Seventy-five-year-old Alice Cooper has more miles on him than a 1968 Volkswagen, and in any given year, he’s probably on tour somewhere near you.
That’s the theme of “Road,” the latest album from the shock rock king who’s been losing his head onstage for half a century. Cooper has outlasted his ’70s theatrical rock peers not only through sheer endurance but by consistently birthing brilliant new hard rock, with one of the best backing bands in the business.
A frequent creator of concept albums (“From the Inside,” about his recovery from alcoholism; “Welcome to My Nightmare,” about the dreams of a child, “Along Came A Spider” about a serial killer, and the self-evident “Detroit Stories” ), Cooper offers up another one on “Road,” with 13 songs that deal with aspects of life as a touring rock band.
From the lights-on adrenaline rush ( “Welcome to the Show” ), to painful goodbyes to a loved one at the start of a tour (“Baby Please Don’t Go”), to the disorienting lack of a schedule after the tour ends (“100 More Miles”), this is a look at Alice on the road, from the inside.
It also introduces us to stalkers (“Go Away”), a gorgeous truck stop waitress (“Big Boots”), and a maniacal truck driver ( “White Line Frankenstein” ). The latter is at least the third Alice Cooper song to use ”Frankenstein” in its title.
The song writing is clever, catchy and multi-layered, as usual. And this time, Cooper had his full touring band write and record the album, including the triple guitar attack of Nita Strauss, Ryan Roxie and Tommy Henricksen.
The sound is at once old and new, with references to past Cooper glory including the lyrics “like it/love it” hearkening back to 1970’s “I’m Eighteen.”