“Rock & Roll,” a classic song by The Velvet Underground from the album “Loaded,” is not a casual choice: It´s a song of joy and celebration of that magical moment when we all first turned on Rock and Roll radio …and it saved our lives.
The rendition is a straight-ahead rocker, as Cooper adds a little of his own growl to his take on Reed’s vocals. He changes some of the lyrics — the rock & roll radio source is a “Detroit station” instead of one from New York — but mostly he sticks to the song’s raw foundation.
In addition to Cooper, the recording features some other notable Motor City musicians: two alumni from Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, drummer Johnny Bee and guitarist Steve Hunter (who also played “Rock & Roll” on Lou Reed’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal LP), and Jazzanova bassist Paul Randolph — as well as “honorary Detroiter” blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa.
The cover is the result of about five decades’ worth of crossed paths between some of the musicians and producer Bob Ezrin. Ezrin was working with both Cooper and Ryder and the Detroit Wheels (then called Detroit) in 1971 when the latter cut a cover of “Rock & Roll.”
Reed liked the rendition so much, he recruited Ezrin for his Berlin album and brought Hunter into his band. Now Ezrin has gathered Cooper and the Wheels members together to bring it full circle.
Cooper has described Detroit Stories as a celebration of rock from his hometown. “Detroit was the birthplace of angry hard rock,” he said in a statement. “After not fitting in anywhere in the U.S. (musically or image-wise) Detroit was the only place that recognized the Alice Cooper guitar-driven, hard-rock sound, and our crazy stage show. Detroit was a haven for the outcasts. And when they found out I was born in East Detroit … we were home.”
Detroit Stories Tracklist
1. “Rock & Roll”
2. “Go Man Go” (Album Version)
3. “Our Love Will Change The World”
4. “Social Debris”
5. “$1000 High Heel Shoes”
6. “Hail Mary”
7. “Detroit City 2021” (Album Version)
8. “Drunk and in Love”
9. “Independence Dave”
10. “I Hate You”
11. “Wonderful World”
12. “Sister Anne” (Album Version)
13. “Hanging on By a Thread (Don’t Give Up)”
14. “Shut Up and Rock”
15. “East Side Story” (Album Version)
Pre-order the album in various formats here.