Rock icon Alice Cooper had a name for a group of his hard-drinking, hard-living, rock n’ roll buddies that frequented the equally glitzy and seedy Hollywood hills in the late ’60s, early ‘70s… the Hollywood Vampires. Some still living, many dead and gone, the band Hollywood Vampires is Cooper’s homage to the songs and personalities of that heady time in rock music. Fronted by Cooper, movie superstar Johnny Depp on guitar and vocals, and Aerosmith guitar legend Joe Perry, the group just embarked on a short four-stop North American tour before heading overseas for the summer festival season. Casino Rama Entertainment Centre was one of the lucky few on this side of the pond and only Canadian performance.
The band rolls out a who’s who of cover tunes including The Who, Motorhead, AC/DC and of course Cooper’s own megahits and Perry’s most recognized Aerosmith rockers. Cooper fondly refers to the Vampires as the world’s most expensive bar band. They also hit on three brand new tracks from a forthcoming album, “I Want My Now”, “The Boogieman Surprise” and “Bushwackers”. Cooper did the lion share of the vocal work, but Depp delivered his low-end raspy Johnny Cash-style pipes to a couple, Bowie’s “Heroes” and Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died”. And Perry crooned on Aerosmith’s woefully underappreciated “Combination”.
Hollywood Vampires is rounded out with Cooper’s smokin’ drummer Glen Sobel, Tommy Henrickson, one-third of his trio of stellar guitar players, Aerosmith’s keyboard player/backing vocalist Buck Johnson, and journeyman bassist Chris Wyse, who has played with the likes of The Cult, Ozzy, and Mick Jagger. The 90-min set felt like we were witnessing a super high-end jam band just having fun playing some of their favourite tunes. It wasn’t lost on the crowd that seeing a mega star like Depp on-stage, crossing the media genre lines, and smiling and acknowledging them, was truly special. Movie stars have a history of sucking at rock band scenarios. Depp isn’t one of those guys. See the tour while you can. These guys are uber busy in their other lives and don’t get together often.
Hollywood Vampires’ Setlist:
01. I Want My Now
02. Raise the Dead
03. 7 and 7 Is (Love cover)
04. I Got a Line on You (Spirit cover)
05. My Dead Drunk Friends
06. Five to One / Break On Through (to the Other Side) (The Doors cover)
07. The Jack (AC/DC cover)
08. Ace of Spades (Motörhead cover)
09. Baba O’Riley (The Who cover)
10. As Bad As I Am
11. The Boogieman Surprise
12. I’m Eighteen (Alice Cooper cover)
13. Combination (Aerosmith cover)
14. People Who Died (The Jim Carroll Band cover)
15. Sweet Emotion (Aerosmith cover)
17. “Heroes” (David Bowie cover)
18. Train Kept A-Rollin’ (Tiny Bradshaw cover)
19. School’s Out (Alice Cooper cover) (with ‘Another Brick in the wall)