Alice Cooper has revealed that his next album will be titled Paranormal, and it’s scheduled to hit stores in July.
The album will be his 27th studio record and first solo effort since 2011’s Welcome 2 My Nightmare. It will feature guest appearances from ZZ Top‘s Billy Gibbons, three members of the original Alice Cooper group and, most surprisingly, U2‘s Larry Mullen Jr. on drums.
Speaking to Eddie Trunk on his SiriusXM Trunk Nation show, Cooper said producer Bob Ezrin was the one to suggest recruiting Mullen Jr. for the sessions: “I said, ‘that’s a great idea, it’ll change things up so much, just on the basic tracks.’”
Mullen had a rather surprising method of preparing for the collaboration, asking to see the lyrics for the songs he was working on. “He said, ‘I play to the lyrics, I don’t play to the bass,’” Cooper explained. “And I said that is so cool, just the idea that you’re interpreting the lyrics on the drums. It totally makes the album another album.”
Gibbons plays guitar on a song called “I’ve Fallen in Love and I Can’t Get Up.” “After we cut the record I said, ‘If BIlly Gibbons doesn’t play on this, we shouldn’t put this one out,’” Cooper declared. “Because it is just so him. And [when] he got the record, he said, ‘I got the flu, but, man, this song makes me feel better.’ He just killed it.”
Drummer Neal Smith, guitarist Michael Bruce and bassist Dennis Dunaway — three members of the original Alice Cooper group — helped write and will perform on three songs on Paranormal.
Cooper shared the story of how he applied his trademark warped touch to one of those tracks, “I Wanna Be a Genuine American Girl”: “It was going to be ‘I Want a Genuine American Girl’ … and I went, ‘No, no, no, ‘I Wanna Be a Genuine American Girl!’ It’s really a tough song, it’s this guy going “I gotta paint my nails, gotta do my hair … ”
Cooper also revealed that the album title shouldn’t lead fans to think they are in store for a supernatural concept album. “It’s not really a scary record … but [instead] paranormal meaning ‘other than normal,’” he explained. “This is not a normal Alice record. Bob and I decided, no theme this time, we’re gonna make a record of things that just get us off, things that we like. And it might go in a lot of directions.”
Still, he promised the record will appeal to longtime fans, noting the days of platinum sales and crossover hit singles are long gone for himself and peers such as Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones. “Those days are over, the golden age is over,” he said. “I have a world of fans out there, and it took me 45 years to build that fan base. So when I make records now, I’m making them for those people. I’m not trying to break a new audience.”
Cooper will be touring throughout 2017 with his solo band. You can get all the latest dates at his official website. He also revealed that his Hollywood Vampires bandmate Johnny Depp is filming five movies this year so he can take all of 2018 off. This will allow the group — which also features Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry — to record a studio follow-up (“all originals this time”) to their covers-heavy 2015 self-titled debut and then mount a world tour.