Alice Cooper plans to pay tribute to a sordid part of his past on his next album.
The veteran shock rocker tells Billboard he's "three-quarters of the way through" a covers album that will focus on what he calls "the time period of the Hollywood vampires," the hard-partying crew of the early- and mid-70s that included the likes of John Lennon, the Who's Keith Moon, Harry Nilsson, Ringo Starr and "honorary" guests such as T. Rex's Marc Bolan and Keith Allison of Paul Revere & the Raiders. The set will also include Sunset Strip forebears such as the Doors' Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. Bob Ezrin, who produced several of Cooper's 70s best-sellers as well as 2011's "Welcome 2 My Nightmare," is working on the set.
"We're really happy, all of us, everyone involved in the covers because it's pretty much what we wanted to do," Cooper says. "We specified a certain time period and said, 'Let's stay within that. Let's not move it around too much.' We don't want to be doing cover songs from the 80s and 90s when the Hollywood vampires kind of thing was more '73, '74, '75."
Currently on a headlining tour after spending June out with Marilyn Manson, Cooper and his band are previewing four of the covers in concert -- the Doors' "Break On Through (to the Other Side)," the Beatles' "Revolution," the Jimi Hendrix Experience's "Foxy Lady," a showpiece for guitarist Orianthi, and the Who's "My Generation." He's keep the rest of the song list under wraps for now, however.
"We have September off, so we'll probably take that time and just finish it," Cooper notes. "I think we could finish the whole thing in September and it'll be out, I would say, by early spring."
Cooper, meanwhile, is still buzzing about the dates with Manson, which he says were "great. Y'know, I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know him personally. I'd heard nothing but horror stories. Johnny Depp is one of his best friends; Johnny said he can be a handful, but I think Johnny talked to him and kind of backed him off a little bit. But (Manson) was nothing but respectful, a total pro. Honestly, it was a real flawless tour. I think we made converts of his audience, and there was an older audience that came that was suspect of him but liked him. So both of us benefited from this tour -- the elder myth and the new myth. It really did work, and I'm sure we'll do it again."
One Cooper project that's on ice for the moment is a full-fledged "Nightmare" show incorporating both the 2011 album and the original "Welcome To My Nightmare."
"I feel like if an album gets into the Top 10, I think you can dedicate a full show to it," Cooper explains. But ("Welcome 2's No. 22) peak on the Billboard 200 "wasn't enough to merit doing an entire show around it." But, he adds, the idea's not entirely dead.
"I think if we ever take Alice Cooper to Broadway, it would just be called 'Nightmare.' 'Welcome to My Nightmare' would be the first half and 'Welcome 2' would be the second half," he says. "That would work. That idea's always out there; you just have to wait until a producer comes long and says 'I love that idea.' I think maybe a little more time needs to go by before 'Nightmare' becomes sort of an American classic; then we'll have that validity to go and do the (Broadway) show."