It might seem a bit gruesome at first blush, this idea of paying tribute to the dead rock stars who once populated Hollywood’s dens of iniquity as hardcore denizens of the dark. But when legendary Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, erstwhile actor Johnny Depp, and the progenitor of shock rock Alice Cooper teamed up as Hollywood Vampires last year, the mood became far more celebratory than somber.
The Vampires picked their favorite tunes by deceased rock icons, many of whom had been friends – or at least, drinking buddies – back in the day, called a bunch of friends to round out the rhythm section, pulled in a few superstar cameos – some guy named McCartney was one of them – and tracked a glittering hard rock debut.
Jeff Miers spoke to Perry by phone a few weeks back, just as rehearsals for the tour were commencing. Here’s how it went.
Q: Playing the most recent Grammys last February with Hollywood Vampires felt, from the fan’s-eye view, like a victory for guitar-based rock ’n’ roll. We don’t hear much of that at awards shows these days. It cleared the air. How did it feel from your side of the stage?
Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry is nowhere near ready to drive a stake into Hollywood Vampires. Far from it.
The rock supergroup, which sees the 65-year-old Perry playing guitar alongside actor-musician Johnny Depp and lead singer Alice Cooper, released an album last year and performed a tribute to Motorhead’s Lemmy at this year’s Grammys.
Rocker Joe Perry he Aerosmith guitarist is hard at work in a California studio cutting songs. At this point he’s not sure where they’ll all end up – possibly on a solo album! Perry commented, “For me, it’s really about writing music,”
The sessions began as an instrumental solo record, but that changed course when a colleague of his suggested bringing in some vocalist friends. He added, “One night, Iggy Pop stopped by the studio after he’d done a show here and listened to a couple of tunes. Within a couple hours, he had finished [recording] everything and that was really the turning point for the record.”
I’ll Do Happiness will feature on the covermount CD of the very next issue of Classic Rock magazine (on sale April 20)
Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry recently teamed up with oft-overlooked Brit vocal powerhouse Terry Reid to write and record a brand new song. The track in question is I’ll Do Happiness and will feature on the covermount CD of the very next issue of Classic Rock magazine (on sale April 20). But, as an exclusive preview, you can hear what Joe has to say about it and hear it here first.
It looks like Joe Perry‘s next solo project will truly let the music do the talking.
The Aerosmith guitarist has started teasing his next album on Twitter, explaining that now that he’s cleared his promotional obligations for his Rocks memoir off the calendar — as well as the band’s most recent tour — he’s been able to get down to work on what will be his fifth solo effort, which he’s decided will be a largely instrumental affair.
Been in the studio working on my solo instrumental CD I began when writing Rocks my autobio.but didn’t have enough time.
On a steamy August morning, I sprinted faster than Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Running Man to get to my planned destination on time. Since my train came in a few minutes late, I was determined to arrive there and not miss out on an obvious “pinch me” moment. I got there with a few minutes to spare but was a sweaty mess. As I took the elevator up to the New York City hotel suite, I tried to air dry but it was too late. My shirt was soaked, and sweat dripped down the back of my neck like a Nixon/Kennedy debate. Upon arriving, I darted into the bathroom to cool down and “freshen” up. While in there, I heard name drops from the two music icons I was about to sit down and have a chat with: Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Keith Moon.
As I got myself looking reasonable (I snagged my intern’s black cardigan to hide the stains), I approached the couch to find Alice Cooper and Joe Perry continuing to trade stories. After giving the pair the firm handshake they deserve, I plowed right in – albeit with sweat pouring down my neck like Nixon at a Kennedy debate. This backstory is irrelevant to most, but paints a picture for those that didn’t just rush to the embeds below.
How two rock legends teamed with Johnny Depp to create an album that paid tribute to Cooper’s old drinking club
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.”
It almost sounds like I’m setting you up for a joke. Joe Perry and Paul McCartney meet up at a recording studio to drop some tracks with Alice Cooper’s Hollywood Vampires. Joe turns to McCartney and says…. Joe talks about it… Hollywood Vampires new album drops September 11th