Alice Cooper: Hey Stoopid Reissue (Cherry Red Records)
‘Hey Stoopid,’ originally released in 1991, was Alice Cooper’s 19th release. It was recorded during a period of renewed commercial success for Cooper, coming as it did hot on the heals of ‘Trash,’ which spawned the Top 10 hit ‘Poison.’ However, it failed to repeat that albums success so is the time is right for a re-appraisal? We find out below.
In the 1980s, it’s fair to say Vincent Furnier, better known as shock rock legend Alice Cooper, had had a torrid time. Alcohol addiction alongside a stint in a mental asylum and an output that is usually swept under the rug all contributed to the demise of an icon. However, as the 1980s drew to a close Alice Cooper rediscovered his mojo. 1989s Trash unleashed the monstrous hit; Poison. As well as this, it was a welcome return to form. With the dawn of the 1990s, Grunge ruled, so the follow up to a hugely successful album was always going to be tough with the onslaught of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and The Smashing Pumpkins.
Luckily, Hey Stoopid delivered. Whilst not being quite as strong as Trash, there are some stone cold classics on the album. The album opener and title track has a very distinctive opening with its chanted chorus opening. Couple this with its immense catchiness and it makes for a great opener. As well as its radio friendly, catchy sound, the track features heavyweight guitar contributions from G ‘n R’s Slash and Joe Satriani. The backing vocal ranks are also swelled by a certain Ozzy Osbourne.
Guest slots are par for the course on Hey Stoopid. As well as the aforementioned, there are appearances from Frank Zappa’s protégé; Steve Vai, UFO’s Vinnie Moore and Motley Crue stalwarts Nikki Sixx and Mick Mars.
Guests aside, it’s Alice Cooper’s band who are the centre of attention on the anthemic ‘Love’s a Loaded Gun’ and harder edged ‘Snakebite.’ Both tracks have a large synth element, but the hard rock element is definitely not lost. The Satriani featuring ‘Burning Our Bed’ is a massive, acoustic laden ballad with huge power ballad leanings which finds Cooper in lamentful mood. Whilst being particularly cheesy in parts, the fretwork from Satriani is quite superb. ‘Dangerous Tonight’ is another fine slice of anthemic hard rock. The long, long ballad ‘Might As Well be On Mars’ is up next. Whilst again being very well produced, the track struggles to achieve its huge, epic, string laden peak. It threatens to soar, but unfortunately it mainly whimpers. That being said, there is more excellent solo work here.
As the whimpering finishes, ‘Feed My Frankenstein’ dispels all memory of whimpering balladry! It is without doubt the albums highlight and choc full of stunning musicianship from the long list of guests. A guitar aficionado would be able to pick out different solos from the alumni here – however it’s the rolling riffs and great chorus that gets right in your head. The track was also immortalised in the classic movie, Wayne’s World. Cooper himself also appeared in the film with the timeless ‘we’re not worthy…’ scene.
The second half of the album is another solid selection of great recordings. ‘Dirty Fingers’ is menacing in its vocal delivery, and ‘Die for You’ is another track that walks the line between hard rock and ballad. Closer, ‘Wind Up Toy’ again sees Satriani blossoming on the guitar.
This reissue also comes packaged with three bonus tracks; an alternate version of ‘Hey Stoopid,’ a cover of Jimi Hendrix’ ‘Fire,’ and a solitary b-side in the form of ‘It Rained All Night.’ The most ardent Cooper fan will already have the extra tracks so it’s hard to see the appeal to those fans unless they are avid collectors. With that though, this album is a worthy addition to any Alice Cooper collection. With its wealth of highly skilled guests, great song writing, and a resurgent Cooper, it’s great to see the album being reissued. In 2013, Alice Cooper is still one of the best in the business when it comes to playing live; with the songs contained herein, it’s no wonder why!
All words by By Dom Walsh. You can read more by Dom on Louder Than War here & follow him on Twitter if you’re so minded.