The original Hollywood Vampires consisted of a drinking group made up of rock and roll royalty. They met in the upstairs of the Rainbow Bar and Grill with an all-star line-up of members. On any given night you could find Alice Cooper, Marc Bolan, John Lennon, Keith Moon, Micky Dolenz, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, or Harry Nilsson.
The new supergroup,Hollywood Vampires, is a tribute to the classic rock and roll lifestyle of the 1970s. It is a celebration of a life of glamorous excess, living life on the road, and pouring your heart out on a stage night after night. It is a bunch of friends getting together and jamming out, paying tribute to a bunch of friends getting hammered together. The best part is this current supergroup is all the A-listers just like the friends of old, with Alice Cooper on vocals, Johnny Depp on rhythm guitar, Joe Perry (of Aerosmith) on lead guitar, Duff McKagan (of Guns N’ Roses) on bass, and Matt Sorum (of Guns N’ Roses) on drums.
The album is unlike any tribute album I have ever heard. It starts off with an intro by Christopher Lee that leads into "Raise the Dead." The song promises to do just that with the rest of the album as it marches forward. It delivers with covers of immortal rock classics that can never die. The last song on the album "Dead Drunk Friends" is an original lighthearted shanty, toasting all those who left us with their great music.
As soon as I heard about this collaboration I knew I had to make a pilgrimage to see them. I was lucky enough to get a ticket to their debut show at the historic Roxy Theatre, next-door to the original Hollywood Vampire's haunt. After securing a spot in line and making new friends we headed over to have drinks in the Rainbow Bar and Grill.
We were lucky enough to get a look around upstairs. I was not expecting what we found!
This liar of legend was a three level pirate ship!
As the afternoon rolled on we watched the whole band arrive one by one in conspicuous black town cars and SUVs. We got to peek into their sound check through the unlocked front door. The Hollywood Vampires went through the entire night's playlist and it was amazing to have a first glimpse of them all on stage and to hear them charge through the playlist.
I was surprised how few people were actually in line early. By the time the sound check was completed there were many more memorabilia sellers and paparazzi then there were fans standing in line.
When we got inside I snagged the best spot in the house with the best view of the entire show. I was front row center just feet away from where Alice Cooper would be singing. There was no barricade in this tiny little venue and the stage was at hip level. Johnny Depp would be to my left and Joe Perry to my right. I knew where they would be based on the sound check. As the curtain raised the vampires all appeared dressed in black, red, and white.
I was in classic rock and roll heaven. This is the 12th time I had seen Joe F*cking Perry perform and as always he didn't disappoint. Getting to see Alice Cooper that close up was a once in a lifetime moment. And did I mention Johnny Depp? Johnny has joined Aerosmith on stage many times. Seeing him as a special guest was a goal of mine. I never would have guessed I would see him perform an entire set!
Then the guests started to take the stage. One by one the stage became flooded with talent I have never seen play together. Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine) was the first to join the group.
Then Geezer Butler (of Black Sabbath) came out and replaced Duff McKagan on bass.
The all star lineup continued with Perry Ferrel (of Jane's Addiction).
Then Ke$ha came out wailing "Whole Lotta Love" in a duet with Alice.
Zak Starkey (son of Ringo Star) replaced Matt Sorum on drums. And I was on full musical overload.
The caliber of talent on that stage was the highest rock and roll tribute their "Dead Drunk Friends" could have asked for. The greats, covering music of the greats, made the show a significant moment in rock and roll history.
I was dancing like no one was watching and really had the time of my life that evening. I was in the middle of all the action and couldn't have asked for a more complete experience. The show was over in less than an hour. A highlight of the evening was shaking Johnny Depp's hand. He made a real effort to connect with as many fans as possible. Alice and Johnny came out to sign autographs after the show. I was completely overtaken by paparazzi and large men shoving to get autographs. But I didn't care. The experience of that performance will be something I will never forget.
For a moment I got to step back in time and hear this music as it was back in the glory days. There on the Sunset Strip, in a tiny club, rock music was king. I imagined myself back at the original Woodstock with Steven Tyler banging on pots and pans in the mud while Jimi Hedrix rocked the stage. Thanks to the Hollywood Vampires I got to truly live in an era gone by.