In November 1992, Patrick Kelly and his family were in a sad state of affairs. The home they had purchased five years earlier was facing foreclosure, and they had no way to make payments on their mortgage. In a fit of frustration – or was it artistic brilliance? – Kelly spray-painted the entire house in psychedelic colors, along with images of his favorite rock star: Alice Cooper.
“It’s my house up until they take it away from me, and it’s just something that I wanted to do,” Kelly explained to one of the many news crews that soon showed up on the property. As luck would have it, the brightly adorned home became an unexpected tourist attraction, with people coming from all over the country to take pictures. Even in the days before social media, word managed to spread quickly about this unique display, which was quickly dubbed “The House of Alice.”
Others were not so pleased about the home; namely, Kelly’s neighbors, who swore they’d paint the place back to a normal color the second the family was evicted.
“The way they [threatened to repaint], I was kinda hoping they’d pull something like that while I still own the house,” Kelly admitted, adding he’d “get a kick outta me suing them for vandalism [for] making it normal again. … I didn’t do it to spite [the neighbors]. I did it just to have fun. Cuz it’s only rock ‘n’ roll.”
Watch a News Report on ‘The House of Alice’
As the House of Alice picked up media coverage, word eventually reached Cooper himself. The shock rocker decided to help save the home by visiting for an impromptu fundraiser.
“Deep down inside, I’ve got a lot to say to Alice,” Kelly confessed the day before Cooper’s appearance. “But when the time comes, you know how that is. I’ll probably be all tongue twisted like any other fan would be.”
On Nov. 22, 1992, Cooper arrived at the home in Riverside, Calif. A crowd of more than 3,500 fans was there to greet him. “People in rock ‘n’ roll live in such a fantasy world,” Cooper explained to the Phoenix Gazette. “It’s one of those things where I think we forget there are a lot of people out there one or two payments away from the street.”
For hours, the rocker signed autographs and sold merchandise, all in an effort to raise funds for the Kelly family. “It reminded me of It’s a Wonderful Life,” Cooper admitted. “People were coming in with $3 here, $5 there, $10 here, until the job was done. It was certainly the longest autograph session I’ve ever done.”
In total, the godfather of shock rock helped raise more than $13,000 for the family, enabling them to stay in the home.
“I know you can’t go around saving everyone losing their house, but maybe this could spark something,” Cooper explained. “This is such a good idea somebody should take it and really get it going. … Helping the guy next door, that’s the important thing.”
Kelly never anticipated the coverage his paint job would get but admitted he was eternally grateful for Cooper’s efforts. “I didn’t think it would get anyone’s attention except the neighbors and the local cops,” the homeowner confessed. “I think he’s a hell of a nice guy for doing something like this. I never expected it.”
Unfortunately, the House of Alice’s stay of execution didn’t last long. Just a few months after Cooper’s efforts, the Kellys once again defaulted on their payments. The home would soon be boarded up and the family vacated the property.
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You can’t kill Alice Cooper.