Constrictor Era

Background

Constrictor is the 16th 'Alice Cooper' studio album and was released in 1986. Three years after the experimental Dada, the return of a healthy, clean-living, and classic-looking Alice was an exciting prospect as he sought to regain his crown as the king of Shock Rock from the likes of Kiss, Twisted Sister (who he appeared with a few months earlier on their single Be Chrool To Your Scuel) and Mötley Crüe. To do so, he embraced the popular 'Hair Metal' scene of the time for his first album with MCA Records, by enlisting the support of distinctive musician Kane Roberts to co-write and play on all the new material and the supporting 'The Nightmare Returns' world tour.

 

Constrictor is a solid rock album, but one that suffers from poor production, which is epitomised by the presence of a synthetic drum machine throughout that gives it an underlying 'flat' feeling. If ever an Alice Cooper album needed to be re-recorded, it's this one!

 

On the plus side, there is still plenty to enjoy on the album, with Teenage Frankenstein, Give It Up, Life And Death Of The Party, Trick Bag and Crawlin' providing a refreshing, melodic, approach. Elsewhere, Simple Disobedience and The World Needs Guts are heavier numbers that hint at the direction Alice would take on his next album a year later

 

Less impressive are the primitive and unnecessarily silly Thrill My Gorilla and The Great American Success Story, a disturbing about-turn from the defiance of School's Out, where Alice appears to promote the values of hitting the books! Intentional irony perhaps, but it doesn't work here.

 

The best track on the album is the excellent He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask), which was recorded for the Friday The 13th Part VI movie and provides a perfect blend of Alice eeriness and toe-tapping radio appeal. 

 

Whilst Constrictor was not a massive commercial hit, it was vastly more successful than Alice's previous 80's albums and, backed-up with a high-grossing tour, laid the groundwork for his long-term route back to the top as both a recording artist and showman.

 

Alice had returned from the brink of oblivion!

Constrictor Album Cover

Constrictor 12" Promotional Vinyl Album

1986, MCA Records, MCA-5761

This USA 12" promotional vinyl album, the first Alice Cooper album released under MCA Records, comes in a simple card sleeve and features an image of a reinvigorated, healthy-looking, Alice in classic snake-eye makeup complete with head wrapped by a Boa Constrictor snake. On the rear of the sleeve are track listings and credits. Also provided on the rear cover is a gold 'FOR PROMOTION ONLY...' stamp. 

 

Inside is a single-sided black and white insert featuring an image of Alice with leather jacket and snake plus credits. The disc features blue MCA labels, which are identical to USA stock copies (i.e. the gold stamp on the rear is the only way to differentiate promotional copies from stock copies).

 

Also included is a double-sided 12"x12" promotional flat, which features the album cover image on one side and 'Alice Cooper Constrictor' in yellow set against a blue background on the other.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Constrictor 12" Vinyl Album

1986, MCA Records, MCF 3341

This UK version of Constrictor is exactly the same as the USA promotional copy (above) only that it features slightly different vinyl labels and does not include the promotional flat or stamp on the back.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Constrictor 12" Vinyl Album

1986, MCA Records, MCFP 3341

This UK 12" picture disc of Constrictor features a cropped image of the original front cover on Side A and track listings and credits on Side B. It was also released as a vinyl compilation set in 1987 along with the equivalent release from the Raise Your Fist And Yell album.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Constrictor Cassette Album

1986, MCA Records, MCFC 3341

This UK cassette version of Constrictor features a simple J-card containing abridged artwork, track listings and credits.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Constrictor CD Album

1986, MCA Records, MCLD 19068

This UK CD version of Constrictor comes in a jewel case and features a simple 8-page booklet containing track listings, lyrics and credits.  

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

NOTE: A further CD copy of this album is featured in the Compilations section of this website.

He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask) 7" Promotional Vinyl Single

1986, MCA Records, MCA-52904

This USA 7" promotional vinyl single comes in a generic paper sleeve, features white MCA labels, and includes the same version of He's Back (from the Constrictor album) on both Side A and B.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask) 12" Promotional Vinyl Single

1986, MCA Records, L33-17177

This USA 12" promotional vinyl single comes in a generic card sleeve (with cut-out label hole), features white MCA labels, and includes the same version of He's Back (from the Constrictor album) on both Side A and B.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask) 7" Vinyl Single

1986, MCA Records, MCA 1090

This UK 7" vinyl single comes in a card sleeve, features etched labels, and includes He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask) on Side A (from the Constrictor album) and a live version of Billion Dollar Babies on Side B (originally from the Billion Dollar Babies album). The live track is stated as being from 1976, but this is an error as it's actually from the 1982 Special Forces tour.

 

The sleeve features an image of Alice in full make-up holding a Jason Voorhees ice hockey goalie mask. This is in reference to the fact that the song features in the ending credits of the horror film Friday The 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives, of which Jason Vorhees is the chief Protagonist.  For information, 2 other Alice Cooper songs also feature during the film, Teenage Frankenstein (from the Constrictor album) and Hard Rock Summer, the latter of which and has only ever been made available on The Life And Crimes Of Alice Cooper box set. On the back is an advert for the same movie together with track listings and credits.

 

Also provided is a nice glossy, fold-out, double-sided poster featuring artwork taken from the Constrictor album.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask) 12" Vinyl Single

1986, MCA Records, MCAT 1090

This UK 12" vinyl single comes in a card sleeve, features blue MCA vinyl labels, and includes He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask) on Side A (from the Constrictor album) and a live versions of Billion Dollar Babies and I'm Eighteen on Side B (originally from the Billion Dollar Babies and Love It To Death albums respectively). As with the 7" release (above), the live tracks are stated as being from 1976, but this is an error as they are actually from the 1982 Special Forces tour.

 

The sleeve features the same artwork as the 7" release. No poster was provided with this release though.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask) 7" Promotional Vinyl Single

1986, MCA Records, P-2178

This Japanese 7" promotional vinyl single features blue MCA labels, comes in a generic paper sleeve complete with colour insert, and includes He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask) on Side A (from the Constrictor album) and a live version of Billion Dollar Babies from 1976 on Side B (from an unspecified show).  

 

The insert features the same artwork as the UK release (above), set on a red background full of Japanese hype text, on the front and track listings, lyrics and credits on the back.

 

According to Discogs, the Japanese text on the vinyl labels translate as follows and are the only noticeable difference between this promotional copy and the main release (below):

 

> 見本盤 (translation: "Sample Version"); and
> 見本品 (translation: "Sample Goods").

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

He's Back (The Man Behind The Mask) 7" Vinyl Single

1986, MCA Records, P-2178

This Japanese 7" vinyl single is exactly the same as the promotional copy (above) only it doesn't feature the Japanese text on the vinyl labels.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Give It Up 12" Promotional Vinyl Single

1986, MCA Records, L33-17205

This USA 12" promotional vinyl single comes in a generic card sleeve (with cut-out label hole), features white MCA labels, and includes the same version of Give It Up (from the Constrictor album) on both Side A and B.

 

It should be noted that Give It Up was never actually released as a single and that this was the only promotional version produced.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Teenage Frankenstein 7" Vinyl Single

1986, MCA Records, MCA 1113

This UK 7" vinyl single comes in card sleeve, features etched labels, and includes Teenage Frankenstein on Side A (from the Constrictor album) and a live version of School's Out on Side B (originally from the School's Out album). The live track does not have a date listed but is from the 1982 Special Forces tour.

 

The sleeve features an image of Alice in concert on the front. On the back are more live images together with track listings. 

 

Also provided is a nice, glossy, wrap-around poster featuring the same images of Alice in concert as the sleeve plus several more. They are presented in such a way that the poster mimics the sleeve if unused.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Teenage Frankenstein 12" Vinyl Single

1986, MCA Records, MCAT 1113

This UK 12" vinyl single comes in a card sleeve, features blue MCA vinyl labels, and includes Teenage Frankenstein on Side A (from the Constrictor album) and live versions of School's Out and Only Women Bleed on Side B (originally from the School's Out and Welcome To My Nightmare albums respectively). The live tracks do not have a date listed but are from the 1982 Special Forces tour.

 

The sleeve features the same artwork as the 7" release (above). No poster was provided with this release though.

 

Discogs Link: Click Here

Constrictor 30th Anniversary Pin Badge

2016, Nightmare Inc.

This nice enamel pin badge was sold on the official Alice Cooper USA online store and was limited to just 150 pieces. It was released in 2016 to mark the 30th anniversary of the Constrictor album and faithfully recreates the front cover with Alice's head wrapped by a Boa Constrictor snake.

Constrictor Press Release

1986

This three-page Constrictor press release features a biography on Alice's career to date together with a background on how Constrictor came to be (including the influence of guitarist Kane Roberts). Present throughout are excerpts from an interview with Alice, who ends by warning ticket holders of the forthcoming Nightmare Returns tour that they may need to be handed "blood bibs"!

Constrictor Fanzine Supplement

1986

This 3-page fanzine supplement was produced by Alice Cooper historian Andy Michael and includes an insightful background on Constrictor and a track-by-track review of the album. Also included is a photo of Alice (complete with snake) and another picture of Alice with Tony James (of Sigue Sigue Sputnik). Both pictures are believed to have been taken backstage at the UK TV show The Old Grey Whistle Test.

For the Raise Your Fist And Yell era Click Here.