The album was co-produced by bassist Erik Scott alongside Cooper. Cooper blended new wave and pop rock music into his hard rock style in an attempt to keep up with changing musical trends. Scott stated the album “was meant to be lean, stripped down, and low on frills. Punkish and bratty.” At the time, Cooper described Zipper Catches Skin as “totally kill. Real hardcore. The stuff that I do has always been a lot like that. In fact, I invented a couple of songs that were remakes of other songs, just for the purpose of attacking clichés. There are no clichés on this album, and I did that for a specific reason. Rock and roll right now is jammed with clichés.” Cooper described the photograph of him on the album's back cover as “very Haggar slacks. I look good. I look like a GQ ad, only I’m zipping up my pants and you can see definite pain on my face."
Dick Wagner, who left halfway through the recording sessions, described Zipper Catches Skin as “the off to the races speedy album” and a “drug induced nightmare”. Wagner later revealed in a segment of the Deleted Scenes on the 2014 documentary film Super Duper Alice Cooper that Alice was smoking crack cocaine at the time and had a curtain set up behind the recording mic with a stool on it where he kept his crack pipe; he and other members of the band would sneak behind the curtain to take hits in between recording takes.
Zipper Catches Skin is the second of three albums which Alice refers to as his “blackout” albums, the others being the preceding album, Special Forces, and the following album, DaDa, as he has no recollection of recording them, due to the substance abuse, although he did manage to film a TV advert intended to promote Zipper at the time. Cooper stated “I wrote them, recorded them and toured them and I don’t remember much of any of that”, though he actually toured only Special Forces. There was no tour to promote Zipper, and none of its songs have ever been played live.