Alice Cooper says he’s locked and loaded for his next album, a mostly covers collection paying tribute to the so-called Hollywood Vampires crowd he ran with during the early ’70s. And the set features an all-star list of collaborations with Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Johnny Depp and others.
“The album’s done. It’s mixed, ready to go and I’m very, very happy with it,” Cooper told Billboard on Thursday night before playing some of the songs at the VIP grand opening of designer John Varvatos’ new store in their shared home town of Detroit. “I’m really happy with all the stuff on it. McCartney’s on it. Zak (Starkey)’s on it. Dave Grohl is on it, (AC/DC frontman) Brian Johnson — and in places where you wouldn’t expect them to be, that’s the cool thing.” Aerosmith‘s Joe Perry has also said he’s on the album, which has no set release date yet, although Cooper said he hopes it will come out later this year.
Cooper wrote one new song for the collection, “All My Dead Drunk Friends,” with Depp and producer Bob Ezrin, but he played coy about what the specific covers are. “I can’t really say right now, but if you think of it, who were the Hollywood Vampires? John Lennon was there. Jim Morrison was an early Vampire. We had Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon of course, Harry Nilsson, Marc Bolan. Those guys were all Vampires,” the rocker explains.
During the hour-long Varvatos show, Cooper and his band did cover Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” The Doors‘ “Break On Through (To the Other Side)” and The Who‘s “My Generation” — all Vampires-related songs — as well as The Rolling Stones‘ “Brown Sugar.” “Tonight we’re a bar band — no guillotines, no snakes,” he told the crowd that packed the store. “So anything you want to hear, just yell it out.”
To qualify for inclusion on the album, he added with a laugh, “the performers have to be dead. Or mentally dead. Or should be dead.”
Cooper was part of a star-studded night at pal Varvatos’ party, whose guest list included model Kate Upton and her boyfriend, Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, Michael Bolton, Dwele, Scott Morgan of the Rationals, Eddie Baranek of the Sights, Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron and graduated University of Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner. Varvatos and Cooper’s daughter, actress Calico Cooper, joined the shock rocker — one of the designer’s first endorsers during the early ’00s — on stage for the “School’s Out” finale.
Cooper returns to the road as special guest for Motley Crue‘s farewell tour on May 9 in Australia, heading to Europe in June and returning to North America in mid-July. He said the Crue hasn’t yet answered his offer to put each of them in his guillotine when they play their final show on New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles.
“I don’t even know if we’re on that show,” Cooper said. “We’re doing so many shows with them, but I don’t know if we go all the way to New Year’s. But I still think they should get their heads chopped off at the end of it. When I said that, everybody laughed — and Tommy (Lee) went, ‘Hmmm…not a bad idea.’ So we’ll see.”