Review #112: The Hollywood Vampires – Hollywood Vampires (self-titled)

Artist – The Hollywood Vampires
Album – Hollywood Vampires (self-titled) (2015)

Check it out –

The Hollywood Vampires were initially a drinking club for some of the 70s most notable rock figures, from Alice Cooper to Keith Moon to John Lennon. The actual band is led by three main members, Johnny Depp (Pirates Of The Carribean), Joe Perry (Aerosmith) and the original clubs president Alice Cooper. These three are paying tribute to that club, its members and the music of that decade, by bringing in a string of prolific rock musicians to perform with them and to record on their first album. This album is the self-titled ‘Hollywood Vampires’.

I have yet to review an album with so many popular musicians contributing to it, so I will first start with the list of contributors:

– Johnny Depp
– Alice Cooper
– Joe Perry
– Tommy Henriksen
– Duff McKagan
– Matt Sorum
– Dennis Dunaway
– Bob Ezrin
– Perry Farrell
– Dave Grohl
– Tommy Henriksen
– Brian Johnson
– Charlie Judge
– Robby Krieger
– Abe Laboriel Jr.
– Paul McCartney
– Orianthi
– Slash
– Neil Smith
– Glen Sobel
– Zak Starkey
– Joe Walsh
– Kip Winger
– Duff McKagan
… Incredible right?

To pay tribute to the rock stars of the 60s/70s Hollywood Vampires have created an album mostly comprised of covers from these decades, spanning from Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ to Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Manic Depression’. The band try to put their own twist on these songs, sometimes changing the instrumentation and structures, but for the most part they are note for note covers, which you’d expect from a cover band, not a group of highly influential musicians, you expect change and innovation. Most of the covers honestly just fall flat, especially the more “popular” ones … although the replacement of a guitar with a harmonica on ‘Whole Lotta Love’ is okay. ‘Hollywood Vampires’ features just two originals, the first full songs ‘Raise The Dead’ and the last song ‘My Dead Drunk Friends’, a fitting tribute to Coopers past Hollywood Vampire friends which features an interesting sea shanty type chanting of fighting and drinking. One last key factor of this album is the use of actor Christopher Lee in the intro, in which he recites a passage from ‘Dracula’ in his signature haunting voice. Although the performance here sounds fine, it is a bit of a weird mixture amongst the rest of the album. Obviously the name of the club/band has vampires in and one song is called ‘Raise The Dead’, but the rest of the album has nothing to do with this subject, it is simply a collection of cover from artists in the club, making the vampire related intro seem confusing and alone.

Many supergroups have popped up and disappeared, and I feel The Hollywood Vampires will be the next one. The concept is interesting, the history is interesting, the songs they picked to cover are classics and almost no-one has managed to pull so many high-profile artists in to collaborate on one album as they have … it’s just not that impactful on the basic level, in the music.


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