Alice Cooper – Road: The Way of the Master

For his new album, Vincent Furnier features his stage group, a troupe of experienced musicians who, for some, have accompanied him around the world for more than twenty years, under the marquee of one of the most iconic actors and deserving rock. Because Alice Cooper is a living legend. Literally and figuratively.

© Jenny Rischer

In the ray of sacred monsters, there are those for whom respect can compensate for a disappointment, and those whom one admires to the point of spending almost any fantasy on them. Vincent Furnier, Alice for close friends, belongs to the second category, that of artists who do what they want. Because to be a fan is to remember that before being a guillotine frontman, Alice Cooper was a group whose discography is flawless with which very few artists can compete. Love It To Death (1971), killer (1971), School’s Out (1972) and Billion Dollar Babies (1973) are not just classics. These are pivotal rock records, filled with huge songs (I’m Eighteen, School’s Out, No More Mr Nice Guy, Is It My Body, Under My Wheels, Halo of Flies, Be My Lover, Elected, Ballad of Dwight Fry, Billion Dollar Babies, Caught In A Dream, I Love The Dead, Long Way to Go…). Even muscle of love (1973) and Easy Action (1970), the two most fragile of the lot, remain good albums (the very first, Pretties For You, is an experimental delusion that doesn’t really count). What if the singer’s only ‘true’ solo classic is the stainless Welcome To My Nightmare (1975), a brilliant hard glam amusement park, his discography is full of nuggets. hobby (1983) is an underrated masterpiece. From The Inside (1978), Flush The Fashion (1980)The Last Temptation (1994) and The Eyes of Alice Cooper (2003) are to be rediscovered urgently. More recently, Paranormal (2017) was in good shape, and Alice achieved the unthinkable with the sequel Welcome 2 My Nightmare (2011), worthy of its glorious seventies. Along Came A Spider ages far more gracefully than its angular mix presaged. Dirty Diamonds (2005) lives up to its title, dragon town (2001) and Brutal Planet (2000) are straight in their industrial boots. Trash (1989) and Hey Stoopid (1991) remain very solid despite ambitions for the general public, and even special forces (nineteen eighty one), Lace & Whiskey (1977), Zipper Catches Skin (1982) and Goes To Hell (1976) have been valued for posterity. Bingo.

As with his rival and friend Bowiethe only indelible shadow on the board is a double odd eighties. Bowie had the frozen pop of Tonight And never let me down, Cooper the dull metal of Constrictor (1986) and Raise Your Fist And Yell (1987). Apart from a handful of entertaining titles (The World Needs Guts, Teenage Frankenstein, Lock Me Up), this low-brow hard rock was regrettable in its lack of malice, coming from an artist with a yet sharp sense of humor. Because the scenic grand-guignol was ultimately only a consequence of the passion that the singer injected into his work. Let’s add that Furnier shows great courtesy when it comes to discussing his work or granting interviews, the antithesis of the Kiss, his most troublesome followers (with whom he has always maintained a friendship, incidentally). Flanked by Bob Ezrinher Tony Visconti to him (remember thatEzrin started out as a producer on Love It To Deathlong before his work on Berlin For Lou Reed Or The Wall For pink floyd), the witch-aliased frontman has remained true to his macabre hard glam, generous on stage and demanding in the studio. Also, we forgive almost everything Vincent Furnier. His cameos in second-rate films, his somewhat average project with Joe Perry And Johnny Depp. Or even Detroit Stories (2019), which would have benefited from being amputated by a few titles. What was the overproduced industrial rock of Wonderful World And Hanging On By A Thread on a return to garage rock project? We saved a few furious titles (Go Man Go, Shut Up and Rock) and well-felt covers (Rock&Roll of Lou Reed, Sister Anne of MC5, East Side Story of Bob Seger), but we had to admit it: Detroit Stories lacked balance despite an enticing concept.

With road, Cooper offers something he hadn’t offered for a long time outside of his live recordings: an album assembled almost exclusively with his live musicians. No studio triggers, few outside interventions in the writing, and only two rather discreet guests. A program as tight as its implementation turns out to be muscular. Indeed, the Coop can boast of having, over the years, of having collaborated with some of the best musicians in the world. The list is so long that we’ll stick to, uh… six or seven lines, let’s say. Let’s go.

Steve Hunter, Dick Wagner, Davey Johnstone, Prakash John, Joe Bonamassa, Jeff Beck, Wayne Kramer, Billy Gibbons, Vince Gill, Slash, John 5, Damon Johnson, Roger Glover, Orianthi, Larry Mullen Jr, Chris Cornell, Ernie Watts, Steve Vai, Robbie Krieger, Vincent Price, Tony Levin, Mick Mars, Tom Hamilton, Richard Kolinka, Joe Satriani, Kip Winger, Dee Murray, Ozzy Osbourne, Roy Thomas Baker, Rick Nielsen, Pentti Glan, Nikki Sixx, Derek Sherinian, Phil X, Kenny Aronoff, Jason Hook, Eric Singer, Rob Zombie, Brent Fitz, Tim Pierce, Tommy Clufetos…


From left to right: Nita, Chuck, Vincent, Ryan, Glen and Tommy. © Jenny Rischer

On roadthe cast is as follows:

On guitars: ryan roxieex-Slash’s Snakepit and faithful supporter of Cooper since the year 2000. Nita Straussex-Iron Maidens and descendant of John. Tommy Henriksenregular co-producer of the singer and member of Hollywood Vampires.
On the bass, we find the tattoos and salient sideburns of chuck garric, also in office for twenty good years. He is also the thinking head of Beast Blancowhere he shares the microphone with Calico Cooperdaughter of the boss.
On drums since 2011, Glen Sobel displays a mileage CV. Let us quote, in bulk, Tony MacAlpine, Arthur Brown, Steven Tyler, Sammy Hagar, Rob Halford, Mötley Crüe, Robbie Krieger, Beautiful Creatures, Kesha, Jeff Scott Soto, Paul Gilbert… And even Jim Carrey, Weird Al And Mike Myershold !
Additional precision, all this little world takes care of the choirs on the songs of roadwhich is intended to be a project composed for and by people on the road.

input, I’m Alice is a melodramatic little rock opera like Cooper has the secret. An ideal single to launch the album on a note of intention, that of the character that Furnier shaped over the decades. A real fake villain Alan Rickman, who performs brilliantly for our greatest pleasure. A role that no one has ever played, nor sung better thanAlice. Besides, Welcome To The Show is a title that we are surprised that he took so long to use, as it seems cut out for him, even if his big riffs à la Motorhead would not have gone wrong either Beast Blanco. On a less intimidating note, All Over The World sports a horn section that fits perfectly with the most debonair facet of Cooper.

Dead Don’t Dance pulls out the muscles in more ways than one, since Kane Robertsformer sidekick of Constrictor And Raise Your Fist And Yell (when we talk about the wolf…), is invited to lead guitar. The song threatens to sink to the wrong side of caricature, but the phrasing still distinguished from Cooper saves the furniture without forcing too much. With its filthy riff and square groove, Go Away could have been on Detroit Stories. The chorus, simple and effective, allows you to realize how the boss’s voice has not aged a bit. With 75 years on the clock, the Coop has a good eye. His talent and charisma, often imitated without being matched, are still there. White Line Frankenstein is a good example of a song whose caricature contributes to the effectiveness. Tom Morello lends a hand, even if it’s a safe bet that the group would not have needed him to send hard rock for monomaniac trucking. Big Boots combines whistles, a sexy cartoon script and an ostensibly goofy chorus. We have fun there without displeasure. Rules of the Road, co-written by Wayne Kramer (MC5), is a great success of old-school boogie. Alice alternates between classy banter and funny monologue on the need to break your pipe before 27 years old. It’s obviously fun. The Big Goodbyeco-signed by Garricsmells strongly of the musk of Beast Blanco. A greasy heavy rock, which could sound cliché if the vocals turned out to be too innocuous. Fortunately, Cooper never was, and doesn’t plan to start. His voice matches perfectly with that of Garricwhose timbre we recognize, halfway between Lemmy And Rob Zombieon the backing vocals.

The troupe revisits Road Rats Foreverformer title of Lace & Whiskey written and recorded with the late Dick Wagner. The exercise would be superfluous if the musicians didn’t take tremendous care, retyping the framework with undeniable panache and professionalism. The whole group sings the harmonies of the chorus, and the triple charge of the guitars chimes like at Thin Lizzy. Similarly, Baby Please Don’t Go could be just one more ballad in a catalog containing a few monuments (Only Women Bleed, Ballad of Dwight Frye, The Quiet Room, Years Ago, I Never Cry…), but that’s not counting the voice ofAlice, always irresistible when it comes to playing crooners. The production is a little slick in places, but the arrangements of Bob Ezrin are in good taste, as usual. 100 More Miles pushes the vice with a second equally convincing ballad, in a register of Beatles very becoming grindhouse. Against a backdrop of funeral arpeggios and tense refrains, the timbre ofAlice rises in the towers like a bus launched on the highway. A magic bus. That of Whonot Harry Potter, sinceAlice and his minions come to the end of their road by dusting off the old tube of Pete Townshend with contagious energy. Glen Sobel takes a minute of final solo to revisit Keith Moon in the century of the double pedal, and the journey comes to an end in a final grouped chord, from which rises applause which we join without hesitation. Very few of the artists from 75 and over offer such dynamic and entertaining projects. Vincent Damon Furnier can be proud of his career, as much as of his artistic philosophy. That of a music enthusiast, an inexhaustible storyteller and a mischievous illusionist, always in search of stories to tell and tricks to perform. And who, by dint of playing Captain Hook, ended up acquiring a longevity superior to all the Peter Pans. Well done, sir Furnier. Good game.

Mattias Frances

Alice Cooper – Road
Label: EarMusic
Released: August 25, 2023

Source link

Leave a Comment