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2001 – Part 4.3: Alice Cooper – Dragontown

Alice Cooper did really well between the difficult periods of 1993 and 2003 for rock artists. It didn’t matter what kind of music came out, the Alice Cooper brand was known for doing things different. The 70’s output alone is very diverse. The experimental early 80’s period, although not commercially successful, introduced new wave sounds into the mix. His stage shows bordered on the horror and macabre, with a lot of theatre thrown in. And one thing I do know as a fan of the horror genre, you don’t just stop being a fan.

Then “Trash” came out with its slick “hair metal” production and Alice was really back. His stage shows got even more extravagant and he hasn’t looked back since.

“Hey Stoopid”, the concept album “The Last Temptation” and “Brutal Planet” which told us we are all going to die, continued his brand in the 90’s.

And then there is “Dragontown” was released in 2001.

The band is Alice Cooper on Vocals, Ryan Roxie on Guitar and Greg Smith on Bass.

The studio session Guitar players are Wayne Swinny from the band Saliva and Tim Pierce who did a lot of session work and can be heard doing guitar on songs like “Runaway” from Bon Jovi, “Don’t Dream It’s Over” from Crowded House, “Iris” from Goo Goo Dolls and “Black Or White” from Michael Jackson.

Producer Bob Marlette plays about every string related instrument like Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Keyboards and String Arrangements.

Sid Riggs is on Keyboards and programming and Kenny Aronoff on Drums.

Backing Vocals are provided by Teddy Andreadis, Eric Dover, Calico Cooper and Gionvanna Morana.

If the first two names of the backing vocalists look familiar, they should, as Teddy has done a lot of work with G’n’R and Dover was the singer in Slash’s Snakepit. And the third backing vocalist is Alice Cooper himself, making an appearance as Calico.

All tracks are written by Alice Cooper and producer Bob Marlette.

Triggerman

The sound is definitely on that industrial hard rock style that bands like White Zombie, Coal Chamber and Orgy did.

But in its essence, it’s still a rock song.

Just listen to the Chorus, its 60’s pop. And the ending is in the vein of “Paradise City”.

I am always out of sight
A shadow in the mist
I don’t need no alibi, cos
I don’t exist

Lyrically, it’s about a nobody, a person ignored by society, a person who doesn’t exist, but when that trigger is pulled, they do exist.

Deeper

A very heavy and down tuned chugging riff opens the song. The Pre-Chorus is haunting, with the symphonic Church sermon like voices.

Down and down and down we go
We’re in a deadly spin

Dragontown

An ominous like Intro begins it.

Then Alice starts his vocal melodies.

Well, here you are
Lying bleeding on a grimy street
See the broken glass sparkling darkly
As it cuts your feet

So descriptive.

The Pre Chorus is heavy and I like the vocal melody when Alice is singing, “come on, I’ve got something to show you”.

And the Chorus tells the story of how anyone can disappear in “Dragontown”.

This song is as good as any “metal” song released during this period.

Sex, Death and Money

This cut could have been on a Rod Zombie album. And the Alice sarcasm is back as by the end of the song, we are all going to fry because of our lack of morality.

Sex, death and money, sonny
Makes this wicked world go round
Sex, death and money
It’s the Gospel here in Dragontown

Amen to that.

Fantasy Man

You just want to squeeze my masculinity
Why can’t you leave it alone

It feels like a cut from “Hey Stoopid”, a mixture between “Hurricane Years” and “Feed My Frankenstein”.

Somewhere in the Jungle

From reading the lyrics, you get the idea that somewhere in the jungle the devil is laughing, as an African genocide takes place, making even the wild animals run away from the madness and slaughter while the million bodies are piled on top of each other, arms and legs, feet and hands.

It’s heavy like Ozzy’s “My Jekyll Doesn’t Hide”.

Disgraceland

Downtuned 12-bar blues. That’s what this song is.

An Elvis Presley inspired verse, which also reminds me of a cross between Johnny Cash, Chris Issak and George Thorogood.

And Alice is doing a commentary on the absurdity of how the greatest rock ‘n’ roll hero of all time died on a toilet.

Sister Sara

How low can a guitar go?

In this song, very low.

And like “Sister Mary” in Operation Mindcrime, “Sister Sara” is in a bit of trouble. While “Sister Mary” had issues with an terrorist organisation controlling sleeper cells, “Sister Sara” gets caught with the Bishop and many other cardinal sins to feed her habit.

Every Woman Has a Name

An acoustic guitar arpeggio riff starts it off and Alice tells the story how dreams of youth are taken away by the cold hard and unforgiven world we live in.

I Just Wanna Be God

A bone crunching intro riff starts it off reminding me of Godsmack, Monster Magnet, Mudvayne, Static X and I like it.

And there’s a killer solo as well.

It’s Much Too Late

Then this one kicks in, more Country Rock and totally out of leftfield.

Alice is in his demented “Steven” character voice.

The road to hell is littered
with nice guys with good intentions
But once you’re there, you’re there

The Sentinel

And the album is rounded out by another dose of massive industrial downtuned riffs.

I am the sentinel
I want the world to know
I’m sending you all to hell
I’m tired and I’m wired here to blow

Amen. The countdown has begun.

While none of the songs became concert staples, the album did what it needed to do. Get Alice Cooper on the road.

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6 thoughts on “2001 – Part 4.3: Alice Cooper – Dragontown

  1. Great backstory Pete. Very true that even though the musical climate changed, Coop just kept doing what he needed to do when others ran and hid from Cobain’s tattered Cardigan!

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