The word 'supergroup' gets thrown around a lot these days, but truly, it doesn't get much super-er than Hollywood Vampires, who comprise the ‘Hollywood’ trio of Alice Cooper, Joe Perry and Johnny Depp, who return to dazzle us with their explosive second album - as the current line up - ‘Rise’.
In 1969, on the Sunset Strip at the legendary club, the Rainbow Bar & Grill, the Hollywood Vampires were born in the upstairs bar. It was a gathering place for the rock stars living in or passing through L.A. "To join the club, one simply had to out drink all of the members," says Alice Cooper, a founding member of the original Vampires. Cooper and good friend Johnny Depp got together and decided the spirit of The Hollywood Vampires should live again —minus the drinking. Cooper and Depp were joined by Joe Perry (Aerosmith lead guitarist), who is an old friend of both, and the recording began: a tribute to the original Hollywood Vampires. An environment was born for great artists to hang, laugh and play together.
Seconds into the opening track “I Want My Now,” it’s clear this supergroup has created something special – the chemistry between the individuals is unmistakeable when they come together on stage or in the recording studio. Forget the star-studded lineup’s individual reputations, “Rise” is some of the purest, unapologetic and most enjoyable rock and roll of the year, made by masters of the craft and true fans of the form.
Unlike their 2015 debut record, the new album ‘Rise’ consists mainly of original material, written by the band. There are however, in the spirit of the Vampires’ original mission, three covers of songs originally written and recorded by some fellow rockers who died far too young: an intimate and intense version of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” beautifully performed by Johnny Depp; the late Jim Carroll Band’s “People Who Died,” and Johnny Thunder’s “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory,” sung by Joe Perry. Raucous rock anthems like “The Boogieman Surprise” and “Who’s Laughing Now,” capture the natural, raw, celebratory attitude of Hollywood Vampires displayed in their rowdy shows around the world. But the album shows off their range as well with tracks like “We Gotta Rise” – a tongue-in-cheek politics song in the the tradition of Alice’s “Elected” – to the psychedelic gothic epic of “Mr. Spider.”
“Rise is not only a totally different animal than the first Vampires album, it is unique to anything I’ve ever been a part of. I approached it very differently than I usually do when working on an album. Each of us; Joe, Johnny, Tommy and myself have written songs on this album,” Cooper says in a press release. “What is different though is that I didn’t try to change any songs to be more ‘Alice-like.’ Because each of us has different influences, the sound of this album is very cool. I think that with this album, we are establishing what the Vampires’ sound really is, whereas with the first album we were more tipping our hats to our fallen rock n roll brothers.”
“Rise came from pure creative energy, which is just like playing live with the Vampires,” cites Perry. “The record showcases everyone doing what they do best without anyone looking over our shoulders. There was no pressure or deadlines, allowing us to write and record an album that is one of the freest and most honest sounding records I’ve been part of. I can’t wait to perform some of these tunes live for our fans.”