One of the early supporters of the band that would become Alice Cooper was The Doors, and lead singer Vincent Furnier, who was one of Jim Morrison’s drinking friends. Drinking would become such a staple of the rock and rollers after hours life that he and his rock stars created a drinking club called the Hollywood vampires. Forty years after most of those rock stars death Furnier has formed a super group with Joe Perry and actor Johnny Depp called The Hollywood Vampires and together with some heavy weights of rock and roll including Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Brian Johnson, Dave Grohl, Zak Starkey, Perry Farrell, Slash, Christopher Lee, and Robby Krieger
The Hollywood Vampires opens with a dramatic reading of the “Children of the Night” section of Dracula by Christopher Lee works as an epigram for the album. Following that is one of the two original songs on the album, “Raise the Dead” acts as an introduction to the album, the two in concert set the tone for the album .
In The Hollywood Vampires both the group Cooper, Depp and Perry have managed to give the group and the album their own ‘sound’ that is maintained throughout the album which was probably hard to do with all the special guests featured on the album and their differing styles, as well as the songs covered runs the gamut of rock and roll styles and influences as well. So, no one player and their sound overwhelms the group you’d be hard pressed (unless you have a very discerning ear) to distinguish who is playing what. That isn’t to say that the individual artists aren’t given their own room to display their unique talents Paul McCartney on “Come and Get It” both his vocals and playing, Brian Johnson trading off vocals with Cooper on “Schools Out”, and interestingly enough Perry Farrell and Cooper’s voice meld very well on a few of the songs.
Furnier displays a range in his singing from the creepy Alice Cooper to a lighter touch on Harry Nilsson’s “One/Jump into the Fire”, or even the very ‘pop’ rendition of Randy California‘s, “I Got a Line On You”. A real standout of the album is Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta’ Love” in which Cooper gives the opening lines a much more dangerous edge than the more flower power of Zeppelin but then kicks into a really rocking cover of the song.
As oft has been stated, Cooper started doing these covers in concert and decided to put together the group and the album as a tribute to the rockers he hung out with and drank with, (Cooper mentions Jim Morrison in just about every interview about “The Hollywood Vampires”). Robby Krieger plays on not only the “Five to One/Break on Through” medley but also the Harry Nilsson medley of “One/Jump into the Fire”. In the liner notes, Cooper also adds another touching mention of The Doors, in remembering Ray Manzarek along with Jim Morrison.
Rock fans of all flavors of rock and roll will really like the covers on this album, some rocking listening for your drive to work or something a little different for your next party. “Hollywood Vampires” is now available on Amazon. If you’re a fan of vinyl look for the vinyl release October 16.
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