|Ryan Roxie - 'The Roxie Box' (Bandcamp)|
|Written by Russ P|
|Wednesday, 01 August 2012 04:00|
Ryan Roxie's name only came to my attention as a result of his tenure in Alice Cooper's band. As a long term Alice Cooper fan my attention and enthusiasm had started to wane through his AOR and metal phases. That is until the personages of Ryan Roxie and Eric Dover stepped in and created something altogether lower slung, capturing some of the spirit of the original Alice Cooper band.
Unbeknownst to me (until 5 minutes ago) that wasn't my first brush with Ryan Roxie. The first being with Electric Angels many years prior. Through a friend I became quite attached to 'Dangerous Drug' and 'True Love And Other Fairy Tales' which found their way onto one side of a certain C90 cassette.
So my first listen to Roxie in his all of his solo glory comes in the form of this epic 70 song set comprising of his 'Dad's Porno Mag' album, and Roxie 77's 'Peace, Love And Armageddon' and 'Two Sides To Every Story'. It's plain from the outset, with 'Dad's Porno Mag', why Alice Cooper hired him. It's all there - the fire in the belly, the attitude and the songwriting skills. And I can't help but wonder what might have happened to Roxie if Alice hadn't come around - another criminally undiscovered talent?
Things get better and better as we move along. 'Peace, Love And Armageddon' ups the production ante with longtime friend Gilby Clarke co-piloting the flying faders. Roxie's vocal style I hear as being somewhere between Donnie Vie and Dan Reed. 'Beat 'Em' has a funky edge to it and also a cracking riff. The shared female vocals give it a definite edge and a Family Stand-like quality to it. Superb song.
'Love Is War' goes a long way towards the definite proclamation that both Ryan Roxie and Eric Dover are the strongest songwriters - and performers in their own rights - that Alice has ever worked with. Definitely not the sidemen that you may have previously thought.
Next up we have Roxie 77's 'Two Sides To Every Story', which Uber Rock has previously reviewed here. I'll only add that 'Gimme Some Groove' has an immense intro reminiscent of Alice Cooper's 'Muscle Of Love' while the rest has a rock and roll surf vibe and a faint reminder of a later Alice tune 'Dance Yourself To Death'. Loving that.
Finishing off the box set is a collection of demos and masters of rare material. Though at 22 songs clocking in at well over an hour things are far from finished. 'Takin' a Vacation' in particular may be a demo or a master but is indistinguishable from the quality of the preceding album material. It's only four tracks in that 'demo' is in evidence starting with 'Bombshell'. They're good sounding demos with the only distraction being some over-cooked toms on some of the later tracks.
A prime candidate for a re-recording is 'Gonna Get You' - a funky, dirty upbeat tune with soulful female backing vocals not entirely unlike the aforementioned 'Beat 'Em'. '24-Hour Man' has a straight ahead no frills early Kiss sound about it. I can even imagine that Paul Stanley is singing on it. 'Too Bad You're God' is like one of those slow bluesy shuffles that Enuff Z'Nuff are so good at.
Already divisive within the Uber Rock ranks 'The Roxie Box' contains such a plethora of material that what you pick as your favourite moments are sure to be at odds with the next man. For me it just might be the raw rock and roll of Dad's Porno Mag that tips the balance.