Ryan Roxie has cemented his reputation as one of the stalwarts of Alice Cooper’s band – and rejoined the king of shock rock in 2012 after a six-year hiatus.
But this year is all about revisiting the very best of Roxie’s work beyond the Coop as he unleashes the four-CD Roxie Box.
Featuring three expanded albums and a bonus disc of unreleased racks, demos and outtakes it’s a fascinating reminder of the Sweden-based fret burner’s incredible talent.
Next Sunday we’ll bring you more of the very best of January’s hot new rock and metal!
Genre: Hard Rock
In the age of faceless, dispassionate downloads and reality television pop dirge the chance to spend time in the company of a good, old fashioned box set crammed full of hard rock goodness is a golden opportunity too good to miss.
It is Ryan Roxie’s penchant for the nostalgic and his acute sense of history that inspired The Roxie Box in all its tactile glory. And while it may be far from the complete record of a career spanning four decades it recalls an age when classic songs were complemented by packaging painstakingly produced to make listening to music a more complete experience.
Flip the lid of this four-CD treasure trove and there’s a lovingly compiled booklet describing each of the tunes here with Roxie laying bare the emotions behind some truly eclectic rock.
There’s the raw, punky, funky sleaze of D.P.M. – a little-heard late 90s snapshot of post-Electric Angels energy that never appears entirely focused and is all the better for it. Then there’s the Beatles-inspired Peace, Love & Armageddon – the first Roxie 77 record released in 2004 and still sounding incredibly fresh almost a decade down the line. Beat ‘Em evokes memories of White Trash’s sparkling debut and there’s more than enough funk to make this more than your average 60s pop rock homage.
Two Sides To Every Story – Roxie 77’s 2009 follow-up featuring the current Swedish line-up – continues the theme for mixing it up and keeping it real. On each of the three full-length records re-released here predictability is never an issue. Just as Roxie has surrounded himself with so many wide and varied projects over the years his albums scream diversity and ambition. Familiar riffs don’t have to equate to frustrating repetition: Roxie may have created a signature sound but that sound knows no boundaries.
Those who still regard Electric Angels’ self-titled 1990 debut as an example of Roxie’s very best work will be disappointed that there’s no nod to that legendary opus here but it was never going to be that way. Instead this is evidence of a prolific and creative career beyond the songwriter’s day job with Alice Cooper – a job he returned to after a six-year hiatus last year.
And it’s important to emphasise that these are not mediocre recordings always destined to become ‘side-project miscellany’ – the Roxie 77 records are outstanding albums in their own right and the band’s next offering can’t come soon enough. Even the fourth disc of ‘rarities’ will pique the interest of any rock aficionado with 22 bonus cuts bund to spark further debate.
Roxie is a proven live performer, the go-to guy for so many of the West Coast’s seasoned rockers and, in 2013, an increasingly key figure at the heart of the blooming Scandinavian scene. The Roxie Box is his statement of intent, proud legacy and the physical proof of classic rock’s longevity all rolled into one: if that Christmas money’s still burning a hole in your pocket then this is the best value package we’ve seen all year… Simon Rushworth
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Roxie Music