US rock veteran Alice Cooper hadn’t put a new album out for six years until the end of last month or headlined a tour this side of the Atlantic for almost as long, but, to quote his 1986 single of that name, he’s back.
Not only has the 69-year-old released the 27th LP of a recording career stretching back to 1969, but he’ll also be heading this way to promote it, and though he won’t be returning to the north east this time round, he can be seen relatively nearby at the First Direct Arena in Leeds on Saturday, November 11.
That will be his first date ever in the city and his first in northern England since appearing at the Manchester Arena and Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena in November 2015 as a special guest on Motley Crue’s farewell tour.
Paranormal, the album Cooper is on the road to plug, is his first top 10 hit here – or, indeed, anywhere – since 1994’s The Last Temptation, having matched that album’s No 6 chart placing following its release at the end of last month, and also his first for Edel’s EarMusic label.
Produced – like 10 previous Cooper albums, including his last one, 2011’s Welcome 2 My Nightmare, plus 2015’s Hollywood Vampires collaboration with the likes of Paul McCartney and Joe Perry – by Bob Ezrin, it’s a game of two halves, being a double album, and both are well worth playing.
Disc one’s 10 tracks find Cooper, assisted by guests including U2 drummer Larry Mullen Jr and Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover, in fine form, alternating his default pantomime villain persona with more considered reflections on subject matter including rodents and televangelists. Its highlights include two explorations of mental health issues unlikely to be referred to by trainee psychiatrists as textbook material, Paranoiac Personality and Private Public Breakdown, and Dynamite Road, a variation on the time-honoured race-with-the-devil theme.
Disc two reunites the singer with three members of the original Alice Cooper band that he took his stage name from after they parted ways in the mid-1970s – bassist Dennis Dunaway, drummer Neal Smith and guitarist Michael Bruce – for two new songs, Genuine American Girl and You and All of Your Friends, and also features six live tracks recorded on tour in the US in May last year including School’s Out, Feed My Frankenstein and No More Mr Nice Guy.
Goth rock survivors the Mission, formed in Leeds in 1986, and US rock veterans the Tubes will be supporting him on his six-date British tour – also taking in Glasgow, London, Birmingham and Manchester – and Dunaway, Smith and Bruce will be joining him on stage too for part f his set.
Tickets for his Leeds show, a 200-mile round trip from Newcastle, cost £46.30. For details, go to www.firstdirectarena.com/events or www.alicecooper.com