As the cold winter drags on and we await the renewal of spring, our news feeds this week have been adorned with many of rock’s more colourful, larger-than-life blooms. Grandaddy of ‘em all is Alice Cooper, who revealed on Friday that he’s currently working on two new albums. Over 50 years since the teenage Vincent Furnier embarked on his crazy rock n’ roll journey, the now 68-year-old rock legend is working on a second album with shit-the-bed supergroup Hollywood Vampires – also featuring Johnny Depp, Joe Perry, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum – as well as his own 27th studio album. “I’m working on two albums at once right now,” the Coop told ABC News, “and I’m gonna be on two tours this summer. I got my own tour and then I got the Vampires tour. So, I don’t get a rest.”
He also revealed that he’s written new material with three original members of the Alice Cooper band, Neal Smith, Mike Bruce and Dennis Dunaway. “When the original Alice Cooper band broke up in 1974, we broke up as friends. We never broke up as enemies,” he explained, adding “there’s never been any bad blood between any of us.” Elsewhere this week, Alice and the Hollywood Vampires gleefully confused the hell out of the Grammys by blasting Ace Of Spades to an audience of unwitting pop industry types in Los Angeles, in tribute to Lemmy.
Alice isn’t the only shock rock icon resurfacing this week with a tribute to a recently deceased icon. One-time God Of Fuck Marilyn Manson has teamed up with country star Shooter Jennings for a cover of David Bowie’s 1982 single Cat People (Putting Out Fire) – a collaboration with producer Giorgio Moroder. Shooter – the son of Dukes Of Hazzard balladeer Waylon – revealed a neat bit of synchronicity about the song choice. “I invited Marilyn to a party, and I said, ‘You know Cat People? You’d sound awesome doing it.’ He was like, ‘I sing that song every night before I go on stage.’” Manson this week also announced a North American tour alongside Slipknot.
Elsewhere in metal, everybody’s favourite tech-death J-pop hater-baiters Babymetal unveiled the artwork (basically a big shiny logo) and tracklist for their forthcoming second album Metal Resistance, appropriately enough due on April Fool’s Day – or ‘Fox Day’, as the band have renamed it (it’s also the day before they play London’s Wembley Arena). “I continue to believe that the songs of Babymetal continue to push them forward to discover new possibilities,” band mastermind Kobametal opined. Advance cut KARATE is available from February 25th.
However you feel about Babymetal, the accusations of contrived gimmickry are the same that faced Cooper, Manson and Slipknot in the early stages of their careers, and their zany energy and mystifying song titles at least attempt to distract us from the disturbing allegations that emerged this week from Lita Ford’s forthcoming autobiography Living Like A Runaway. According to the New York Post, the book includes the ex-Runaways star’s account of her troubled relationship with Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, then at the peak of his drug addiction. “After snorting tons of blow, he got angry and choked me unconscious,” alleges Lita, adding that Iommi then tried to smash a chair into her face. There has been no comment yet from the Iommi camp.
We need some happy news to end on. Thankfully, Metallica have risen to the challenge by revealing plans for some jaw-dropping reissues of their first two albums. Between them the Kill ‘Em All and Ride The Lightning ultra-deluxe box-set remasters contain eleven CDs, eight vinyl records, two DVDs, two hardback books, three posters and a patch. Stuffed with unheard demos, rough mixes, contemporary interviews, live shows and unseen photos, the only thing to dampen the ardour of any salivating Metallifan is the sets’ combined price of $300… Typical Metallica, you wait ages for a remaster then they suddenly go all binge-and-purge shit-nuts.