Road by Alice CooperRelease date: August 25, 2023
For nearly 50 years, Alice Cooper has been taking the sounds of rock & roll to a standstill. From the stage shows, original band, vaudeville, glam, punk, the King of Shock, and having an incredible sense of humor. Whether you get it or you don’t, Alice shows no sign of retiring. And once you go on the Road with him, the engines begin to rev up.
The themes behind his 22nd studio album (yes, you heard right, 22nd release!) is a detail on what happens behind the scenes during each tour Alice has to go through. There’s the funny side, the heartbreaking momentum, and a heavy-guitar driven attitude that is needed.
On the song ‘I’m Alice’ which begins the album, you are greeted to the maestro’s lair with a ‘50s B-movie atmosphere. It has an autobiographical structure on what he does onstage. Sobel’s tidal-drumming climax sets up the ingredients before the guitar playing’s from Strauss, Roxie, and Henriksen gets you set up for the King of Shock’s throne.
There’s elements of Wings’ Venus and Mars-era meets Brian May’s textures, and the bad guy’s fanfare of insanity that blends perfectly well together. We head back to the Nightmare in Steven’s mind once more with ‘Welcome to the Show’.
With its James Gang approach, Alice unveils his master plan by ruling the stage with an iron fist by adding some of the Who’s Next atmosphere by becoming Mr. Hyde in front of our very eyes while laying down some good old raunchy, heavy, bluesy, and doomsy attack with the ‘Dead Don’t Dance’.
Garric’s bass speaks the tone by paying homage to Alice alumni Dennis Dunaway. But there’s the vaudeville showstopper which is shown by seeing Mr. Cooper going into his Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly style as the three musketeers duel it out for one last hurrah.
Then its time to get down and dirty by unleashing one of Alice’s creation once more with the ‘White Line Frankenstein’ by returning to his ‘70s glam roots by adding that volcanic attack which speaks not just the late ‘80s come back, but Australian ‘70s rockers Buffalo, and Alice diving into the swirling label of the golden-era from Vertigo Records.
Speaking of the ‘70s, Alice reflects his time with the original Alice Cooper band before hitting their breakthrough between Killer, School’s Out, and Billion Dollar Babies with a woman who has ‘Big Boots’. With its nod to UFO’s No Heavy Petting-era, the three guitar players pay tribute to Michael Schenker and some piano pounces Alice has done throughout his homework, top to bottom.
‘Rules of the Road’ has those Detroit foot-stompin’ music with a shuffling beat by paying tribute to both Grand Funk Railroad and KISS’ Destroyer years with some motorcycling arrangements and Alice’s rules which has some funny bone to it, shows that he and his band mates are having a blast.
Whenever I hear ‘Road Rats Forever’ it made me think of Purson’s swan-song ‘Chocolate Money’ and Alice’s tip of his top hat to Rosalie Cunningham. It shows how much I think the king of Shock Rock has appreciation for the next generation to follow in his footsteps.
Alice’s time on the Road is the soundtrack for the crew who work their tails off to make sure everything is in fit shape. And this is a big return once more for Alice to get you up on your feet. Because he has enough snakes behind closed doors! And in the words from ‘Feed my Frankenstein’ it’s ‘LUNCH TIME!’