IT is 36 years since Alice Cooper released his career-breaking Welcome To My Nightmare album – and it’s sequel has brought a new shock.
Forget all the beheadings, electrocution and various other blood-letting that has befallen either him or his band members down the decades, it was the input of sleazy pop star Ke$ha that has had tongues wagging on his latest album.
But Alice is swift to defend the potty-mouthed miss who affectionately calls him “dad” after co-writing/duetting on What Baby Wants.
“I like people that don’t belong and yet what they’re doing works perfectly,” says Alice of the collaboration.
“I think a lot of my audience is going to go ‘KE$HA!?’, but she probably wrote the most disgusting lyrics in the song – we had to rein her in. I like people to know that just because artists are put in a pigeonhole, that doesn’t mean that’s what they are. Give people a little room.
“I don’t care where it comes from, as long as it’s right. If you tell me something doesn’t work, I’ll work my socks off until it does then shove it down your throat.”
While the blonde one might not follow Alice to Sheffield City Hall on Tuesday, fellow rock veteran Arthur Brown does join him for the Hallowe’en Night Of Fear.
Welcome 2 My Nightmare was recorded with longtime collaborator Bob Ezrin who produced the original record that spawned a global theatrical tour and cemented Alice as a visionary trailblazer.
The new album picks up where they left off, with Alice trapped in his own warped mind, in a year that saw the original Alice Cooper group inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame, and Alice honoured with both the Kerrang! Icon Award and the Revolver Golden God Award in the USA.
“This is Alice’s nightmare 35 years later,” says the star, who was joined by Johnny Depp on guitar at the album’s intimate London launch.
Alice’s latest musical contribution ranges from trashing disco to garage punk, pop balladry to a rocker in the vein of the Rolling Stones. One song, a ballad called Something To Remember Me By, is described by Alice as “the prettiest song we have ever released.”
Besides Ke$ha, other collaborators included guitar innovator Steve Hunter, Buckcherry’s Keith Nelson, Desmond Child (who co-wrote and produced massive Alice hit Poison) and film composer Jeremy Rubolino.
“The music crosses all sorts of boundaries; we went where the lyrics took us,” adds Alice, who brought in original band members Dennis Dunaway, Michael Bruce and Neal Smith for stand-out track When Hell Comes Home and two other songs.
“I wanted a ’70s feel and I didn’t even have to ask for it, it’s just how they play and they did it live in the studio. That sound is built into their DNA. We didn’t need to go and fix anything. The way they finished was a little bit ragged but that’s the way we used to finish songs, that’s what I like about it.”