“Some Folks” was another brilliant performance by Alice Cooper on his Welcome to My Nightmare album, and, yet again, one with some crazy, wacky, and hilarious lyrics. I did all the solo-y bits on this song. Producer Bob Ezrin would often have me do all the solos on some tunes, then co-guitarist Dick Wagner would do all the solo stuff on others, and on a few tracks, we would trade solos. I think Bob’s approach was about keeping the vibe and character of each song unique.
I had fun playing this song. For one thing, I love shuffles. There’s just something wonderful about playing against a swing feel. Second, it’s a great progression for playing blues/rock over, because it’s very wide open with lots of freedom. What made “Some Folks” even more fun was its haunted cabaret feel. It’s almost as if you could have heard this tune playing at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.
I came into the studio on one of my off days when Alice wasn’t working, because I figured if something was going on, I could learn something. The recording process fascinated me, and I wanted to learn as much as possible about it. So that day, Jack Richardson, who had produced all the Guess Who records, was listening to a playback of some guitar overdubs. There were some really cool phrases going on, and I asked Jack about the guitar player. He told me it was Domenic Troiano, who had replaced Randy Bachman after he had left to form Bachman Turner Overdrive. Domenic was a brilliant player and a great guy. Sadly, he passed away several years ago, but he is worth checking out. At the listening session, I loved his use of sixths and thirds in a rock/pop context. I mention this, because Domenic was the inspiration for some of the phrases I used on the verses to “Some Folks.”
When it came to the actual solo, I wanted to do something really different than a jammed-out blues solo. As I was listening to the playback, it hit me—George Gershwin! I was then—and still am now—an enormous Gershwin fan. His writing and chord harmony has always blown me away. As soon as I started thinking “Gershwin,” the solo just came straight out. I wanted it to be sassy and sexy like Gershwin, and I think I got pretty close. I was really happy with the results.
It always amazes me where inspiration can come from, and how it can pull a solo straight out of your soul and fingers. This is one of the countless reasons I love the guitar so much.