Well, well, well, accidentally popping in to Probe Records in Liverpool a couple of weeks ago on a Friday evening en route for mucho lager I bought my first Alice Cooper record for 30 years*, The Breadcrumbs EP. They told me it was good when I took it to the counter, but I already knew that.
So here’s the skinny; the Coop assembled a grizzled squad of gnarled Detroit veterans to blast out a tribute to his hometown and give the punters the lay of the land prior to his next LP. It’s absolutely fantastic too, just what I really wanted to hear from him, something a touch more gritty and real real.
The band? Mark Farner and Wayne Kramer on guitar and Johnny ‘Bee’ Badanjek on drums are the headline news for me, other players include Paul Randolph, Bobby Emmett, Garrett Bielaniec. In interviews Alice said he wanted that patented Detroit sound that you get from wedding R&B and soul with a hard rocking edge. He wanted it, he got it.
Breadcrumbs rocks two Alice Cooper originals and 4 covers. It’s a touch more complicated than that, one of the originals is a reboot of a 2003 track and two of the covers are run together as a single track – damn those recurring, narrative complicating facts!
‘Detroit City 2020’** blows the bloody doors off properly, Wayne Kramer lending some serious hustle just like he did on The Eyes Of Alice Cooper version. It’s a fabulous out there rama-lama-fa-fa-fa tribute to the incredible febrile music scene in Detroit. As a certain reviewer who got there before me pointed out the lyric is pure rock and roll poetry and I think the best I’ve heard from Mr Furnier in a sweet long time.
Me and Iggy were giggin' with Ziggy and kickin' with the MC5 Ted and Seger were burnin' with fever And let the Silver bullets fly The Kid was in his crib, shady wore a bib And the posse wasn't even alive Shock rock choppin' block, songs to make your heart stop Shove it in to overdrive
I mean, come on! The Coop, Stooges, Bowie, MC5, the Nuge, Bob Seger, Kid Rock, Eminem and the Insane Clown Posse all in 5 lines! Masterful stuff with a real buckaroo ’74 glam rock kick in the music.
New track ‘Go Man Go’ is, if I’m being honest, a bit bonus track-y but pleasant enough in an over-caffeinated rock ‘n roll way. It really reminds me of a tune I can’t quite put my finger on, which is distracting.
The kicker on the first side is the Bob Seger narrative obscurio ‘East Side Story’ which rocks a deep groove borrowed from the Troggs and Them’ ‘Gloria’. I love it, totally and absolutely – especially the half-buried nutso guitar solo and the sweet backing vox. Bloody brilliant.
Breadcrumbs gets a bit gender ambiguous and funky with the Suzi Quatro cover ‘Your Mama Won’t Like me’, which breaks the horn section out to great effect – I have a real thing for male singers who cover songs without changing gender pronouns, I think it’s brilliant^.
Running together hoary old Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels ‘Devil With A Blue Dress On’ and the Dirtbombs take on ‘Chains Of Love’ (it’s not their song, but Coop covers their cover) is yet another smart, smart move. The former bleeds into Alice’s later more show business vibe and the latter flashes it right back to the Detroit streets, Dirtbombs main man Mick Collins adding some backing too^^.
Smashing out a version of MC5’s ‘Sister Anne’ is a superb way to finish off Breadcrumbs. You simply can’t go wrong with Kramer cranking out that riff and the rhythm section pistoning away underneath as Alice rocks it on home. Okay so it lacks the righteous mania of the original but it is an exciting climax and we here at 1537 are all about exciting climaxes.
I am so glad I bought this EP. I am so glad Alice Cooper and Bob Ezrin made this EP. I really hope that this is a precursor to a full album in this vein of good old hot-rodded rock’n’funk’n’punk’n’roll because that I’d definitely buy.
961 Down (in Detroit)
*since Trash on 22/12/89, if memory serves. Which is not strictly true as I bought and then later sold a picture disc copy of Constrictor a couple of years later, but that reads less well and just shows why I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, along with other world figures of note, have ditched facts forever. They are not my friends.
**umm, it’s October 2019 Alice?
^see Sisters of Mercy ‘Jolene’ and probably one other song I heard once by somebody else.
^^who’s have ever thunk that the Gories’ singer would get to share wax with Alice Cooper?! I have to declare my total lack of objectivity where the Dirtbombs are concerned, Ultraglide In Black being an almost perfect album.