Musicians Alice Cooper, Matt Sorum, Johnny Depp and Joe Perry of the Hollywood Vampires rehearse for the 58th Grammy Awards. (Photo: Kevin Winter, WireImage)
Even Johnny Depp, who has created many odd visions over the years, believes that people tuning into the Grammy Awards on Monday night will be struck by a highly unusual sight.
Depp himself with an electric guitar, taking the stage with rock legends Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.
Do not adjust the television, folks. This is the rock supergroup, The Hollywood Vampires.
“If I saw these guys coming out with myself, I too would think this is kind of a weird spectacle, initially,” Depp, 52, says with a grin, sitting with his bandmates before jamming at a rehearsal space. “”There will be some people saying, ‘Let’s see this Hollywood-guy, actor-guy play guitar.’ ”
“But hopefully what will happen is that the song will kick in and people are going to feel their wigs starting to split,” he adds.
In case that image is not abundantly clear, Depp holds both hands to the sides of his head and makes an explosion sound.
“People’s heads are going to go like that,” he says.
Aerosmith guitarist Perry, 65, vows that his fledgling group is going to blow people away in its first major U.S. televised outing.
“I don’t say things like this often, but this band is (bleeping) good,” Perry says. “It’s time to put on the skates and walk out on the pond.”
The band’s journey began in 2011, when Cooper and Depp performed an impromptu gig of cover songs while shooting the vampire comedy-drama Dark Shadows in London. The now-sober Cooper filled Depp in about his Hollywood Vampires club, a group of rockers including Keith Moon and John Lennon who partied at Los Angeles’ Rainbow Roomstarting in the 1970s.
Depp, Cooper and Perry formed the group after an inspired jam session at Depp’s house and put out their first album, Hollywood Vampires, on September 11, 2015 — it featured cover songs honoring rockers who had passed on. The Grammy appearance will feature a new original song As Bad As I Am with lyrics inspired by Depp’s own late stepfather’s drinking toast.
The song will then transition to Motorhead’s Ace of Spades as a tribute to Motorhead lead singer Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, who died in December.
Cooper says the Grammy tribute to Lemmy is especially appropriate, since the rocker partied often at The Rainbow Room.
“Lemmy was the mayor of The Rainbow Room. If you walked in and you didn’t see him, then something was wrong,” Cooper says. “As a toast to Lemmy, this fits perfectly.”
Performing the new song on music’s biggest night is still boggling to Perry.
“This is breaking the rules of the Grammys. You have to have something on the radio, you have to be a known band,” Perry says. “That they will let us be on the show and play one of our songs no one has never heard. I’m still shaking my head going, is this really going to happen?”
But with Ken Ehrlich, Grammy executive producer, even cheering on the rehearsal, saying “this is what the Grammys are all about,” it’s clear this is very real.
Depp slings his Duesenberg guitar over his shoulder and plugs in next to Perry and Cooper along with Guns N’ Roses drummer Matt Sorum and bassist Duff McKagan, And it’s also clear, things will get loud.
“There will be rumbling in ears and there might be blood trickling out of one ear,” Depp warns audience members.
Adds Cooper: “Then we’ll know we’ve done our job,”
By Bryan Alexander for USA TODAY