Posts Tagged ‘Alice Cooper’

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The Hollywood Vampires — the supergroup of Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry performed their cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes” on The Late Late Show With James Corden on Tuesday. evening

Depp fronted the epic slow-burner with expert care and attention, starting his vocals at a rumble and building, with each verse, to a belt. Meanwhile, Perry and Cooper crafted the song’s searing guitar parts, later providing back-up harmonies for Depp and eventually joining him at the microphone to sing the final refrain, “We can be heroes, we can be heroes.”

Hollywood Vampires’ cover of “Heroes” appears on the band’s new album “Rise”, which was released in June. The 16-track record was produced by Tommy Henriksen and mainly comprises original tunes, though there are also covers off the Jim Carroll Band’s “People Who Died” and Johnny Thunder’s “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory.”

Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Joe Perry and their band Hollywood Vampires perform David Bowie’s classic song ‘Heroes’ for the Stage 56 audience.

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Long before the epic anthems, platinum albums and sold-out concert tours — before the boas, guillotines and outrageous urban legends, Alice Cooper merely was a peculiar unknown band, peddling a peculiar debut record. That LP was released 50 years ago this week on Frank Zappa’s Straight Records label.

Formed during the mid-‘60s in Phoenix, Arizonathe Spiders later would change their name to Nazz. By 1968, the struggling combo now known as Alice Cooper, was residing in southern California, fighting for survival on the L.A. club scene, developing a reputation for being a “weird” band — a distinction that soon got them noticed by Zappa, as well as by their legendary manager, Shep Gordon.

From a distance, Alice Cooper’s musically meandering, psychedelic-sounding debut bared little resemblance to the rock-ribbed arena style that would define the band’s iconic latter work. However, upon examining the record’s 13 “tea leaves” a bit closer, the future could certainly be seen.

Despite the listed production team — Ian UnderwoodHerb Cohen and Frank Zappa, manager Shep Gordon has stated that “Pretties for You” actually had no producer — and it shows. Gordon maintains further that the album merely was a hodgepodge of incomplete compositions recorded during the band’s in-studio rehearsal.

A commercial failure, Pretties for You barely grazed the bottom rung of the Billboard Top 200 — reaching only a disappointing #193. Additionally, none of the tracks ever have been performed by the band in concert since the release of their 1971 breakout album, Love It to Death.

The record opens with “Titanic Overture” a haunting, orchestrated, minute-long snippet that sinks abruptly and basically leads nowhere. Another brief interlude, “10 Minutes Before the Worm” is clunky and trippy. Possessing no real structure to speak of, it does provide a brief splash of melody, just before falling apart randomly. The coolest thing about “10 Minutes” is that it offers the first glimpse of the gloriously skitzo signature style of drummer Neal Smith — the musical force who would arguably deserve the MVP award on subsequent Cooper records.

Pretties for You soon erupts into a splendid dysfunctional fiesta in which several of the tracks often sound like songs. A stylistic collision between The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Idlewild South, “Swing Low, Sweet Cheerio” is an authentic, harmonica-driven classic rock stand-out. Other noteworthy numbers include the occasionally melodic, lo-fi live track “Levity Ball” and “Apple Bush” — a near-radio-friendly tune nailed to the floor by bassist Dennis Dunaway and accented by lead vocalist Alice Cooper’s legit harmonica work. While less than hooky, “Fields of Regret” bursts with ear-splitting urgency, courtesy of guitarists Glen Buxton and Michael Bruce. Combined with Cooper’s oft eerie vocal, “Fields” lights a path showing where the band would travel musically in the not so distant future.

Of the record’s super-highlights, “Living” is an irresistibly buzzy delight, while the lead-off single, “Reflected” serves an adequate demo for what would become, “Elected,” the monster Top 40 hit from the band’s 1973 album, Billion Dollar Babies. And although it certainly is catchy, “Changing Arranging” woulda, coulda, shoulda delivered even more, had celebrated producer Bob Ezrin arrived on the A.C. scene two records earlier.

In sum, Pretties for You is as “weird” now as when it first was released, half a century ago. And while it may not be the preferred “go-to” record that most Cooper fans pop in the deck, but it remains a much-loved and well-respected work among the band’s most fervent followers.

“Pretties for You” Track Listing:

Side One
01. Titanic Overture (1:12)
02. 10 Minutes Before the Worm (1:39)
03. Swing Low, Sweet Cheerio (5:42)
04. Today Mueller (1:48)
05. Living (3:12)
06. Fields of Regret (5:44)

Side Two
01. No Longer Umpire (2:02)
02. Levity Ball (4:39)
03. B.B. on Mars (1:17)
04. Reflected (3:17)
05. Apple Bush (3:08)
06. Earwigs to Eternity (1:19)
07. Changing Arranging (3:03)

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The Hollywood Vampires return with their explosive second album, “Rise”. Rock and roll royalty Joe Perry, Hollywood superstar Johnny Depp and shock rock icon Alice Cooper join forces once again for the unmissable rock album of 2019. Seconds into the opening track ‘I Want My Now,’ it’s clear this supergroup has created something special – the chemistry between the individuals is unmistakable 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.

when Hollywood Vampires first hit the scene with their 2015 self-titled debut album, expectations were understandably high. Sadly, the majority of what was delivered was a glorified covers album from Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, the godfather of shock rock, Alice Cooper, and Hollywood royalty, Johnny Depp. Don’t get me wrong, the album was great and a tribute to rock legends lost over the years, but there was a desire to hear some original tunes from some of the most talented men to take to the stage.

Rise actually demonstrates the talents on offer. Opening with “I Want My Now,” over seven minutes of extravagant guitar riffs and Cooper’s instantly recognizable rasping vocals, it would be a Guitar Hero player’s wet dream to nail this tune on expert level! You would be forgiven for comparing the opening of “Who’s Laughing Now” to industrial metal bands such as Nine Inch Nails or even Rammstein, but that feeling is short lived as the tune descends into a dark, yet riff-tastic cut with Cooper’s vocals being complimented by his bandmates.

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” (the first single from the new album), 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. 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.” – Alice Cooper

Where Rise really shines is when the players, especially Cooper, steps out of their comfort zone for the bluegrass-inspired “Welcome to Bushwackers” (featuring Jeff Beck and John Waters). This is such a fun song that is also very unexpected. In order to give an analogy, imagine The Blues Brothers playing to beer-guzzling rednecks but having to adjust their set to avoid an ass-kicking. Now imagine the Blues Brothers are Hollywood Vampires! Now, that would be a show worth seeing. “Mr. Spider” further demonstrates the variety of styles showcased on Rise. It is a psychogenic acid trip through the dark and twisted sub-conscious of Cooper, Perry, and Depp, a terrifying, yet enticing rabbit hole to journey down.

The tone then shifts dramatically to a politically-driven, punk rock sing along with “We Gotta Rise.” Much like “Welcome to Bushwackers” it is an unexpected change of pace to what you would expect from these three musicians. It is this that makes Rise really shine: the unexpected! This album is bold, adventurous, unafraid and unapologetic. It is a credit to Cooper, Perry, and Depp as they are sure to be aware that their fans would be looking to hear a mishmash of Aerosmith and Alice Cooper, which, of course, they have delivered, but alongside that they have produced tunes that essentially gives the middle finger to what you, I and the world expects them to deliver. In conclusion, these vampires do not suck at all!. Also featured on Rise is a cover of the iconic David Bowie song “Heroes.” Check out this live video of Hollywood Vampires performing last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

“Rise”  2019 Edel Germany GmbH. earMUSIC is a project of Edel. Released on: 2019-06-21

1 T-Rex, Hot Love February 1971

Marc Bolan’s third huge hit in a row, No 1 for four weeks. His Top of the Pops performance showed him going truly imperial, with flying-V guitar, pink trousers, silver jacket and, prompted by his friend and colleague Chelita Secunda, glitter on his cheekbones.

2 David Bowie, Queen Bitch December 1971

“There should be some real unabashed prostitution in this business,” Bowie told Cream magazine in late 1971. He did his best to make it happen with this Velvet Underground tribute, saturated in homosexuality and Manhattan sleaze. Mick Ronson’s guitar slices through everything.

3 Alice Cooper, School’s Out April 1972

From Detroit by way of LA, these hard rockers had been wearing makeup and frocks since 1969, so were well-suited to the glam imperative. School’s Out was a definitive entrant in the teenage rampage stakes and scored hard with the kids, hitting No 1 for three weeks in the summer holidays.

4 Roxy Music, Virginia Plain August 1972

With Bryan Ferry’s ultra-stylised performance and Eno’s other wordly synth shrieks, this one definitely arrived from Planet Mars in the late summer of 1972. Chock-full of pop art and pop culture references, Virginia Plain was nothing less than a manifesto for a new age: “So me and you, just we two, got to search for something new.”

5 Mott The Hoople, All the Young Dudes July 1972

Bowie may have provided the raw material, but Mott gave the definitive performance of this generation-defining song, with its sneering reference to the Beatles and the Stones. The musicians curled and uncurled around Ian Hunter’s snarling voice: “Oh is there concrete all around/ Or is it in my head.”

6 Lou Reed, Vicious November 1972

Another Bowie production, and another career revival. Vicious begins Reed’s second solo album in exactly the way that you would wish, with the poet laureate of Manhattan spitting out the Warhol inspired lyrics – “Vicious: you hit me with a flower” – while Mick Ronson, cutting through everything, embodies the song’s threat.

7 David Bowie, The Jean Genie November 1972

Bowie reached back to his 60s R&B days with this one, based on the old I’m a Man riff but updated with Ronson’s buzzing guitar, burlesque rhythms, gay double entendres – his by-now patented patch. The band did a fantastic Top of the Pops performance, recently rediscovered.

8 Slade, Cum On Feel the Noize February 1973

This was their fourth No 1 in 18 months, which gave guitarist Dave Hill an excuse – as if he needed it – to wear ever more outrageous outfits on Top of the Pops. An anthemic chorus and a lyric that’s a direct invitation “to get wild, wild, wild”.

9 Roxy Music, Editions of You March 1973

“For Your Pleasure” – with model and singer Amanda Lear on the cover – is one of the period’s few coherent albums, and this 120mph rocker is one of its hidden pleasures: a camp-saturated male bonding song, featuring ooohs, sirens, and the immortal line, “boys will be boys will be boyoyoys”.

10 Bonnie St Claire, Clap Your Hands and Stamp Your Feet May 1973

With its stomping tunes and rock’n’roll roots, glam was huge on the continent – blending, as it would, into Europop – and this is a great entrant from Holland, featuring Beach-Boys’ style backing vocals, terrace handclaps, and of course the ever-present Chuck Berry riffs.

11 T-Rex, 20th Century Boy May 1973

It could have been any of the four top-two hits that T-Rex had in 1972 – particularly Metal Guru – but this was the toughest of them all: a furious rocker with a heroic riff that showed, plain for all to see, just how well Bolan understood the nature of pop fame – 20th century toy, I wanna be your boy.

12 Iggy and the Stooges, Search and Destroy June 1973

Iggy wore silver, the Stooges were produced by David Bowie, the record sounded glam – all treble tones and slicing guitar – but Search and Destroy, like its parent album Raw Power, went much further and deeper than hardly anyone wished in 1973. Three years later, it would find its time.

13 New York Dolls, Trash July 1973

Simultaneously ludicrous and tough, sloppy and hard, vicious and tender – just listen to those soaring, girl-group harmonies – Trash was, along with Jet Boy, the Dolls‘ big pop move. It being 1973, of course, there could only have been one question: “Uh, how do you call your lover boy?” In the US, they didn’t answer.

14 The Sweet, The Ballroom Blitz September 1973

The Sweet were on a roll after Blockbuster and this may well be the archetypal glam song: teenage hysteria – check; camp interjections and beyond over the top TV costumes – check; a stomping beat, tough guitar riffs and a fey vocal – check. Unstoppable and still thrilling: the contrived becomes real.

15 Mud, Dyna-Mite October 1973

Written by the Sweet svengalis, Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, “Dyna-Mite” stays firmly within the ballroom – glam’s central location – during this relentless stomper. Mud yocked it up on Top of the Pops with ludicrous flares and a spot of aceing – the biker’s dance, shoulder to shoulder – and the future Sex Pistols were listening.

16 Suzi Quatro, Devil Gate Drive January 1974

Quatro had gold-plated garage credentials – her first band, the Pleasure Seekers, had recorded What a Way to Die in 1966 – and this, her fourth hit (No 1 for two weeks), mixes rock’n’roll with a hint of the Burundi beat, while continuing the explosive club/ballroom theme of the time with a hint of autobiography.

17 Sparks, This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us April 1974

Sparks were the late great glam flash: tricky, artificial, super-hooky and high-concept, with a hard rocking band and definitive high gloss sleeves. They took a song with the lyric “you hear the thunder of stampeding rhinos, elephants and tacky tigers” all the way to No 2, and made it seem natural.

18 David Bowie, Rebel Rebel US version May 1974

Bowie’s goodbye to the youth movement he had helped to form – “You’ve got your mother in a whirl, because she’s not sure whether you’re a boy or a girl” – and his last top 10 hit for 18 months. This US mix has dreamy backwards harmonies, extra percussion and phased guitar.

19 Iron, Virgin Rebels Rule June 1974

Almost all the great glam records were hits, but this is one of the best that wasn’t: an abrasive slice of Sweetarama from a Scottish band, who toughened up the teenage-rampage meme while wearing Clockwork Orange-inspired costumes. The singer had a padlock on his crotch with the legend: “No Entry.”

20 Sweet, The Sixteens July 1974

A four-minute mini-opera on the theme of failed youth revolution, and a summer top-10 hit, this shows the renamed group – having lost the definite article – rising to the song’s complex structure with a totally convincing performance. The Sixteens is a classic of teen disillusionment, at the point of glam’s supersession.