“Drugs and alcohol — can anybody relate to that?” Alice Cooper asked from the stage of L.A.’s Roxy Theatre on Wednesday night, as the iconic shock rocker joined forces with Joe Perry and Johnny Depp to debut their brand-new supergroup, the Hollywood Vampires. “Half of us died and half of us are still here. So these are the songs for all of our dead, drunk friends tonight, ghosts that still haunt the Sunset Strip.”
The project started as a tribute to the iconic Hollywood Vampires, a 1970s drinking club that often met at a local West Hollywood watering hole called the Rainbow Bar & Grill. So it was only fitting that the band’s debut would take place directly next-door at The Roxy. The show — which sold out in 60 seconds and drew famous fans from Toto co-founder Steve Lukather to Orianthi and Kiss’ Paul Stanley – kicked off shortly after 9 p.m. After the lights dimmed, a crowd of 500 squealed while a curtain lifted to reveal a true menagerie of rock stars. In addition to the band’s founding members, there was Duff McKagan on bass, Matt Sorumbehind the drum kit, Tommy Henriksen on guitar, and Bruce Witkin manning a keyboard.
The Hollywood Vamps kicked things off with “Raise the Dead” from their self-titled debut album before diving into a bluesy rendition of The Who‘s “My Generation.” As expected, Cooper manned the vocals. He pranced around the stage in his typical theatrics, clad head to toe in black, sporting his trademark smudgy eye makeup, which he revealed after pulling off his shades several songs into the set. There was also a black “V” drawn on the center of his forehead. Depp and Perry wore matching white button-ups and black vests, the actor bringing a bit of Captain Jack Sparrow into the night by draping a long bandana, which doubled as a sweatband, across his forehead. The A-lister started off the show with his own little cheering section, but by the end of the evening, he completely blended into the stage, proving himself worthy of jamming with the legends beside him.
The 13-song set included a cover of John Lennon‘s “Cold Turkey” and “Break On Through (To the Other Side)” by The Doors. Five songs in, Tom Morello and Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler hopped on stage for Jimi Hendrix‘s “Manic Depression.” The song had Perry and the Rage Against the Machine guitarist trading off solos. But everyone’s jaws dropped when Morello embarked upon a solo that ended with him playing his guitar with his teeth, a true nod to Hendrix. Kesha shared Cooper’s mic to perform a sultry cover of Led Zeppelin‘s “Whole Lotta Love” and quickly made the chorus her own: “Way down inside…Alice” — he chimed in and cooed out “Kesha” immediately after — “…you need…love.” Perry Farrell also joined the boys onstage while his wife, Etty, hopped beside the keyboard and contributed her backup vocals.
But by far the best part of the evening was when all the special guests joined the Hollywood Vampires for what was arguably one of the best renditions of Cooper’s “School’s Out,” which was artfully mashed up with Pink Floyd‘s “Another Brick in the Wall.” From there, Cooper raised what resembled a full beer glass to the crowd and mimed a sip, only to reveal that it was merely a prop. “Alright, these songs are about all of our dead, drunk friends. Right across the street over there at The Rainbow, we used to drink every night until we couldn’t see anything. And they called us the Hollywood Vampires because we never saw daylight,” he explained. “And we didn’t drink the blood of the veins, we drank the blood of the vine. So this one’s for them.” The tribute was “My Dead Drunk Friends.”
The band was tight, not like some of the classic rockers who jam together as a means of shaking off the dust after their projects have expired. And Cooper’s voice was spot-on. Behind Perry stood a wall of vintage Marshall cabinets, which took the sound back to the good old days of rock ‘n’ roll. There were guitar solos galore, heavy basslines, and thundering drums. If one thing was apparent, it was that the boys were having fun. And though they did their best to play the part of serious rock Gods, the Hollywood Vampires often let down their guard and allowed a beaming smile to show through.
“Raise the Dead”
“I Got a Line on You”
“Cold Turkey 5 to 1″/”Break On”
“One”/”Jump Into the Fire”
“Seven & Seven Is”
“Whole Lotta Love”
“I’m a Boy”
“School’s Out”/”Another Brick in the Wall”
“Dead Drunk”/”Billion Dollar Babies”/”Train Kept A Rollin’”
ALICE COOPER has said the debut from Hollywood Vampires — a supergroup led by Cooper, Joe Perry and a flashy guitar upstart named Johnny Depp — is a tribute to his “dead drunk friends” (also the title of a chantey-like original tune here). But it’s mostly made of surprisingly upbeat cover songs, with hard-rocking renditions of “My Generation,” “Break on Through” and “Manic Depression.” Better still, Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Joe Walsh and even late Dracula star Christopher Lee make guest appearances. What holds it all together is Cooper, who, at 67, still possesses one of the best and grittiest voices in rock and the endless charisma of the undead.
Hollywood Vampires, “Hollywood Vampires” (Universal Music Enterprises)
Alice Cooper has made a career out of keeping the creepiness front and center in hard rock.
His latest project Hollywood Vampires — a true supergroup including Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry and actor-guitarist Johnny Depp — is an outgrowth of his most recent “Raise the Dead” tour, which featured Cooper covering classic rock songs from bands who had a member die from drug or alcohol abuse. Offerings include covers of The Doors (Jim Morrison), The Who (Keith Moon), Led Zeppelin (John Bonham) and T-Rex (Marc Bolan).
Cameos from classic rock legends abound here, as well, including contributions from Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Zak Starkey, AC/DC’s Brian Johnson, Perry Farrell, Robby Krieger and Dave Grohl. Most (but not all) the tracks are from artists who saw members die from substance abuse. Among the strongest on “Hollywood Vampires” are a pounding cover of The Who’s “My Generation,” a Krieger-powered Doors medley of “Five to One/Break on Through,” and a version of T-Rex’s “Jeepster” that manages to be heavy and pop-y all at once.
Cooper’s nasal sneer is perfect on Three Dog Night’s “One,” and Perry’s slashing guitar powers the still-iconic “Cold Turkey,” John Lennon’s ode to drug withdrawal.
The band title refers to a ’70s drinking club Cooper was part of that also included Lennon, Moon, Harry Nilsson, Bernie Taupin and Micky Dolenz of the Monkees.
When it comes to rock lore, the saga of the Hollywood Vampires, a loose group of rock-star friends who enjoyed drinking on the Sunset Strip in the ’70s, ranks high. The “Vampires” roster at various times included Keith Moon, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees, Elton John’s songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, and Jim Morrison. They were led by Alice Cooper, who pays tribute to members past and passed on with this fun, star-studded tribute, recorded with new Vampires Johnny Depp and Joe Perry. Fittingly, the album opens with Christopher Lee reading from “Dracula,” and then musically pours one out with raucous takes of everything from the Who’s “My Generation” — featuring Zak Starkey, Ringo’s son — to Badfinger’s “Come and Get It” with the song’s writer, Paul McCartney. Joe Walsh, Dave Grohl, and more also sat in for a spell, paying rollicking and bittersweet homage to, as Cooper puts it in the album’s best original track, “Dead Drunk Friends.”
Alice Cooper and Joe Perry have every right to be jaded. Each has sold millions of records and chalked up hits over several decades. But their eyes still light up when they talk about the recent adventure they shared, recording with one of their childhood heroes.
“Paul McCartney just opened up an instrument case and there’s his Hofner, left-handed bass, the most famous guitar in the world,” Cooper says, grinning. “We were standing around it like Indiana Jones looking at it, like it’s got its own light source and our faces are melting over it.”
“I asked him a question about it, and he said, ‘Here it is. It’s OK. Pick it up,’” the Aerosmith guitarist beams. “I actually got a chance to hold it, and it was like the Holy Grail.”
“Paul says, ‘It’s just a piece of wood,’ and starts playing it and I said, ‘Holy crap!’” Cooper rejoins in his typically confident manner. “To us, that bass a symbol of how we started.”
The rockers have been thinking a lot about how they got started in recent years, while they worked on the debut album by Hollywood Vampires, a supergroup they formed with Johnny Depp (yes, that Johnny Depp). Although the record contains two urgent-sounding bloodthirsty originals — three, if you count the intro, in which late horror icon Christopher Lee recites a passage from Dracula — the heart of it is a collection of gritty, hard-edged covers of songs by the trio’s peers and inspirations: the Who, Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and more. McCartney happened to stop by Depp’s house, where they were recording, to sing a tune he wrote for Badfinger in 1969, “Come and Get It,” and the album — out September 11th — also features guest appearances by Joe Walsh, AC/DC’s Brian Johnson, Dave Grohl, Slash and Perry Farrell, among many others. What they all have in common is a set of musical roots.
“We were both the same age when we started playing,” the 67-year-old, perennially black-clad and surprisingly perky shock-rocker says, gesturing at Perry, who is three years his junior and looks relaxed with a loose, white scarf around his neck. The musicians are sitting on a couch overlooking Manhattan and, though it’s the decidedly un-vampiric hour of 9 a.m., both are sprightly and eager to parse just how all the parts of the project fell into place. “We learned the first two Stones albums, the first two Yardbirds albums, the Kinks,” the singer continues. “That’s how we learned to play and then we invented Alice Cooper and you invented what Aerosmith was going to be from that. Now, when we’re doing these songs, it comes pretty easy.”
Ah, September! We’ve steadily been building toward this one. September is typically the biggest month of the year for new releases with some of the biggest names in music usually unleashing their new sounds and sights. But with so many offerings, which one should you pick up? Loudwire wants to know your most anticipated new release of September.
Check out all the new releases and their street dates in the poll below, then vote for the new effort that you most want to pick up. The winning entrant will be featured in a post on Loudwire’s site and will be dubbed the September 2015 Release of the Month. You can vote once per hour through the deadline of Monday, Aug. 31 at 11:59PM ET
What Is The Most Anticipated Release of September 2015?
HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES ANNOUNCE RARE PERFORMANCES ROXY SHOWS AND ROCK IN RIO DUFF MCKAGAN AND MATT SORUM WILL JOIN TOURING BAND PARTNERSHIP WITH STARKEY HEARING FOUNDATION
LOS ANGELES, CA: In 1972, on the Sunset Strip at a club called the Rainbow Bar & Grill, the Hollywood Vampires were born in the upstairs bar. It was a gathering place for rock stars living in or passing through L.A. “To join the club, one simply had to out drink all of the members,” says Alice Cooper, a founding member of the Vampires. “I would walk in on a typical night,” Alice says, “and John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Keith Moon—who would usually be in a costume like a maid or a chauffeur—Bernie Taupin, Jim Morrison and Mickey Dolenz would be there. The next week might be Bernie Taupin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Mickey Dolenz.”
Now, returning to where it once began, the Hollywood Vampires (Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, and Joe Perry) have announced today two shows at the notorious Sunset Strip music venue, The Roxy. This will mark the Hollywood Vampires only U.S. appearances on September 16 and 17, and will surely be the most sought after ticket in town. Joining the Hollywood Vampires live will be Matt Sorum on drums, Duff McKagan on bass, Tommy Henriksen on guitar, and Bruce Witkin on piano and guitar. Tickets are on sale on August 14 for the September 16th show at http://ticketf.ly/1EdJvSI and September 17th show at http://ticketf.ly/1W5TvIT.
Additionally on September 24, in what will be their only international appearance, the band will head to Brazil for “Rock in Rio.” Before that show, the band will partner with Starkey Hearing Foundation, an organization that has provided more than 1.8 million free hearing aids to people in need in more than 100 countries, to offer and fit hearing aids to more than 150 people in need. After the hearing aid fittings, the Hollywood Vampires and Starkey Hearing Foundation will bring a number of individuals to the show so they can hear music for the first time in their lives.
“Hearing connects us to life, our families and to the world around us,” said Bill Austin, founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation. “It’s a precious gift, and we are excited to work with the Hollywood Vampires to introduce so many to the world of sound and help them hear music for the first time.”
Three years ago, Alice and good friend Johnny Depp got together and decided the spirit of the Hollywood Vampires should live again (minus the drinking). An environment for great artists to hang, laugh and play together. The Hollywood Vampires live again with the release of the Hollywood Vampires new album. Alice and Johnny were joined by Joe Perry, who is an old friend of both of them, and with producer Bob Ezrin, the recording began: a tribute to the original Hollywood Vampires. The new album is set to be released on September 11 and all artist proceeds will be donated to MusiCares.
About Starkey Hearing Foundation
Starkey Hearing Foundation uses hearing as a vehicle to reflect caring and change lives around the world. Disabling hearing loss affects more than 360 million people, including 32 million children, worldwide, yet many do not have access to the hearing devices that can help them. As a member of Clinton Global Initiative, Starkey Hearing Foundation has pledged to provide more than one million hearing aids to people in need this decade and currently gives more than 175,000 hearing aids annually. In addition to giving the gift of hearing through worldwide hearing missions, Starkey Hearing Foundation promotes hearing health awareness and education through the Listen Carefully campaign and provides hearing instruments to low-income Americans through the Hear Now program. Started as the philanthropic effort of Starkey Hearing Technologies, Starkey Hearing Foundation was founded by William F. Austin in 1984. For more information on Starkey Hearing Foundation follow them on Facebook and Twitter, or visit www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org.
Meat LoafandAlice Cooperhave pulled off some impressive victories in ourGreatest Summer Songbattle, but now they’ll have to face each other for the right to make it to the next round — and you get to determine the winner.
After starting with 32 of classic rock’s best summertime songs, we’re now down to four. Once again, it’s time for you to cast your votes and keep cutting that number in half until we arrive at the greatest summer song ever made.