To press play on Alice Cooper's new LP, Detroit Stories, is to get a blood transfusion. Instead of the red stuff, you're now filled with slick motor oil. To continue the transformation, your heart is removed and an eight-cylinder engine is put in its place. Your heads turn to bright headlights and your voice becomes a gravely, rumbling tone.
According to some of the hoary tales told in Steve Miller’s 2013 novel Detroit Rock City, the titular northwestern city famed for its endless succession of automotive lines and being the birthplace of Tamla Motown (Mo-tor Town) was somewhat of a war zone when the band Alice Cooper formed, but the majority of bands, despite some occasional shit talking of how the MC5 shoulda made it big instead of Grand Funk Railroad or how The Rationals‘ rootsy garage cover of Respect was maybe better than Aretha Franklin's soulful version that followed a few weeks after, bonded over their love of playing live and loud to rapturous often whacked out kids and weirdoes. Half a century later and it seems the majority of those friendships have remained intact, as this record features cameos from Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels‘ Johnny Badanjek, MC5's Wayne Kramer, Grand Funk's Mark Farner, as well as members of Sister Sledge, U2's Larry Mullen Jr for some reason, and Cooper's wife Sheryl and daughter Calico on backing vocals. The ferocious Social Debris and I Hate You both feature original Alice Cooper band drummer Neal Smith and bassist Dennis Dunaway.
Alice Cooper has always somewhat dubiously claimed Detroit as his hometown. Sure, he was born there, but his family soon moved to Arizona, where the original Alice Cooper Group formed before moving to L.A. and cutting their teeth there. It wasn't until the band's third album that they decided to move to Detroit (and only for a few years at that- they were back in LA pretty soon and Coop now lives outside Phoenix).