Released by: UMe
Release date: 11 September 2015
Genre: Hard Rock
Links: Twitter , hollywoodvampires.com , Facebook
Alice Cooper – Vocals
Johnny Depp – Guitar
Dennis Dunaway – Bass
Perry Farrell – Vocals/backing vocals
Dave Grohl – Drums
Tommy Henriksen – Guitar
Brian Johnson – Vocals
Robby Krieger – Guitar
Abe Laboriel Jnr – Drums
Sir Christopher Lee – Vocals
Sir Paul McCartney – Guitar, Bass, Piano
Joe Perry – Guitar
Slash – Guitar
Neal Smith – Drums
Glen Sobel – Drums
Zak Starkey – Drums
Joe Walsh – Guitar
Kip Winger – Bass, vocals
Bruce Witkin – Guitar, Bass, Piano
01. The Last Vampire
02. Raise The Dead
03. My Generation
04. Whole Lotta Love
05. I Got A Line On You
06. Five To One/Break On Through (To The Other Side)
07. One/Jump Into The Fire
08. Come and Get It
10. Cold Turkey
11. Manic Depression
12. Itchycoo Park
13. School’s Out/Another Brick In The Wall
14. My Dead Drunk Friends
It was about three years ago when shock rock legend Alice Cooper was talking about doing a cover album. Tribute style album to his “dead friends” like Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon. Since then not much information was released and it would appear that this album would never happen. Earlier this year Alice Cooper announce that he was in the process of reanimate the Hollywood Vampires, an early 1970’s club for famous rock stars on the Sunset Strip. This reanimation would include the help from none other then Joe Perry of Aerosmith and Hollywood superstar Johnny Depp. And what was meant to be a simple Alice Cooper cover album, turned into something much bigger. Particularly when Rock ‘n Roll legends such as Brian Johnson, Paul McCartney, Slash, Kip Winger and many more joined this endeavour.
With such big names involved expectations rose quickly. Now-a-days lots of people are getting involved with the “super-group” sort of thing. But, hell yes – THIS IS a super-group. As with the original Hollywood Vampires, this “band” consists of longtime friends whom shared the passion for Rock ‘n Roll and especially the Rock ‘n Roll from the older days. You definitely get hear the passion in every minute of this record.
“Hollywood Vampires” is a virtual time machine, which takes us back to the 60’s and 70’s. This album has a very authentic sound. The production allows the album to be very earthy and it has a kind of garage band feel that creates a very special atmosphere. Listening to this album is fun. It draws you into being a part of the jam session. Every note of this album is an excellent homage to Classic Rock n Roll.
When it comes to cover albums, there are songs that work for you and some that don’t. It’s the same here. How much you enjoy this album depends on how much you are into the original songs. So half of the tracks weren’t my cup of tea, but that is a matter of taste. I didn’t get into “Whole Lotta Love”, although Brian Johnson sounds pretty cool on this one. Others which I didn’t get into included; “One/Jump Into The Fire” and “Manic Depression”. They didn’t want to grow on me and melodies didn’t stick in my head. But if you love the original songs you’ll love those cover versions too.
Some tracks sound better than the originals. “My Generation”, “Five To One/Break On Through (To The Other Side)”, “Come And Get It” (McCartney at his best!) and “Itchycoo Park” were made to sound powerful. My personal highlight was Cooper’s very own “School’s Out” that was mixed up with “Another Brick In The Wall” featuring Brian Johnson on vocals and Slash on guitar. Johnson and Cooper collaborating on “Schools Out” – how amazing is that?! It fits perfectly. Both do a very good job on this track. Alice Cooper shows how flexible his voice is, with the voice of Sir Christopher Lee (R.I.P.) utilized in the intro is very atmospheric and has this kind of 70’s horror movie feeling to it.
But with all these good things there is still some room for improvement. I really don’t get why this album was advertised as a collaboration between Cooper, Depp and Perry because Joe Perry just appears on 4 or 5 tracks as one of many guitarist. Perry was not involved in the songwriting of the two new songs “Raise The Dead” and “My Dead Drunk Friends”, which sound way too bulky by the way. Even in the “Special Thanks” section of the CD just Alice and Johnny Depp are mentioned.
Maybe this sounds weird now; the major problem with this album is the mass of guest musicians, especially the huge number of guitarists. They are all legends, we all know that – and that makes it even more disappointing because none of them has the chance to shine on this album. Imagine there are four guitarists that play in one single song that is under three minutes long. What the hell? Johnny Depp, as an example, is always featured on guitar but I can’t tell you which solo he played or if he was just on the rhythm guitar and it applies to all the other guitarists. There is simply not enough space for them to bring their skills to life. It would have been much better when one or two guitarists would have played on each song. Then they could have unfolded their unique style in solos and so on. There are so many gifted musicians with individual styles here and you don’t notice it in all these songs. This is so sad. Don’t get me wrong – it all rocks, it all sounds good but it could have been much more individual.
But this shouldn’t stop you from buying “Hollywood Vampires” because it is a worthy cover album that does the original songs justice. It features a great atmosphere throughout the entire album. It’s definitely not a kind of cheap cover album where musicians just want to make some money in the easiest way possible. It’s a record that was done with much passion and fun as possible. If you love the songs of that particular era or if you are into Classic Rock in general, this album is for you! Oh and Alice Cooper fans will also find what they are looking for.
Written by: Thomas Schwarzkopf