The Godfather of shock rock has released his 28th studio album (officially his 21st “solo” one!) and it features songs tied into his beloved birth town. “Detroit Stories” is all about the rock that has come from the music city – it’s not only the home to Motown and the US car industry!
Now at 73 years old, Alice is still not scared to rattle the tree, and does so here in his usual “I don’t care” fashion. Never being one to hold back on letting his feelings be heard, you are never sure what you are going to get with an Alice Cooper album – apart from the fact it will be great – and fun. Detroit Stories is certainly no exception.
The album is a mix of covers of songs from Detroit’s glory days of rock in the sixties and seventies alongside some great new tracks that celebrate the city and the time. Several guests from the era show up to help out, including Wayne Kramer of MC5, Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, as well as Detroit members – guitarist Steve Hunter and drummer Johnny ‘Bee’ Badanjek – with both appearing on an inspired cover of Velvet Underground’s “Rock & Roll”, which was also covered by them back in the day.
Kramer and Farner play guitar on an awesome cover of MC5’s “Sister Anne”, as well as appearing on other tracks including the newly written old-school style garage rocker that is “Hail Mary”. Kramer also lends his writing skills on “Go Man Go” – another garage-style track that also features Farner.
These aren’t the only guests on the album though. Joe Bonamassa joins on guitar for “Our Love Will Change The World” and the aforementioned “Rock & Roll”, which as the opening track sets out Cooper’s stall for the whole album.
Backing vocals on the tongue-in-cheek “$1000 High Heel Shoes” are provided by Sister Sledge. Not content with that, he also enlists the help of his wife Sheryl and daughter Calico on a cover of Bob Seger’s “East Side Story” and also on “Our Love Will Change The World” – perhaps the nearest to a love song you will find on the album!
Perhaps the cheekiest of guest spots is reserved for “Shut up And Rock” – a song which seems to be aimed at the stars of the music industry who use their positions for other purposes, and take themselves too seriously – featuring on drums none other than Larry Mullen JR of U2.
Oh what must it be like to have all these people in your little black book – but in place throughout the album are the surviving members of the original Alice Cooper Band – who take great joy in declaring their love for each other in the hilarious ”I Hate You”.
All said and done, this is a great album, full of fantastic tracks that remind you of the time, while still being fresh and in Cooper’s usual style. He and producer Bob Ezrin are on target again.