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The pioneer of theatrical shock rock, Alice Cooper, has returned with an exceptional new album, Welcome 2 My Nightmare. While not officially a sequel to his acclaimed 1975 tour, Welcome to My Nightmare, this new release, also produced by Bob Ezrin, captures the macabre inventiveness of that legendary release while maintaining a modern edge. Fresh off a hugely successful European jaunt, Alice Cooper spoke about his latest tour.
I've been to Europe twice this year and done two big tours. One of them was a big outdoor festival tour and the second one started in Italy. Every single member of the audience was between 15-25 years old. It was the weirdest thing to have that many young kids watch Alice Cooper. And it was like that in every single country, whether it was Italy, France or Germany. Between Facebook, having a new album, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and doing a movie with Johnny Depp, it all worked towards getting a lot of attention from the younger kids.
So Welcome 2 My Nightmare isn't a sequel to your Welcome to My Nightmare album?
No, it's not. In all honesty I used Welcome 2 My Nightmare because it was so damn clever (laughs) with the “2” in it. It’s just another nightmare. I figured, "Why not give Alice another nightmare?" We gave him a nightmare in 1975 and we all kind of looked inside Alice’s dreams and said, "Wow, how weird is that? Who wants to look into Alice’s brain from 1975 to 2011?" All new things are happening with technology. Disco is now hip-hop. The devil is not some big scary creature, the devil is Ke$ha (laughs). So that’s what I wrote about. I tried to put Alice in a lot of surreal places and let the audience in on it. Bob (Ezrin) and I decided like a nightmare, things in nightmares are usually bizarre but at the time they make sense. When you’re in a room and it fills up with water and you’re swimming with sharks and somebody’s playing poker, at the time it seems very logical. When you wake up you go, "What was all that about?" That’s kind of the way we let the album go. And we made it so one minute Alice is on a runaway train so let’s make that song sound like that. The next second he’s the last man on earth so let’s make that totally different from "Runaway Train." The next second he’s hit with "The Congregation," so let’s jump to this look. I don’t think there are two songs on the album that sound alike.
The record does not sound dated, it carries classic overtones with a modern touch.
I think it’s the storyline and Alice’s voice. I speak of Alice in the third person. When I perform as Alice he’s in the third person and when I record as Alice he’s in the third person so I feel very free talking about him in the third person. On this album Alice’s voice and attitude is what keeps it all in one piece.