The shock-rock pioneer Alice Cooper released his sixteenth album Constrictor thirty years ago today (22nd September 1986).
Constrictor marked the return of the music legend, exposing his shock rock tendencies to a new generation in the beginning of the late 80s. Cooper had previously retired from the music industry in 1983 after the release of DaDa, due to Cooper succumbing to freebase cocaine abuse and suffering a relapse of alcoholism.
Subsequently Cooper doesn’t remember any of it, famously saying that he: “wrote them, recorded them and toured them and I don’t remember much of that”. The two preceding records he is referring to were 1982’s Zipper Catches Skin and 1981’s Special Forces; Special Forces being the only album he actually toured.
Thankfully, Cooper bounced back onto the scene with a scorcher of an album, bringing back the qualities of shock and horror that he pioneered. It also helped Cooper produce a differing, yet recognizable sound through the help of heavy metal guitarist Kane Roberts.
Constrictor also boosted the songs ‘He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)’ and ‘Teenage Frankenstein’; songs in which Cooper collaborated with the team behind the Friday the 13th series to produce a theme song for their latest film Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. ‘Hard Rock Summer’ was also part of the soundtrack, but did not appear on Constrictor.
Constrictor ultimately became Cooper’s highest charting album since Flush the Fashion in 1980. Alongside the record, Constrictor also created one of the most successful tours of the late 1980s, ‘The Nightmare Returns’ tour. The record itself also featured the bass playing of Kip Winger; who would gain fame from fronting the highly underrated 80s glam metal band Winger.
Thankfully Cooper was able to overcome his demons and shock the rock world all over again, it definitely wouldn’t be the same without him.
Listen to the classic ‘He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)’ below.