As he prepares for the "dream" of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Monday (Mar. 14), Alice Cooper is also delivering a nightmare.
Make that another nightmare. This fall, the shock rocker will be releasing "Welcome 2 My Nightmare," a sequel to his 1975 concept album "Welcome to My Nightmare" -- his first "solo" release after the break-up of the original Alice Cooper band. Cooper tells Billboard.com that the project grew out of a desire to work again with original "Nightmare" producer Bob Ezrin, but on a sequel to another of his albums.
"I had an idea to do a part two to (2008's) 'Along Came a Spider,' " Cooper says. "I came to Bob with it, and he listened and goes, 'Eh. I would be more excited if 'Along Came a Spider' was a No. 1 record.' He wasn't really into it. Then we started talking about 'Welcome to My Nightmare's' 35th anniversary or something like that, and he said, 'What if Alice had another nightmare?' All I was trying to do was get Bob to say, 'Yeah, I want to produce the album,' so we found a place where both of us really felt comfortable, and that was doing 'Nightmare 2.' "
The album features some other familiar faces from Cooper's past. The original "Nightmare" tandem of Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner played on the album, while Vince Gill plays on a track called "Runaway Train." And surviving Cooper band members Michael Bruce, Dennis Dunaway and Neal Smith reunited on the track "When Hell Comes Home." "I was going to go in and say, 'What I want this thing to have is this live, 70s sound -- but I didn't have to say that. That's just the way they play," Cooper recalls. "They just had that sound you couldn't go in and try to direct them to get. That's the normal way they play. I said to Bob, 'I don't want it to sound any different than that."
"Nightmare 2," meanwhile, will have plenty of similarities to its predecessor. "There are certain songs where we let some of the themes from (the original) 'Nightmare' slip in," Cooper says. "All of a sudden you'll hear the little piano part from 'Steven' or from 'The Awakening.' I wanted (the albums) to be married together. I think we even make reference to a couple of characters from the original (album)."
Though planning to play an "Alice hits" set on tour this year, Cooper is planning a full-fledged "Nightmare 2" show for 2012. Meanwhile, he's gearing up for the Alice Cooper band's Rock Hall induction in New York, where the group -- joined by Hunter in place of the late Glen Buxton -- will play a three-song set that will include "School's Out" and two others still being determined.
"We're actually getting special tuxedos made, special Alice Cooper tuxedos," Cooper says. "We'll do the tuxedos, but it'll definite be our style. It'll be within our sense of humor." And, he adds, the induction "is terrific. The whole idea of finally being in that club, and the great thing about it is...it's your peers that voted you in, the guys that you actually watched on 'Shindig' and 'Hullabaloo' and all that, and they're the guys voting on you. That's a really nice thing."