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.
“We’re all friends and we’ve all paid our dues,” said Perry. “It’s like in some ways, like being a baby band even though we’ve been doing this our whole lives. It’s been a lot of fun I have to say. It’s been really exciting all around. I count myself lucky to be part of this tour, we’ll see what happens.”
The band, by the way, was named after the Hollywood Vampires, the ‘70s drinking club Cooper famously formed at the legendary Rainbow Bar and Grill on L.A’s Sunset Strip with Ringo Starr and Keith Moon to name a few.
We caught up with Perry down the line from L.A. recently to talk about the Vampires, Aerosmith and more.
Did you ever run into Alice at the Rainbow back in the day?
There’s a good chance I could have bumped into him in 1972, ‘73, when Aerosmith finally started to spread out and play around the country and I think our first [L.A.] gig was at the Whiskey and I’m sure we went up to the Rainbow right after in 1974. It was always the place to go, you know. And in the ‘80s, I spent quite a bit of time there. Hey look, Lemmy was there two weeks before he died, you know what I mean? It’s a landmark and Alice is one of the original, the very few that are walking and talking and taking solid food.
How does the Vampires gig compare to touring with Aerosmith?
We’ve had some incredible experiences playing all kinds of gigs all over the world and that’s a special thing, the same guys for 45 years. The band just gets better. We’ve had our ups and downs. [But] it’s good to take a break from that and work with guys who are friends but they’re also great players. It’s a very unique experience to finally actually play in a band with Alice and with [drummer] Matt [Sorum] and [Stone Temple Pilots bassist] Robert DeLeo and, of course, Johnny, who’s a great guitarist.
When did you become aware of his guitar playing abilities?
When I saw the movie Chocolat and saw him play that role, he was like a kind of river gypsy and he was playing some Django Reinhardt as if it just flew out of him and when I found out that was really him playing, that’s when I was really impressed.
I understand you only met Johnny in a recording studio in L.A. about five or six years ago?
I really needed a couple of guitars, and Johnny was there. And that was really the basis of our friendship, it was about the music. I borrowed a few things, and then we actually started recording in his studio. I started a solo project, something I really hadn’t planned on but Johnny and [Hollywood Vampires keyboardist] Bruce [Witkin] they said, ‘We want you to do the best solo record you’ve ever done, let’s go!’
What did you make of Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler putting out his first solo album (We’re All Somebody From Somewhere, out July 15) as a country record?
It was kind of a surprise to us too. But he’s been wanting to do a solo record for a long time and he was all about doing some kind of a hip-hop, rap kind of thing and hooking up with some those guys and then there was kind of a lull, and then he said, ‘Well, I’m going to go to Nashville and work with some country guys,’ so you know, it was one of those kinds of things. It’s not like he talks to me about that kind of stuff.
Steven was recently quoted as saying 2017 would be the year of Aerosmith’s farewell tour. So is it?
I think it’s hard for me to imagine a last Aerosmith gig, it just really is, but I think it’s time to kind of [be] doing that kind of tour, kind of a retrospective of your career. And I don’t know. I know we can start off calling it a final tour but I don’t know. Didn’t the Eagles start a final tour in 1994? They played up until up until the time that Glenn [Frey] passed away [in 2016] so who knows?
Would you like to make another Aerosmith album too?
I do think that the band, in a perfect world, would like to do that but times go by and it goes by pretty quick and we will have time to do it, I just don’t know if it’s really possible. There’s a lot of different things we could do, everything from re-cutting some of the first records.
What is your solo music sounding like?
I’ve started working with some vocalists that have come in and I’d just never get a chance to work with in Boston like [British singer] Terry Reid and Iggy Pop and [New York Dolls’] David Johansen, [Cheap Trick’s] Robin Zander, it’s been great.
When might you release it?
I’m kind of waiting to see how Steven’s thing does ‘cause I don’t want have it conflict with anything he’s doing. So I don’t know. I’m just going to keep writing and keep finishing the stuff off and probably sometime next year I’ll start releasing it.
Hollywood Vampires perform at Casino Rama, Friday, July 8. For tickets and info, visit casinorama.com.
By Jane Stevenson, POSTMEDIA NETWORK, Toronto Sun