I said, "Yes, we can!" For the past few years, we have only created cars for Alice Cooper.

NVM: What do you like most about your job?

JJ: I love my job because when we are done creating theme cars, we love to see the reactions from both Alice Cooper and the hundreds of people who see the cars on display at special events. The cars are so unusual and out of the norm that bystanders can't believe that someone can actually do what we were able to do and still make them look so good - that pleases me.

NVM: How long have you lived in Phoenix, and what do you like most about the city?

JJ: My family and I have lived here going on thirty years now. We got sick of shoveling the snow in Cleveland, Ohio, and the last time my John Deere tractor with plow broke and I had to shovel my driveway by hand, I told my wife it was time to move to Phoenix, Arizona!

NVM: Besides Alice Cooper, have you built custom cars for any other celebrities?

JJ: The theme cars we build are for Alice Cooper and we have a couple more in the works. We just started the theme cars two years ago.

NVH: Will you have any cars up for auction this year at the Barrett-Jackson 2007 event?

JJ: Alice Cooper will have two cars this year that will run through prime time Saturday night, January 18, at approximately 7:30 pm. And he will be driving them up and on the stage himself. The first will be the '39 Zephyr Billion Dollar Babies theme car, and right after will be his 1970 Dodge Challenger 436 Hemi R/T S/E Recreation - a full nut-and bolt full-rotisserie restoration.

To see Alice Cooper's custom cars built by Jerry Jones, and over 1,100 other special interest and collector automobiles from every era, don't miss the 2007 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction held January 13-21 at West World in Scottsdale.