WHO IS HE? The Coop. The Billion Dollar Baby. The Godfather of Shock Rock. The original Hollywood Vampire. Ol’ Black Eyes. The rocker with the best handicap on the links. And the senior citizen who still wears more makeup and leopard-print Spandex than all the Kardashians combined.
WHAT IS THIS? A six-track EP of covers and new originals that celebrate the garage-rock sound of his Detroit hometown — and welcome a slate of Motor City vets like MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, Grand Funk Railroad frontman Mark Farner, legendary Detroit Wheels drummer Johnny “Bee” Badanjek, Gories/Dirtbombs leader Mick Collins and jazz crooner Paul Randolph.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? The least-contrived and most down-to-earth music he’s made in ages. Freed from his glam-slam horror-rock straitjacket, Cooper lets his hair down and cuts loose on vintage deep cuts and hits from Bob Seger, Suzi Quatro, Mitch Ryder and The MC5. What more could you want?
WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Muscle Car of Love.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On cassette, blasting out of the speakers of a giant American convertible as you drive down the highway.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Hard-driving, aggressive, swaggering, old-school, genuine, joyous, raucous, gritty, energized, affectionate.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Hotwired takes on The MC5‘s Sister Anne, Quatro’s Your Mama Won’t Like Me and Seger’s East Side Story. His own cuts — the boogie-rocker Detroit City 2020 (a revamp of a 2003 cut) and the punky Go Man Go — are half-decent but basically inessential. Ditto his lounge version of Devil With A Blue Dress On — though his rendition of Chains of Love packs a mean groove.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘This should have been a whole album, with some Motown, Stooges and Ted Nugent songs.’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? You should get some decent mileage out of it.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE FUEL, WHAT KIND OF FUEL WOULD IT BE? High-octane premium.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? It’s worth the bucks, but it’s OK if you take it for a test-drive first.