The idea is quite simple; form a supergroup to pay tribute to the original Hollywood Vampires, a group of rock stars from the early '70s who hung out got loaded together quite often, and most of whom are no longer with us today. Those who survived and overcame their vices, including Alice Cooper, Joe Perry, Joe Walsh, and Bon Ezrin, have joined up here with a stellar cast, including Slash, Johnny Depp, Sir Paul McCartney, Glen Sobel, Orianthi, Robby Krieger, Zak Starkey, Brian Johnson, Perry Farrell, Tommy Henriksen, Kip Winger, Bruce Witkin, and Abe Laboriel Jr., calling themselves, of course, the Hollywood Vampires. Mostly a covers album paying homage to their old friends who we've lost over the years, including John Bonham, Keith Moon, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Harry Nillson, John Lennon, Marc Bolan, Randy California, Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane, and members of Badfinger, the band also throws in a few new originals that keep in line with the 'fun' aspect of the album.
Though Cooper sings lead vocals on the majority of the album, everyone gets to join in on the fun, so even though the feel throughout is somewhat like an Alice album, look for plenty of contributions from everyone. The late, great Christopher Lee opens up with a chilling monologue on "The Last Vampire" before things segue into "Raise the Dead", complete with a snarling Cooper vocal and plenty of crunchy guitars courtesy of Depp, Henriksen, and Witkin. The other original piece is "My Dead Drunk Friends", a boozy, bluesy slice of hard rock fueled by slashing guitars and Ezrin's honky tonk piano, with Cooper sliding in perfectly as he tells the tale of all their long lost friends who succumbed to their demons decades ago.
The covers feature a mix of popular favorites as well as a few somewhat obscure gems. Spirit's "I Got a Line on You" sees Cooper and Farrell sharing lead vocals over tasty lead guitar from Walsh, while the rocking Zeppelin classic "Whole Lotta Love" features Alice on harmonica and lead vocals alongside AC/DC's Brian Johnson, with sizzling slide guitar courtesy of Walsh. Krieger shows up on 2 old favorites from The Doors, "Five to One/Break on Through (To the Other Side)", with Alice doing a great Morrison impression, and current Who drummer Starkey does his best Keith Moon on the upbeat "My Generation". Cooper and Farrell again share vocal duties on the Nillson hits "One/Jump Into the Fire", and McCartney appears on vocals, bass, and piano for the song he originally wrote for Badfinger, "Come and Get It". T-Rex's "Jeepster" is upbeat and bouncy, Alice obviously having a blast and Perry throwing in some of his trademark licks, and Walsh teams up with Depp and Henriksen to create a guitar wall of sound for Hendrix's "Manic Depression". The Small Faces' "Itchycoo Park" again sees a strong Cooper vocal, and the band bring in former Alice Cooper Band original members Neal Smith & Dennis Dunaway for a rousing "School's Out" with a little of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall" woven into the middle.
It's nice to hear a conceptual concept 'covers' album that winds up being a lot of fun rather than just a note for note rendering of songs we've already heard a million times. Somewhat like an Alice Cooper album with a host of his musical buddies, the Hollywood Vampires is a good time from start to finish, and hopefully we haven't heard the last of this collaboration.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. The Last Vampire 1:35
2. Raise The Dead 3:31
3. My Generation 2:47
4. Whole Lotta Love 4:13
5. I Got A Line On You 2:48
6. Five To One/Break On Through (To The Other Side) 4:17
7. One/Jump Into The Fire 5:07
8. Come And Get It 2:59
9. Jeepster 2:43
10. Cold Turkey 3:07
11. Manic Depression 2:43
12. Itchycoo Park 2:55
13. School's Out/Another Brick In The Wall 5:14
14. My Dead Drunk Friends