Veteran shock-rocker Alice Cooper is pulling out all the ghoulish stops for his summer tour 

Welcome to his nightmare

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Alice Cooper has gotten to work on his next studio release, and so far it's shaping up to be a ... killer album.

"I've always liked the idea that Alice Cooper has always been a Detroit rock band. We've always been a hard rock band, guitar rock, and I'll never give that up," Cooper says in a phone interview. "But every once in awhile, though, there's just a flavor of what album do we want to go to here to give it that flavor. And it seems to be going toward the Killer album. ... You can never go back and totally recapture it, but you can certainly look at the elements that made that album work the way it did."

It's early in the writing process, but Cooper says that in addition to its sound, what might also connect the next album to Killer will be a mini-reunion of the original Alice Cooper Band on the next album. "I wrote three or four songs with [Alice Cooper Band drummer] Neil Smith and [guitarist] Mike Bruce," Cooper says. "And so we worked together in Phoenix for about two weeks just writing songs and demoing songs. And you never know which ones are going to make the album, but I said let's do that.

"Dennis Dunaway [bassist in the Alice Cooper Band] wrote two or three things," the singer adds. "We haven't seen those yet, but I know Dennis has always written great stuff. It's fun to go back and work with guys you haven't worked with in a while. It's not trying to recapture your youth. It's trying to recapture a sound. And it's a very elusive sound."

Those three musicians (along with lead guitarist Glen Buxton), of course, played on the original Killer album, released in 1971. That album, along with Cooper's next two albums, 1972's School's Out and 1973's Billion Dollar Babies, are considered peak Cooper albums that not only established him as a major star, but also solidified his rowdy, garage-ish brand of hard rock. By the time of that latter album, Cooper was not only hugely popular, but famous for his macabre live show in which the man whose real name is Vincent Furnier had adopted the villainous (and also darkly humorous) character of Alice Cooper.

Many of the stage antics that Cooper created in the early 1970s – paving the way for the concert spectacles of later shock rockers like Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson – remain cornerstones of Cooper's live shows today. Cooper is doing as much as he can to cram as many goodies into his set list and stage show as possible as he tours this summer and fall.

"You know, when you get to this point, the hardest part is picking the songs because you've got 30 albums to go to," he says. "There are theatrical hits and then there are the radio hits also, the ones people hear on the radio. Then there are things they want to see like 'Feed My Frankenstein' and 'Dwight Fry' and songs like that, that are almost like essential because you've got to see the guillotine. You've got to see the straitjacket. You've got to see the insane nurse. We're actually taking some excerpts out of  Welcome to My Nightmare from 1975 because we haven't done some of that stuff in awhile and we're putting it back in the show. I just said we haven't done that in awhile. Let's put that in. So it's a fun show. It's always a fun show."


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