Listen To This Eddie is a bi-weekly column that examines the important people and events in the classic rock canon and how they continue to impact the world of popular music.
Last week, classic rock icon Alice Cooper released a brand-new album titled Paranormal. Produced by his long, long-time collaborator Bob Ezrin, it’s a serviceable collection of songs, closely hewing to the ‘80s metal aesthetic that has marked much of his work over the last few decades. U2 bassist Larry Mullen lent his skills to several different selections. Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top shows up for a track titled “Fallen In Love.” In another song, Uncle Alice presages the stunning rise and fall of White House Communications director Anthony Scaramucci on “Paranoiac Personality.” It’s all fine. Then you reach the final two songs — actually, they’re not even part of the record proper, they’re bonus tracks — and at last we reach transcendence.
A remarkable thing happened a couple years back in a music store in Dallas. For the first time in years, Alice Cooper — born Vincert Furnier — performed live with the remaining members of the original Alice Cooper Band. Together, the makeup wearing front man shared the stage up with guitarist Michael Bruce, bassist Dennis Dunaway and drummer Neal Smith — RIP Glen Buxton — and ripped into a roaring rendition of their immortal classic “I’m Eighteen.” Apparently, Alice himself enjoyed the experience so much that he hit performed with them again for a five-song mini-set in Nashville earlier this year, and then enlisted the three men to back him up on the final two cuts on his latest full-length project.
“We never broke up with any bad blood,” Alice recently explained to Rolling Stone. “There were no lawsuits. Nobody was angry with anybody. Everybody just went their own ways for a while. We stayed in touch. I kept going. I was driven to keep doing what I did, but we stayed friends.”