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.