Release Date: Sep 11, 2015
Record label: Universal
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Hard Rock
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 are undoubtedly the most prestigious supergroup yet formed, in an era when there are far too many supergroups, most of which aren’t particularly super. Led by Alice Cooper and anchored by his band of session journeymen, the project has added glitter thanks to the presence of Paul McCartney, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry, Slash, Brian Johnson, Robbie Krieger and the ubiquitous Dave Grohl, among others, but their debut is essentially a Cooper-driven rock covers album with special guests, so don’t get too excited. The late Sir Christopher Lee kicks it off with a spooky monologue before a couple of Alice Cooper tunes that are best described as “sounding Alice Cooper-y”.
Back in the '70s, a group of rock & roll carousers called themselves the Hollywood Vampires as they crawled the bars of Los Angeles during the dead of night. Alice Cooper was at the forefront, joined by Harry Nilsson, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, and Micky Dolenz -- a crew so soused their tales became legend, even if the specifics of the debauchery were often forgotten. Forty years later, Alice Cooper revived the name Hollywood Vampires when he came to form a supergroup with Joe Perry and Johnny Depp.
Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp and more salute the original HV with a (mostly) covers album. The Hollywood Vampires were born in the upstairs bar of LA’s Rainbow Bar & Grill circa 1972. But while membership was restricted to musicians and songwriters, they didn’t record or release anything. Hollywood Vampires was actually the name of a drinking club; a hangout for rock stars living in or passing through LA, with that sozzled snakecharmer Alice Cooper at the helm.
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.