The Alice Cooper Band, 2003.
The 'Eyes Of Alice Cooper' saw a much more stripped back "garage" sound then the preceeding two records. Rather than repeating the same formula again Alice wanted to move on, and inspired by the new garage bands like The White Stripes and The Strokes he decided to strip everything back to the bare essentials - guitars, bass and drums - and with that in mind he took his touring band into the studio to write and record the whole album.
"When I began hearing these new bands, they all sounded fresh and exciting, but they also sounded familiar because it's so similar to the music we made when we were starting out. It's the kind of rock and roll I have always loved to listen to and always loved to create. I realized that I had been wanting to do an album like this for so long, and it came together so quickly."
All the songs were written by guitarists Ryan Roxie and Eric Dover at Dover's home studio, and at friend Gilby Clarke's home studio. Once they were ready to record they needed to find a producer who understood what they wanted to do. Producer 'Mudrock' had made his name a few years earlier working with nu-metal bands like Godsmack and Powerman 5000 (who incidently feature frontman 'Spider One', Rob Zombies younger brother) and Alice was introduced to him by chance while rehearsing at Mates Rehearsal Studios at the end of May. Mudrock had heard the new songs through the wall but didn't know who it was. When he found out he asked Alice who was going to produce the new album. Alice replied "I don't really know, we're talking to a few different producers." "I'm a producer" came the immediate response. "So have you produced anything I might have heard or liked?" And so Alice invited Mudrock into the rehearsal room to hear the songs properly and meet the band.
The album was recorded pretty much live in the studio at the beginning of June 2003 and took around two weeks. In interviews Alice liked to suggest they wrote a song in the morning and recorded it in the afternoon but that wasn't really the case. However the whole process was completed very quickly. Part of the reason was that they had a fairly short period of time to get the album recorded before they had to head back out on tour, but another reason was that Alice wanted to capture the spontaneity of a live recording, something often lost in an age of computers and pro-tools where musicians may never even be in the studio at the same time. To further avoid a studio vibe they moved arcoss the road from the Mates Reahearsal Rooms to a disused room and set up a recording studio there. The basic backing tracks for 'Eyes...' were all recorded live in the studio with everyone playing at the same time. Minimal overdubs were added afterwards.
The album wasn't particularly successful in terms of chart performance, only reaching#184 in the US and #112 in the UK, although it did slightly better in other European countries. Promotional CDs were sent out for 'Novocaine', 'Man Of The Year', 'Love Should Never Feel Like His' and and 'The Song That Didn't Rhyme' but no retail single was released.
'Detroit City' features additional guitar from legendary MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, who just happened to drop by Gilby Clarke's studio when Alice and the band were working there. The song is a tribute to the early days of the Detroit rock scene, when the primal energy of Alice Cooper, The Stooges, MC5, Ted Nugent and many others was changing rock'n'roll forever.
'Spirits Rebellious' was a title that has been floating around for some years as a possible album title and was considered again for this one. Other titles considered for the album included 'American Idle', 'Man Hole', 'Recipe For Disaster' and 'Man Of The Year'.
According to Ryan Roxie the voice heard growling in the background during the middle of 'I'm So Angry' is actually Mudrock.
For the album cover Alice returned to a variation of his original spider-eye 'Love It To Death' make up he'd not used since 1971. It was used to tie into the whole 'garage band just starting out" vide of the album and was also used on the subsequent tour. When the album was released it came in four slightly different covers. On each version Alice's eyes on the cover and CD, and the crescent around the 'A' in the title, could be blue, green, purple or red. After the inital release all late copies featured the red highlights. Another unusual feature of the cover is that on the back it featured a photograph of the whole band, something that hadn't happened since the original Alice Cooper split up in 1974.
Even more unsual was the fact that when the band headed out on the 'Bare Bones' tour they started including tracks from then unreleased album during the encores. At least six songs appeared live before the record was released: 'Detroit City', 'Between High School and the Old School', 'What Do You Want From Me?', 'Man Of the Year', 'Novocaine' and 'I'm So Angry'. There was no rhyme or reason to which song to played on a given night. Alice just chose one at random, with some appearing several times and others only once or twice.