During a recent interview with Tommy Sommers of Three Sides Of The Coin, rock legend Alice Cooper spoke at length about HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES, his side project with actor Johnny Depp and AEROSMITH guitarist Joe Perry.
"Right now," Alice explained, "Johnny's doing movies and Joe's doing the [AEROSMITH] residency in Vegas, and I'm doing my [solo] tour, so we always have to plan the VAMPIRES around that, which is kind of tricky. In order to book a VAMPIRES tour, you have to look a year ahead. Next year, we've got a lot of European dates coming up and possibly even a Chinese tour, which would be interesting... That band is great because I don't have to play Alice Cooper in that band. I'm the lead singer. Alice will never talk to the audience [during solo performances] until the very end of the show, whereas Alice in the VAMPIRES talks to the audience all night. If we do a DOORS song, I'll tell them a story about Jim Morrison. If we do a WHO song, I'll tell them a story about Keith Moon. You have a wealth — all those stories, and the audience wants to hear that."
Cooper says that despite having three well-known and successful figures in the band, the members of HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES get along splendidly. "You take three alpha males like that — and that's not counting the other guys in the band that are all in big bands — and realize that there's never been an argument, there's never been anybody leaving stage angry," Cooper said. "During rehearsal, we've never had an argument. It's a very cooperative band, and we get things done that way. Johnny gets up there and plays his butt off. He's there for rehearsal before I get there. People are really surprised when they hear him play because they don't realize how good of a guitar player he is. I think he'd rather play guitar than act. I told him not to lose his day job, because we can't pay him $25 million a show, but I think he loves playing guitar and he loves being up on stage... It's kind of nice that I'm not always the frontman. I can move around and other people can take the lead. To me, that's a lot of freedom."
Even though HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES's second album, "Rise", was released just six months ago, Cooper says he's already planning the group's future recordings. "I don't live in the past at all," he said. "I love doing the [old] songs, but I don't live in the past. I think if you think that you've written your best songs, you should stop writing songs. If you think you've done your best shows, you should stop. Retire. I can understand people retiring if that's their attitude. I guarantee you Paul McCartney thinks he has not written his best songs yet. I guarantee you Bob Dylan [thinks he] has not written his best songs yet. I look at it the same way. That song is still out there... I have millions of fans out there that want to hear new music. They want to see what's Alice writing about now... [My] next album's all about Detroit. It's, like, a tribute to Detroit, and I've already got an idea for the album after that that I think is going to really be good. I'm thinking two albums ahead. Same for the VAMPIRES — I'm already thinking two albums ahead for the VAMPIRES."
"Rise" — which was produced by Tommy Henriksen, a member of Cooper's solo band since 2011 — was released on June 21 via earMUSIC.
HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES was founded by Depp, Cooper and Perry in 2015 to honor the music of rock legends who died from excess. The name was taken from a celebrity drinking club formed by Cooper in the 1970s.
On its two studio albums, the band has covered the likes of THE WHO, THE DOORS, LED ZEPPELIN, David Bowie and Johnny Thunders.