The road will make you or break you. To survive it, you need to be as tough as asphalt and move fast enough to make the competition eat dust. Alice Cooper has traversed the highways of multiple continents for over five decades, leaving the stages of stadiums, arenas, and amphitheaters scorched and begging for more in their wake. After thousands upon thousands of gigs and easily a million miles traveled, the multi-GRAMMY® Award-nominated Rock and Roll Hall of Fame® Inductee revs up as loudly as ever on his 22nd solo LP, Road [earMUSIC].
Bringing everything full circle, it channels the spirit of old school Alice with instantly recognizable grit and plenty of gusto. It’s everything you’d hope for from him and more. And this time his trusted longtime bandmates— Ryan Roxie [guitar], Chuck Garric [bass], Tommy Henrikson [guitar], Glen Sobel [drums], and Nita Strauss [guitar]—are riding shotgun.
“In the past, the show got reviewed before the music did,” laughs Alice. “We had hit #1 albums, but it was always about what we did on stage. For Road, I wanted the band to be involved in the foundation of all the songs. I only see these guys when we’re on the road. So, I wanted them to be as tight as they are for the show but on all new material. That’s what we did for this record. When you have a band this good, I believe in showing it off, and this is my way of doing so.”
No stranger to doing things his own way, Alice has cast a long shadow over rock music with an unrivaled live show and timeless anthems like “School’s Out,” “No Mr. Nice Guy,” and “Poison.” Selling over 50 million albums worldwide, he earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame® in 2003, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame® inducted him as part of its class of 2011. Boasting one of the most influential catalogs in history, Rolling Stone cited 1971’s platinum-certified Love It To Death among the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” while other platinum releases spanned the seminal Killer , School’s Out , the Billboard 200 #1 Billion Dollar Babies , Welcome to My Nightmare , and Trash , to name a few. The latter even graced Rolling Stone’s “50 Greatest Hair Metal Albums of All Time.” He’s so embedded in generations of popular culture that he not only made a cult-classic cameo in Wayne’s World during 1992, but he also starred alongside EGOT® winner John Legend and Sara Bareilles in NBC’s 2018 production of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert—not to mention, who else appeared on The Muppets in seventies and That 70s Show in the early aughts?!
Beyond hundreds of syncs, everyone from Etta James, The Smashing Pumpkins, Megadeth, and The Flaming Lips has covered his tunes. The Beastie Boys, Disturbed, and countless others have sampled him. His collaborators have notably included the late Vincent Price, Aerosmith, Guns N’ Roses, and Jon Bon Jovi, to name a few. Plus, he co-founded Hollywood Vampires alongside Aerosmith’s Joe Perry and Johnny Depp.
Most recently, 2021’s Detroit Stories garnered widespread critical acclaim with Classic Rock grading it “4- out-of-5 stars” and hailing it as “his most concise bolt of precision-tooled heavy rock in 50 years.” It bowed at #1 on the Billboard Album Sales Chart, hit #1 in Germany, and garnered 9 Top 10 debuts worldwide.
Throughout 2022, he collaborated closely with his band members and longtime producer Bob Ezrin, putting together what would become Road.
“I said to everybody, ‘This is your album, so I want you all to bring songs in’,” he recalls. “Hearing Ryan or Tommy gives it so much personality. The backbone is the group. Once they shared their ideas, Bob and I sat there and connected the songs. It was like directing a play. We’re old school; we still write thematic albums.”
Fittingly, the record opens with “I’m Alice.” A dusty drumbeat sets the tone as guitar wails in the distance. Alice’s instantly recognizable rasp takes hold, “I know you’re looking for a real good time. So, let me introduce you to a friend of mine. I’m Alice. I’m the Master of Madness; the Sultan of Surprise…so don’t be afraid, just look into my eyes.”
“Ryan brought in ‘I’m Alice’, and we were like, ‘This NEEDS to open the record’,” he goes on. “You don’t fight it. You just let it be what it is. It sets up the rest of the whole album.”
Elsewhere, “White Line Frankenstein” hinges on a head-nodding riff as it steamrolls towards a chantable chorus, “They call me ‘White Line Frankenstein’,” before a Tom Morello solo, hot enough to burn rubber.
“If you’re a truck driver who’s been out there a long time, you rule the road,” he adds. “In the song, this surreal tough guy is driving on white lines for his whole life, and he’s probably DOING white lines. So, ‘White Line Frankenstein’ would be his CB handle. It’s monstrous and definitely a stage song.”
Ragtime piano and a funked-out bass line cut through the distortion on “Big Boots” as the lyrics detail a diner interaction with a whole lot of double entendre. “It’s the funniest song,” he grins. “You’ve got a waitress saying, ‘Take me on tour’, and the guy says, ‘Well, she’s got big boots’. That’s the joke.”
Kane Roberts (a touring and recording collaborator with Alice’s in years past who briefly rejoined Cooper on the road in 2022) makes a special guest appearance, contributing the raucous and rip-roaring “Dead Don’t Dance.” Other special contributors to the album include Rage Against The Machine’s’ Tom Morello, who co-wrote, and plays and sings backing vocals on “White Line Frankenstein,” and Buckcherry’s Keith Nelson and MC5’s Wayne Kramer, who also co-wrote new songs with Alice. This particular sonic wrecking crew reupped “Road Rats” from 1977’s Lace and Whiskey as “Road Rats Forever” as “a tribute to the roadies.” On the other end of the spectrum, “100 Miles to Go” captured the yearning to get home at the end of a tour. They topped off the journey with a cover of The Who’s “Magic Bus.” Alice grins, “We love the original, so we made it more hard rock.”
In the end, the road is as open as ever for Alice Cooper.
“There’s no downtime for me at all,” he leaves off. “I’ve got this album, this tour, Hollywood Vampires, and a whole lot more. Most guys my age want to rest and relax. I’ve never felt more up. Physically, I’m in as good of shape as I’ve ever been. I’m not looking for any way out. I’m not going retire, and I don’t want anyone to think I am. I’m at the top of my game right now.”