Alice Cooper’s “Detroit Stories” album has barely been released in six months. But the Detroit-born shock rocker says “I think this is an old album” at this point.
That’s because during the interim, in part thanks to the pandemic, Cooper and producer Bob Ezrin worked on new music – three albums worth according to Cooper’s estimate. And that’s just the way he would prefer things to go almost 53 years into his recording career.
“For me it’s always ‘moving forward’,” said Cooper, 73 – who battled COVID-19 last year but is “back to normal” now – by phone from his home in Arizona. “I never think about what happened before. I enjoy the story… but what I love the most is when you’re sitting there with a pad of paper and we’re in a studio and you’re like, “OK, put that down. Put down that riff. Let’s put a voice over it so I know what’s the melody line, ”so I can go home and work on the lyrics and see where we’re going with that.
“It never gets old.”
The past, meanwhile, is what amply encourages Cooper.
Born Vincent Furnier in Detroit, the son of an evangelical pastor, he moved with his family to Arizona for health reasons when Cooper was young. There he met the other members of the original group Alice Cooper, who signed with Frank Zappa’s Straight Records and released their debut album, “Pretties For You”, in 1969. The group, which gradually developed a performing on stage filled with macabre theater – including a variety of performances – temporarily relocated to Detroit in 1970 where he released the hit single “I’m Eighteen” and other material for his groundbreaking 1971 albums “Love It to Death” and “Killer”.
Before long, Alice Cooper was one of the biggest and certainly the most controversial bands in the world, with a string of platinum albums and momentum that propelled Cooper himself into a solo career with “Welcome to My Nightmare. “from 1975. Despite business ups and downs, the Alice Cooper legend has continued over the decades, including an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
And “Detroit Stories” debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Best Selling Albums chart in February is proof to Cooper that the magic hasn’t worn off.
“I appreciate that ‘Detroit Stories’ debuted and got accepted, which is great,” he says. “It’s really encouraging to me, and it just tells me that people don’t just think of me as old man but as candy. People love the new material, which is great.
Cooper recorded the hard-rock album, a mix of originals and covers, in homage to his hometown, recording massively at Rust Belt Studios in Royal Oak. He used a body of Detroit musicians including Johnny “Bee” Badanjek (Detroit Wheels, Detroit, the Rockets), Wayne Kramer (the MC5), Mark Farner, Grand Funk Railroad alumnus, Matthew Smith (Outrageous Cherry, the Volebeats) ), Paul Randolph, Garret Bielaniec and the Motor City Horns. The surviving members of the original Cooper group also contributed to three of the 15 tracks.
While Cooper is excited about what’s to come, he hates to talk about details, only saying that he’s working with Ezrin again and the music is coming from a similar direction.
“It’s not Cincinnati Stories or St. Louis Stories or stuff like that,” says Cooper, “but it’s really good hard rock and roll, and I work with a lot of different people.” And Ezrin, who produced some of Cooper’s most successful albums of the ’70s as well as his last three efforts, remains a creative keystone.
“We’ve done it so many times that we can listen to something once and say ‘no, no, no, yes, that one!’ Cooper says. “It’s really the process. If Bob and I can look at each other and say, ‘This was the one. That’s the one we’re going to work on, ”then you spare all the other stuff and sit down and write these songs with a lot of confidence that they’ll hold up.
Cooper isn’t ready to predict the timing of the material he’s working on, especially now that he’s back in tour mode for the first time since March 2020. His current North American tour ends in the third week of October. , and it will be part of the Monsters of Rock cruise in early February. There are a half-dozen UK dates set aside for late spring with The Cult, and Cooper is hoping Hollywood Vampires, his star project with Aerosmith’s Johnny Depp and Joe Perry, will revive at some point in 2022.
“I think everyone is just happy to be back on stage, to the point of being almost dizzy,” he says. “Especially with this show. … More rock ‘n’ roll concerts, you’re gonna go up there and play your songs, great. With this show it’s also the fun of the show and remembering all the little nuances that worked, things that happen when you do 100 shows and by the time the 100th show comes along you’ve already put on three. or five or 10 little nuanced things that really shape it and make it into something really cool.
“It’s just coming back to the stage and feeling comfortable with the show again – and then all of a sudden you’re like, ‘Yeah, I remember what we did there. Or “I always wanted to change that. Let’s do it now. ‘ I guarantee you that by the second show it will be back to what it was, and then I can start to think, “OK, now what …?” “
Cooper comes home
• Alice Cooper Court will open at 1 pm Thursday, September 23, at the site of the historic Eloise Psychiatric Hospital, 30712 Michigan Ave., Westland. The Alice Cooper tribute band The Nightmare will perform and Cooper will appear. Call 618-719-5615 or visit eloisehauntedtours.com.
• Cooper will be signing copies of “Detroit Stories” at 4 pm Thursday at Rock City Music Company in Livonia. The event is sold out. Call 734-744-5462 or visit rockcitymusicco.com.
• Cooper will perform, with Ace Frehley opening, at 7:30 pm Saturday, September 25 at the DTE Energy Music Theater in Independence Township. Tickets cost $ 29.50 and up at 313-471-7000 or 313Presents.com.