When I look through my record collection there are not many other guitarists that feature as much as Ryan Roxie. Having recorded with the likes of Slash, Gilby Clarke, Electric Angels, Casablanca, Roxie 77, more than a few Alice Cooper albums and more, you could say that I am a fan.
Roxie is about to release his debut solo album “Imagine Your Reality”, and rather good it is too. There is no overblown filler here, what you get is 10 songs that are straight to the point, mostly weighing in at under 3 and a half minutes and all featuring some great guitar work, as you would expect.
“Big Rock Show” is the required big rock song to open the album, then from the nice and sleazy groove of “Over and Done” through to the cover of Coldplay’s “God Put A Smile Upon Your Face” there is a great mix of songs on offer. Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander joins the fun on a rendition of their “California Man”, “Uh Oh Song” grows from a simple opening to almost perfect pop rock. Then you have the dark and dirty riffage of “Nevermind Me” and a song that kind of explains itself “To Live and Die In LA”.
Also amongst the albums tracks is a 3 song section that lifts “Imagine Your Reality” above most other new albums I’ve heard this year. “Me Generation” could easily fit in to Alice Cooper’s stage show, “Look Me In The Eye” has an almost Beatles or Enuff Z Nuff like feel to it whilst “Hearts In Trouble” features a great riff and I can imagine it working well in a film, it reminds me of Dogs D’Amour for some reason, but yet sounds nothing like them.
Ryan Roxie has created an album here that will be hard to date looking back on it as he has embraced little bits of the musical past and put it together in a solid and very listenable 10 songs. *****
Review by Nikk Gunns
Long-time Alice Cooper guitarist Ryan Roxie releases his debut solo album “Imagine Your Reality” later this month and I recently caught up with him to discuss this, amongst other things.
Your new album “Imagine Your Reality” is out soon, sell it to me in one sentence-Ten songs, ten guitar solos. Now tell me a bit more about the album-
Damn, that’s all I got. Ha ha ha. I guess I’m doing my part to nudge guitar driven music back to the forefront. I’m tired of award ceremonies and music awards being dominated by too many pairs of headphones, I wanted some more guitars in there and not laptops.
You’ve played with the likes of Slash, Alice Cooper and members of Cheap Trick, is there anyone else you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Another band that sort of pushes guitars on every album that they make and sort of carry that torch of rock and roll, I think, is the Foo Fighters. They have a very seemingly similar family vibe to their band dynamics as the Alice Cooper band has to his, and I like that fact. They really do look like they enjoy themselves up on that stage, as we do.
Your website features a play along section to help people learn guitar, who are the guitarists that inspired you?
Well, I’d say pound for pound, Brian May, just one of the best all round guitar players. His guitars have a different style, having a look and obviously writing the songs, and having the voice.
Other guitar players that moulded me and sculpted me are guys who ike, always write songs and write solos to help out the songs, they don’t take over the song they actually compliment the song and collect great parts- guys like Neil Giraldo from Pat Benetar’s group, Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick , I’d say Elliot Easton from The Cars, names that are slightly under the radar. Steve Stevens from Billy Idol’s band, he’s known to have some colouring to his playing.
You’ve done radio, podcast and a webcast show- is there anything you’d like to turn your hand to that you haven’t yet?
Oh, streaking I guess. Ha ha ha.
You host parking lot meet and greets on tour, your fans obviously mean a lot to you?
Yes. I think that whenever there is an opportunity for other bandmates in Alice Cooper to come out and do it they will come out and they will be part of the parking lot. I’ve done it for so long now that it has just become a tradition and it’s almost as if I don’t, it’s like when you go to see a Pink show now- if she doesn’t fly around the audience like Tinkerbell, you’re gonna be disappointed.
I’m not trying to make our parking lots any more grandiose or hype them up any more than they are, it’s just a chance- I’ll be honest with you, it’s not just the fans getting a chance to meet me, it’s me getting a chance to feed off of their energy and to meet them, and to get hyped up for a show, because, I’ll be honest, backstage is not as wild and crazy as everybody says. I don’t care if you’re in the most controversial band in the world, in fact being in a controversial band you probably don’t even see each other before you go onstage.
So usually backstage is quite tame and quiet but I wanna get pumped up for a show, and so the best way to do it to go out and meet the crowd before and see where their energy is at and usually people are pretty damned excited.
Are there any future plans for more albums from Casablanca and Roxie 77?
Never close the door on either of those bands because I’m best of friends with the boys in Roxie 77, in fact we just celebrated our bassist’s birthday the other night at a small little club in Stockholm and we had a good time having a sort of reunion gig.
With Casablanca as well, the timing just hasn’t worked out for me to be part of another record but I would never close the door on it because I thought that the two records that I was a part of were really kick ass and I was happy with the end result, and I think pretty much everyone that was able to hear those records really understood that Anders Ljung is a very special frontman.
You’ve been one of Alice Cooper’s longest serving bandmates, did you look at Hollywood Vampires and think “F***!!!”?
Ha ha ha. I think that there’s a little bit of Hollywood Vampire in all of us, I actually feel that I am a Hollywood Vampire but by default because, in that sense that even though I haven’t toured with that band, they have come up on stage with us enough times that I understand the whole vibe and feeling of what it’s like to be in that situation. And I gotta say that night after night playing with those guys would be a hell of a ride but we also have a hell of a time playing that night after night with Alice Cooper.
Any message for your fans here in the UK?
You guys are my anchor to be honest with you. You guys are the home of Alice Cooper Sick Things. You’re the country that I am looking most forward to coming down and diving into pubs- I know there is a lot of them, and diving into clubs and doing a tour of the UK because I know you’ll all show up and then, when you guys do show up to the shows it’ll guilt the rest of Europe to coming out to our shows as well.
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