Alice Cooper has released “Rock & Roll” today as a first taste of the upcoming studio album “Detroit Stories”, coming February 26, 2021 on earMUSIC.
“Rock & Roll”, a classic song by THE VELVET UNDERGROUND from the album “Loaded”, is not a casual choice: It’s a song of joy and celebration of that magical moment when we all first turned on rock and roll radio …and it saved our lives.
Here are some interesting Detroit Stories for the fans of rock and roll trivia and for those who believe that nothing happens by chance (especially in Detroit).
In 1971, the ALICE COOPER GROUP was working in Detroit, with producer Bob Ezrin. Around the same time, also in Detroit, a band called… DETROIT, which featured Mitch Ryder, Johnny Bee and Steve Hunter, recorded a heavy new arrangement of Lou Reed‘s “Rock & Roll” also produced by… Bob Ezrin.
It was when he heard that version that Lou Reed decided to work with Ezrin on the follow-up to his monster hit album “Transformer”. Their collaboration produced the seminal and fascinating classic album “Berlin”.
But wait, there is more!
Steve Hunter, the amazing guitar player who created the iconic main riff that drives DETROIT‘s cover of the song in 1971, ended up working with Ezrin on many of his productions. He toured and recorded with Alice and with Lou Reed as well…and that same riff is the backbone of this new recording of the song which was done in… Detroit, of course.
Alice Cooper and Lou Reed shared a relationship of mutual respect and friendship over the years. Bob and Lou collaborated several other times and were dear friends for 40 years. Alice and Bob can’t remember how many albums this is and have been creative partners for 50 years.
Listen to Alice‘s powerful new version of “Rock & Roll” featuring Johnny “Bee” Badanjek (DETROIT WHEELS), Steve Hunter (DETROIT), Paul Randolph (legendary Detroit jazz and R&B bassist) and special guests Joe Bonamassa and Tommy Henriksen (for this occasion, crowned “Honorary Detroiters”).
“Detroit Stories” follows last year’s “Breadcrumbs” EP as a modern-day homage to the toughest and craziest rock and 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 U.S. (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.
“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!”
“Detroit Stories” will be available on CD, CD+DVD digipak, CD box set (including CD, Blu-ray, t-shirt, face mask, torch light and 3 stickers), and 2LP gatefold.
The DVD and Blu-ray will show the incredible live performance “A Paranormal Evening At The Olympia Paris” for the first time on video. With the whole concert culture being shut down due to covid-19, Alice Cooper felt the need to share one of his latest shows with his fans as he cannot wait to get back on the road — better than ever.
01. Rock ‘N’ Roll
02. Go Man Go (Album Version)
03. Our Love Will Change The World
04. Social Debris
05. $1000 High Heel Shoes
06. Hail Mary
07. Detroit City 2021 (Album Version)
08. Drunk And In Love
09. Independence Dave
10. I Hate You
11. Wonderful World
12. Sister Anne (Album Version)
13. Hanging On By A Thread (Don’t Give Up)
14. Shut Up And Rock
15. East Side Story (Album Version)
Photo credit: Jenny Risher