Alice Cooper’s Fave Detroit Acts

Alice Cooper (née Vincent Damon Furnier) may have gotten his start in Phoenix fronting The Earwigs (a group rounded out by four fellow cross-country teammates) during the local annual Cortez High School talent show, but his roots lay in Michigan. Having left the Wolverine State when he was around 10 years old, Cooper returned a conquering hero many years later with his band Alice Cooper after the quintet caught a break in California, recording its 1969 debut Pretties For You for Frank Zappa’s Straight label.

Alice Cooper
(copyright earMUSIC/Jenny Risher)


Fast forward to February of this year and Cooper looked to his birthplace for inspiration via Detroit Stories, his twenty-first solo outing. Produced by longtime friend and creative foil Bob Ezrin, Stories went from being a loose idea of a dozen hard rock songs to a project that thoroughly taps into the album title. Among the Detroit musicians popping up to help with the heavy lifting are guitarists Wayne Kramer (The MC5) and Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad), original Alice Cooper band members Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith, drummer Johnny “Bee” Bedanjek (Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels) and the Detroit Horns. It was an album Cooper felt could only be recorded in the Motor City.

“We decided we couldn’t do it in Nashville, because that’s not the right atmosphere for a hard rock album,” Cooper explained. “L.A. was not good for that and New York was not good for that. The only place that really worked was Detroit. So we went to Detroit and at that point, the concept started taking place. Once we were there, I said since we were in Detroit, we should start writing the songs there and make them about Detroit. Then I said we should use all Detroit players. “I thought if we could capture all of Detroit’s feel, then that’s what we were going to do.”

Opening with a reading of the Velvet Underground’s “Rock & Roll” that’s closer to the version that Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels recorded, Stories finds Cooper hop-scotching through a Motown-inspired jam with Sister Sledge (“$1000 High Heel Shoes”), a loose-limbed cover of The MC5’s “Sister Anne” and a garage rock take on “East Side Story,” Bob Seger’s debut single with his first band The Last Heard. It’s a passion project Cooper dove into as someone well familiar with the blue collar, no-BS swagger Detroit acts have carried with them over the decades.
“The thing about Detroit was if you ask anybody, on a tour, Detroit is a target city,” he said. “You can’t go into Detroit with the attitude of, ‘Gee, I hope you like us tonight.’ You’d better grab Detroit by the throat and shake them because that’s what they want. They don’t want you to be polite. They don’t want you to be nice. They want you to be a hard rock band that means it when you get in town.”

The following are Cooper’s three favorite Detroit artists.

 

 

 

The Stooges (1967-1971; 1972-1974; 2003-2016)
“They were the original punks and their music still holds up today. Iggy has his own brand of theatricality that no one can ever touch.”

 

 

 

 

The MC5 (1964-1972; 1992; 2003-2012)
“Not only did they put on a great show, they were also extremely political and got everybody’s attention.”

 

 

Stevie Wonder
(CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Stevie Wonder (May 13, 1950 to present)
“Being a harmonica player, he and Paul Butterfield were two of the best I ever heard. And I admire the guys who are lifers and like me he is a lifer. He started in Rock ‘N’ Roll and will end in Rock ‘N’ Roll.”

Dave Gil de Rubio
In addition to being editor of Massapequa Observer and Hicksville News, Dave Gil de Rubio is a regular contributor to Long Island Weekly, specializing in music and sports features. He has won several awards for writing from Press Club of Long Island (PCLI).

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Alice Cooper (née Vincent Damon Furnier) may have gotten his start in Phoenix fronting The Earwigs (a group rounded out by four fellow cross-country teammates) during the local annual Cortez High School talent show, but his roots lay in Michigan. Having left the Wolverine State when he was around 10 years old, Cooper returned a conquering hero many years later with his band Alice Cooper after the quintet caught a break in California, recording its 1969 debut Pretties For You for Frank Zappa’s Straight label.
Alice Cooper
(copyright earMUSIC/Jenny Risher)
Fast forward to February of this year and Cooper looked to his birthplace for inspiration via Detroit Stories, his twenty-first solo outing. Produced by longtime friend and creative foil Bob Ezrin, Stories went from being a loose idea of a dozen hard rock songs to a project that thoroughly taps into the album title. Among the Detroit musicians popping up to help with the heavy lifting are guitarists Wayne Kramer (The MC5) and Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad), original Alice Cooper band members Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith, drummer Johnny “Bee” Bedanjek (Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels) and the Detroit Horns. It was an album Cooper felt could only be recorded in the Motor City. “We decided we couldn’t do it in Nashville, because that’s not the right atmosphere for a hard rock album,” Cooper explained. “L.A. was not good for that and New York was not good for that. The only place that really worked was Detroit. So we went to Detroit and at that point, the concept started taking place. Once we were there, I said since we were in Detroit, we should start writing the songs there and make them about Detroit. Then I said we should use all Detroit players. “I thought if we could capture all of Detroit’s feel, then that’s what we were going to do.” Opening with a reading of the Velvet Underground’s “Rock & Roll” that’s closer to the version that Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels recorded, Stories finds Cooper hop-scotching through a Motown-inspired jam with Sister Sledge (“$1000 High Heel Shoes”), a loose-limbed cover of The MC5’s “Sister Anne” and a garage rock take on “East Side Story,” Bob Seger’s debut single with his first band The Last Heard. It’s a passion project Cooper dove into as someone well familiar with the blue collar, no-BS swagger Detroit acts have carried with them over the decades. “The thing about Detroit was if you ask anybody, on a tour, Detroit is a target city,” he said. “You can’t go into Detroit with the attitude of, ‘Gee, I hope you like us tonight.’ You’d better grab Detroit by the throat and shake them because that’s what they want. They don’t want you to be polite. They don’t want you to be nice. They want you to be a hard rock band that means it when you get in town.” The following are Cooper’s three favorite Detroit artists.       The Stooges (1967-1971; 1972-1974; 2003-2016) “They were the original punks and their music still holds up today. Iggy has his own brand of theatricality that no one can ever touch.”         The MC5 (1964-1972; 1992; 2003-2012) “Not only did they put on a great show, they were also extremely political and got everybody’s attention.”    
Stevie Wonder
(CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Stevie Wonder (May 13, 1950 to present) “Being a harmonica player, he and Paul Butterfield were two of the best I ever heard. And I admire the guys who are lifers and like me he is a lifer. He started in Rock ‘N’ Roll and will end in Rock ‘N’ Roll.”
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