How Alice Cooper’s ‘Paranormal’ Became An Accidental Concept Album
New out today is Paranormal, the latest album from Alice Cooper.
It’s one of the veteran shock rocker’s most ambitious albums, featuring a variety of guests — including U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr., ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and Deep Purple’s Roger Glover — as well as two songs recorded with surviving original Alice Cooper band members Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith.
Cooper tells us Paranormal started out as a straightforward album but wound up having a loose kind of concept by the time it was finished:
“That was no concept and accidentally became a concept. I mean, I wrote a bunch of rock songs — we actually wrote, like 20 and ended up with 13 and that was the whole prerequisite, just say it’s got to be 13 songs that get us all off. Then I listened to it the third time and went, ‘I accidentally wrote a concept album’ because, lyrically, every single character has some sort of abnormal, paranormal problem going on and I didn’t have a name for the album, so ‘Paranormal’ ended up sounding like the things that connected us all together. It wasn’t paranormal on a level of ghosts or UFOs or Bigfoot; It was just paranormal on the fact it was next to normal. It certainly wasn’t normal.”
Cooper is currently touring in Europe and begins a North American swing with Deep Purple and Edgar Winter on August 12. He’ll also be doing a U.K. tour in the fall that will feature the original band members as well as Cooper’s current band.
Gary Graff is an award-winning music journalist who not only covers music but has written books on Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.