Alice Cooper has defended the guitar playing of his HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES bandmate and famous actor Johnny Depp, saying he's "as good a guitar player as anybody." In addition to HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES, Depp has appeared on stage with guitar legend Jeff Beck and has played on studio recordings with AEROSMITH and MARILYN MANSON.
In a recent interview with Steve King of Albany, New York radio station Q105.7, Cooper was asked about the future plans of HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES, which released its second album, "Rise", in June.
"The album came out, the 'Rise' album, our second album, came out with mostly original material on it and it did really well — it was number one in, like, 15 countries," he said (hear audio below). "It did really well. What tells us is that we should start writing another album. Johnny's making movies right now. Joe's [Perry] out with AEROSMITH doing residencies [in Las Vegas], and I'm on tour until December, so we probably won't be meeting up again until the beginning of the year. Then we'll start plotting out when the tour will be, and what the next album will be. But we will go out and tour again with the 'Rise' album."
Cooper then shared how HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES came together and the type of outlet it provides in comparison to the far more theatrical nature of own band. "It was so unique," he said. "I told 'em: 'What we should do is put a bar band together. Call it HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES and just play songs for all of our dead, drunk friends. It was really true. All the guys we used to drink with, most of them died. I said, 'Look: You've got Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Keith Moon, T.REX [Marc Bolan]. I said, 'We could do all these songs.' Not expecting it to end up playing in front of 200,000 people. I thought we were going to be a little bar band. We ended up touring and doing a whole bunch of European shows that had ten, twenty, thirty thousand people."
He continued: "The band was so good. It had Duff McKagan from GUNS 'N ROSES. We have Joe Perry for AEROSMITH. Johnny's as good a guitar player as anybody. People always kind of question Johnny's guitar playing. I tell them: Do you know who he's out with right now and playing in the band? They ask, 'Who?' I said 'Jeff Beck.' If you're playing with Jeff Beck, the greatest guitar player of all time, that does say something about your guitar playing."
"Rise" was released on June 21 on earMUSIC as a CD digipak, 2LP+download and digital. The disc was produced by Tommy Henriksen and the HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES.
Unlike HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES' 2015 debut record, "Rise" consists mainly of original material, written by the band. There are, however, in the spirit of the VAMPIRES' original mission, three covers of songs originally written and recorded by some fellow rockers who died far too young: an intimate and intense version of David Bowie's "Heroes" (featuring Depp on lead vocals); the JIM CARROLL BAND's "People Who Died" and Johnny Thunders's "You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory", sung by Perry.
Completing the HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES live lineup are rock star musician friends Glen Sobel (ALICE COOPER) on drums, Chris Wyse (THE CULT) on bass, and Buck Johnson (AEROSMITH) on keyboards and vocals.