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Founding Father

Alice Cooper returns to his Motor City roots.

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"And I don't know how much of that comes out in the writing, but there is a flavor there," he said. "If you're from Memphis, Memphis stuff comes out in your writing. If you're from New York, New York stuff comes out. If you're from Detroit, there's something in there about cars and girls, and good old teenage lust that comes out all the time."

His current CD, "The Eyes of Alice Cooper," actually shows more of Cooper's Detroit roots than any record he's released in the past decade.

For one thing, it features a song called "Detroit City," complete with an appearance by former MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer. That tune reminds listeners of the city's garage-rock scene, drawing a straight line from the originators of Detroit's rock sound (such as Iggy Pop and the MC5) up to such current Detroit-bred superstars as the White Stripes, Kid Rock and Eminem.

On a strictly musical level, "The Eyes Of Alice Cooper" also makes a strong statement about Cooper's roots, bringing back the melodic, stripped-down garage rock that typified Cooper's early albums.

Songs like "Between High School & Old School," "What Do You Want From Me?" and "Bye Bye, Baby" — with their rowdy rock sound, and huge guitar and vocal hooks — recall such classic early Cooper tunes as "Eighteen," "School's Out" and "Elected."

"The Eyes Of Alice Cooper" is also a notable change of pace after a decade that saw Cooper release three CDs emphasizing a heavier, more metal side of his sound and telling fully developed, darkly themed stories.

The 2000 CD "Brutal Planet" and the 2001 CD "Dragontown" were actually intended to be the first two parts of a three-CD trilogy. Both discs found the Alice Cooper character taking on a topical slant and, in his own unique way, examining a host of ills and atrocities that afflict a world of the future.

"I was going to write part three until I realized the whole point of part two was to say once you're there, you're there. You can't get out," Cooper said. So instead, he returned to his musical roots.

Cooper, who said he is a huge fan of such guitar-rock acts as The White Stripes — as well as the Strokes, the Vines and the Hives — has described his latest album as the CD he's been wanting to make for the past decade.

"And it was a coincidence that these new bands, this new wave of bands, were doing Alice and Iggy rock. So it was the perfect time to do it." S

Alice Cooper plays Innsbrook After Hours Aug. 4. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at innsbrookafterhours.com or at the gate.

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