Made in Detroit.
“I was born here” said Alice Cooper, “and so was the Sound and Spirit of Alice Cooper.”
Named for the city that launched the original Alice Cooper group on the road to success, Detroit Stories follows last year’s “Breadcrumbs” EP as a modern-day homage to the toughest and craziest Rock n Roll scene there ever was.
In 1970, fledgling producer Bob Ezrin walked into a farmhouse on the outskirts of Detroit to work with the Alice Cooper band. Abandoning flower power Los Angeles, because they were the opposite of the hippie peace and love ideal, Alice had brought his decidedly darker gang back to his birthplace to the legendary rock scene that gave birth to hard rock, garage rock, soul, funk, punk…and more.
Ezrin drilled the band for 10 hours a day to define their signature sound. Whenever they nailed a song, the inmates at the hospital for the criminally insane across the road cheered and thus the classic Alice Cooper sound was born.
“Detroit was Heavy Rock central then,” explains Alice, “You’d play the Eastown and it would be Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, the Stooges and the Who, for $4! The next weekend at the Grande it was MC5, Brownsville Station and Fleetwood Mac, or Savoy Brown or the Small Faces. You couldn’t be a soft-rock band or you’d get your ass kicked.”
“Los Angeles had its sound with The Doors, Love and Buffalo Springfield,” he says, “San Francisco had the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane. New York had The Rascals and The Velvet Underground. But Detroit was the birthplace of angry hard rock. After not fitting in anywhere in the US (musically or image wise) Detroit was the only place that recognized the Alice Cooper guitar driven, hard rock sound and our crazy stage show. Detroit was a haven for the outcasts. And when they found out I was born in East Detroit… we were home.”
50 years later Alice and Ezrin gathered some legendary Detroit musicians in a Detroit studio to record Detroit Stories, Alice Cooper’s new album that celebrates that spirit for a new era. If 2019’s “Breadcrumbs” EP laid down the trail to the city, Detroit Stories drives like a muscle car right down Woodward Ave.
Alice is in bravura vocal and lyrical form, whether rolling over the boozy blues of “Drunk In Love,” rabble-rousing on his hometown tribute “Detroit City 2021,” playing one of the quintessential Detroit characters with typical humour on “Independence Dave,” or joining his original bandmates, all sounding miraculously ageless on “I Hate You.”
There are surprises too – the tongue-in-cheek “Our Love Will Change The World” skewers cancel culture, and the uplifting lockdown single “Don’t Give Up” that showed solidarity with fans as 2020’s shutdowns took their toll.
And the musicians…
“We recorded with Wayne Kramer (guitarist and writer from the MC5), Johnny “Bee” Badanjek (drums – from the legendary Detroit Wheels), Paul Randolph (legendary Detroit jazz and R&B bassist) as well as the Motor City Horns and other local musicians,” explains Ezrin, “We had musical ideas and encouragement from John Varvatos, the support of the folks at Shinola, and we recorded at Rustbelt Studios in Royal Oak. This was Made In Detroit for Detroit by Detroit denizens!”
Covers of the MC5’s “Sister Anne” (featuring MC5’s Wayne Kramer) and Bob Seger’s “East Side Story” pay homage while fitting flawlessly into the Alice Cooper legacy. Even this version of The Velvet Underground’s “Rock And Roll” is a tribute to Detroit – written by Lou Reed, and famously recorded by Mitch Ryder’s Detroit featuring drummer Johnny Bee and guitarist Steve Hunter, with Bob Ezrin producing – with all 3 reprising their roles for Detroit Stories, and adding the legendary Joe Bonamassa as a bonus.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a proper collection of Detroit tales if it didn’t include a few songs featuring the original band members, Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith.
And look out for U2’s Larry Mullen, Grand Funk Railroad’s Mark Farner, Outrageous Cherry’s Matthew Smith, a surprise guest turn by Sister Sledge, plus current Alice Cooper band member Tommy Henriksen.
Songwriting collaborators with Alice on the album include original band members Neal Smith and Dennis Dunaway, Bob Ezrin, MC5’s Wayne Kramer, and current band members Tommy Henriksen, Chuck Garric, and Ryan Roxie.
Discover Detroit Stories as they were meant to be told.