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Vampire Legends: Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp (Countdown to Halloween)

Alice Cooper

A strong contender for the hard rock album of the year is the self-titled Hollywood Vampires record, released in September. It is mostly a covers album, featuring songs by bands who have lost members to death, such as the Who’s “My Generation,” Jimi Hendrix’ “Manic Depression,” and the Doors’ “Five to One/Break On Through (To the Other Side).” The best cover song on the album is Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” There are two new songs, “Raise the Dead” and “My Dead Drunk Friends,” as well as a voice-over track called “The Last Vampire” featuring the late Christopher Lee reciting a passage from Dracula.

Johnny Depp

Alice Cooper is the lead singer, while Johnny Depp and Joe Perry share guitar duties. The list of guest musicians is a who’s who of rock and roll: Dave Grohl, Brian Johnson, Robby Krieger, Slash, Joe Walsh, Kip Winger, and Perry Farrell are just a few of the huge names that contributed to the record. Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, and Tommy Henricksen joined the band for live performances in Los Angeles and Brazil.

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Hollywood Vampires by Hollywood Vampires (2015)

hvamps

Hollywood Vampires
by Hollywood Vampires
UMe, 2015
48 minutes

An amazing lineup, great songs, and spot-on performances make the self-titled Hollywood Vampires record a must-have for hard rock fanatics. Of the fourteen tracks, eleven are cover songs or medleys, and they are fantastic. Alice Cooper is masterful as always as the main vocalist, while Johnny Depp and Tommy Henriksen are perfect on guitars. All of the cover songs pay tribute to friends of Cooper who have passed from this life, such as “My Generation” (The Who), “Five To One/Break On Through (To The Other Side)” (The Doors), and “Manic Depression” (Jimi Hendrix). The sultry harmonica-driven intro to Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” creeps into the hard rocker that everyone knows and loves. Cooper has been performing a medley of his own “School’s Out” and Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” for years in concert; it is nice to finally have a studio version of that medley with original Alice Cooper members Neal Smith (drums) and Dennis Dunaway (bass).

The original compositions fit in perfectly with Alice Cooper’s style. “Raise the Dead” would have sounded great on any Alice Cooper album, and “Dead Drunk Friends” has one of the coolest swaggers ever recorded. Other guest stars on the album include Joe Walsh, Orianthi, Kip Winger, Slash, and Paul McCartney. Joe Perry of Aerosmith shows up for four songs, and Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction shares the mic on two tracks. The late Christopher Lee is featured as the narrator on “The Last Vampire,” the first cut on the album.

Hollywood Vampires could be the album of the year.

Check out the Hollywood Vampires’ “Raise The Dead”:

Tracklist: (h/t to Loudwire for providing this information)
1. The Last Vampire
Narration: Sir Christopher Lee
Keyboards and Sound Design: Johnny Depp, Bob Ezrin and Justin Cortelyou
2. Raise the Dead
(Johnny Depp, Bruce Witkin, Tommy Henriksen, Alice Cooper, Bob Ezrin, Rob Klonel)
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin
Drums: Glenn Sobel
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Background Vocals: Alice Cooper, Tommy Henriksen, Bob Ezrin
3. My Generation
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Drums: Zak Starkey
Background Vocals: Tommy Henriksen,
4. Whole Lotta Love
Vocals: Brian Johnson, Alice Cooper
Guitars: Joe Walsh, Johnny Depp, Orianthi, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin
Harmonica: Alice Cooper
Drums: Zak Starkey
Bass: Kip Winger
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
Backing Vocals: Alice Cooper, Tommy Henriksen
5. I Got a Line
Vocals: Alice Cooper, Perry Farrell
Guitars: Joe Walsh, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin
Drums: Abe Laboriel Jr.
Bass: Kip Winger
Background Vocals: Perry Farrell, Tommy Henriksen, Bob Ezrin
6. Five to One/Break on Through
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Robby Krieger, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen
Drums: Abe Laboriel Jr.
Farfisa: Charlie Judge
Bass: Bruce Witkin
7. One/Jump Into the Fire
Vocals: Alice Cooper, Perry Farrell
Guitars: Robby Krieger, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin
Drums: Dave Grohl
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Keyboard: Bob Ezrin, Bruce Witkin
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
8. Come and Get It
Vocals: Paul McCartney, Alice Cooper
Guitars: Joe Perry, Johnny Depp
Piano: Paul McCartney
Drums: Abe Laboriel Jr.
Bass: Paul McCartney
Background Vocals: Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Abe Laboriel Jr., Bob Ezrin
9. Jeepster
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Joe Perry, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen,
Drums: Glenn Sobel
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
Background Vocals: Bob Ezrin
10. Cold Turkey
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Joe Perry, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen
Drums: Glenn Sobel
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
Background Vocals: Alice Cooper, Tommy Henriksen
11. Manic Depression
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Joe Walsh, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen
Drums: Zak Starkey
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Piano: Bob Ezrin
12. Itchycoo Park
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen
Drums: Glenn Sobel
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
Background Vocals: Alice Cooper, Tommy Henriksen, Bob Ezrin
13. School’s Out/Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2
Vocals: Alice Cooper, Brian Johnson
Guitar: Slash, Joe Perry, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin
Drums: Neal Smith
Bass: Dennis Dunaway
Background Vocals: Kip Winger, Bob Ezrin
14. Dead Drunk Friends
(Johnny Depp, Bruce Witkin, Tommy Henriksen, Alice Cooper, Bob Ezrin)
Vocals: Alice Cooper
Guitars: Johnny Depp, Bruce Witkin
Drums: Glenn Sobel
Programming: Tommy Henriksen
Bass: Bruce Witkin
Piano: Bruce Witkin, Bob Ezrin
Background Vocals: Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, Bruce Witkin, Bob Ezrin

Learn more about UMe.

Learn more about Hollywood Vampires.

Purchase Hollywood Vampires by Hollywood Vampires.

Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! My Adventures in the Alice Cooper Group by Dennis Dunaway and Chris Hodenfield (2015)

Snakes Guillotines Electric Chairs Alice Cooper Dennis Dunaway

Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!
My Adventures in the Alice Cooper Group

by Dennis Dunaway and Chris Hodenfield
Thomas Dunne Books, 2015
292 pages

Before Alice Cooper the man came Alice Cooper the group. Formed by high school buddies in Arizona, Alice Cooper originally referred to five men playing together as a unit: Vince Furnier, Dennis Dunaway, Glen Buxton, Michael Bruce, and Neal Smith. Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! tells the story of the Alice Cooper group from bass player Dunaway’s perspective, from the hardships of finding fame to the rush of being superstars, to the devastation of breaking up. It was not until the band’s third album, Love It to Death, and the successful single “I’m Eighteen,” that Alice Cooper finally realized the dream. Dunaway writes of hearing the song on the radio, “(W)e always knew we were famous. We were just glad to know the world had caught on to our way of thinking.”

While Dunaway does discuss the immoral excesses that often plague the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, he also examines the bond of friendship that the five members of Alice Cooper shared during the early years. He shows how drugs and alcohol contributed to the downfall of the group by inflating egos and hindering performances. While Dunaway does not seem bitter anymore about the breakup that occurred in the mid-1970s, it is clear there were hard feelings at the time.

Dunaway treats Buxton, who passed away in 1997, with an enormous amount of respect, though it appears that the guitarist’s demons may have forced him out of the band even if they had not all gone their separate ways. There is sadness in the face that Buxton was not around to participate in various recent reunions, including the group’s 2011 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The fact that the remaining four members were able to come back together, though, shows how strong the bonds of friendship were.

Most people are familiar with Alice Cooper’s biggest hits, from “School’s Out” to “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” but to get a behind-the-scenes look at the group during the time those songs were written and recorded, there is no better source than Dunaway’s Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! This book is highly recommended for fans of one of the greatest theatrical rock acts of all-time.

Learn more about Thomas Dunne Books.

Purchase Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!: My Adventures in The Alice Cooper Group by Dennis Dunaway and Chris Hodenfield.

Concert review: The Cringe, Alice Cooper, and Mötley Crüe (August 20, 2015 @ Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN)

My 16-year old son Joshua and I traveled to Indianapolis Thursday night to take in Alice Cooper and Mötley Crüe on the latter’s “All Bad Things Must Come To An End: The Final Tour” at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. I have seen both acts before, so I had an idea what to expect going in, and for the most part I was not disappointed.

Opening the show was a Manhattan-based band called The Cringe. The band is comprised of John Cusimano (who is married to TV cooking show host Rachel Ray), James Rotondi, Johnny Blaze, and Shawn Pelton. They opened their set with a catchy tune called “Anything You Say” from their forthcoming release Blind Spot, available in October. They have four other albums available now: Hiding in Plain Sight (2012), Play Thing (2010), Tipping Point (2007), and Scratch the Surface (2005). The Cringe also performed covers of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” and Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak.” A very good set to open the show that encouraged me to search out more about the band once I came home.

The Cringe will be playing with Alice Cooper and Mötley Crüe through September 6 in San Antonio. Click here to see a full list of The Cringe’s future dates.

Alice Cooper

I have seen Alice Cooper twice before, and Joshua attended one of those concerts with me. As expected, the classic shock rocker put on a spectacular show. Playing several classic songs from the 1970s through the 1990s, Cooper and his band rocked the Indianapolis crowd into a frenzy for the headliners. A very good video of the Philadelphia show with the same setlist can be seen here (part 1) and here (part 2).

The highlights of the show included “Feed My Frankenstein” and “Killer,” which led to the beheading of the singer and the song “I Love the Dead.” As an opening act, he had a shorter set than the last time we saw him, but still put on a wicked theatrical performance complete with the Frankenstein monster prancing around the stage and the guillotine.

Setlist for Alice Cooper at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, August 20, 2015:
1. The Black Widow
2. No More Mr. Nice Guy
3. Under My Wheels
4. I’m Eighteen
5. Billion Dollar Babies
6. Poison
7. Dirty Diamonds
8. Go to H***
9. Feed My Frankenstein
10. Ballad of Dwight Fry
11. Killer
12Love the Dead
13.School’s Out (medley with Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall)

Alice Cooper’s band is currently made up of Cooper as the lead singer, Ryan Roxie, Tommy Henriksen, and Nita Strauss on guitars, Chuck Garric on bass, and Glen Sobel on drums.

Purchase music by Alice Cooper.

Motley Crue

The headliner, of course, was Mötley Crüe, on what is being billed as the band’s final tour. Excuse me if I don’t entirely believe that, but time will tell. All of the band members have other projects in the works, such as Nikki’s Sixx:A.M. with James Michael and DJ Ashba, but it’s not difficult to envision a reunion five to ten years from now when the money made from this tour starts to dry up.

Thursday’s performance was not too disappointing to me, although if it had been my first experience with Mötley Crüe it may have been. Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, and Tommy Lee all sounded great, and have every time I’ve seen them before. But Vince Neil was awful, and always has been in concert (at least since 1998, which was my first Mötley Crüe concert). He either forgets the lyrics or just doesn’t have the stamina to sing them all. He was backed on this tour by a couple of female singers to fill in some of the gaps, but there were still several missed lines throughout the night.

I have to admit a bit of disappointment in Vince’s incessant use of curse words as well. Before you object and say, “It’s a rock and roll show, of course he cusses,” let me remind you that Alice Cooper does not drop the f-bomb every third word in his show. I’ve been to a lot of shows, and it always bothers me to hear a continual stream of profanity from the bands. There is no need for it, and it detracts from an otherwise enjoyable night.

Then there was the song, “MF of the Year.” Am I alone in wishing this song was dropped in favor of “Too Fast For Love” or “Too Young To Fall in Love”? Even “Afraid” would have been a better choice in my opinion. And that’s all this is, my opinion, and I realize others may disagree but I’m tired of the foul language.

Back to the good parts of the show…four songs from Dr. Feelgood, personally my favorite Mötley Crüe record, were performed. The drum rollercoaster was fun to watch; Tommy Lee playing upside-down was a trip. The band highlighted songs from their entire career (except Mötley Crüe and Generation Swine) starting with “Girls Girls Girls” and finishing up with “Home Sweet Home” in the middle of the arena.

All in all, a great night, and one I will not forget anytime soon. I’m very glad I decided to catch the tour, just in case it truly is the last.

Setlist for Mötley Crüe at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, August 20, 2015:

1. Girls, Girls, Girls
2. Wild Side
3. Primal Scream
4. Same Ol’ Situation (S.O.S.)
5. Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
6. Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room
7. Looks That Kill
8. MF of the Year
9. Anarchy in the U.K.
10. In The Beginning/Shout at the Devil
11. Louder Than H***
12. Saints of Los Angeles
13. Live Wire
14. T.N.T. (Terror ‘N Tinseltown)/Dr. Feelgood
15. Kickstart My Heart
16. (encore) Home Sweet Home

“All Bad Things Must Come To An End: The Final Tour” is supposed to wrap up December 31 in Los Angeles. Click here to see a full list of dates, and make plans to see Mötley Crüe one last time.

Purchase music by Mötley Crüe.

Learn more about Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

R.I.P. Dick Wagner

(December 14, 1942 – July 30, 2014)

Guitarist and songwriter Dick Wagner, best known for his work with Alice Cooper, has passed away of respiratory failure. Wagner co-wrote six of the songs on Cooper’s classic 1975 album, Welcome To My Nightmare, including the title track, “Only Women Bleed,” and concert staple “Department of Youth.” Wagner also contributed guitar work to KISS’ Destroyer and Revenge albums.

Meet the opening act for the Mötley Crüe/Alice Cooper tour: THE RASKINS

The Raskins have been invited to open for Mötley Crüe on their upcoming Final Tour, which is already sold out in many markets and also features very special guest Alice Cooper.

In anticipation of such a huge tour and career crossroads, The Raskins (which is comprised of Logan and Roger Raskin) have brought in respected producer Brett Hestla to re-mix 4 tracks from their self-titled debut album (released May 13th via MIRAL Records distributed by BDG/RED Distribution, LLC – a division of SONY Music Entertainment). Hestla first came to prominence as the touring bassist in CREED from 1999-2004. After Creed disbanded, he joined with Clint Lowery from Sevendust and Corey Lowery from Stuck Mojo to form DARK NEW DAY.

While Motley Crüe’s Final Tour will see one of rock’s most iconic groups gracefully bow out from the touring circuit, it will introduce one of the most promising rocks acts to a whole new audience from coast to coast. Get ready to rock with The Raskins!

CONFIRMED DATES OF MOTLEY CRUE/ALICE COOPER/THE RASKINS TOUR:

07/02/14 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena
07/04/14 Milwaukee, WI Summerfest
07/05/14 Noblesville, IN Klipsch Music Center
07/06/14 Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
07/08/14 Columbus, OH Schottenstein Center
07/09/14 Maryland Heights, MO Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
07/11/14 Des Moines, IA Wells Fargo Arena
07/12/14 Wichita, KS Intrust Bank Arena
07/13/14 Tulsa, OK Bok Center
07/15/14 Cedar Park, TX Cedar Park Center
07/16/14 Dallas, TX Gexa Energy Pavilion
07/18/14 Albuquerque, NM Isleta Amphitheater
07/19/14 Phoenix, AZ Ak-Chin Pavilion
07/21/14 Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl
07/22/14 Irvine, CA Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
07/23/14 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre
07/25/14 Reno, NV Reno Events Center
07/26/14 Ridgefield, WA Sleep Country Amphitheater
07/27/14 Auburn, WA White River Amphitheatre
07/29/14 Wheatland, CA Sleep Train Amphitheatre
07/30/14 Chula Vista, CA Sleep Train Amphitheatre
08/01/14 Salt Lake City, UT USANA Amphitheatre
08/02/14 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
08/03/14 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
08/05/14 Sturgis, SD Sturgis Buffalo Chip
08/06/14 Sioux City, IA Tyson Events Center
08/08/14 Tinley Park, IL First Midway Bank Amphitheatre
08/09/14 Clarkston, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre
08/12/14 Cuyahoga Falls, OH Blossom Music Center
08/13/14 Burgettston, PA First Niagara Pavilion
08/15/14 Pelham, AL Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
08/16/14 Alpharetta, GA Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
08/17/14 Tampa, FL MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
08/19/14 Charlotte, NC PNC Music Pavilion
08/20/14 Virginia Beach, VA Farm Bureau Live
08/22/14 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
08/23/14 Camden, NJ Susquehanna Bank Center
08/24/14 Mansfield, MA Xfinity Center
08/26/14 Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center
08/27/14 Allentown, PA The Great Allentown Fair
08/29/14 Wantagh, NY Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
08/30/14 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
08/31/14 Darien Center, NY Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
10/10/14 Oklahoma City, OK Chesapeake Arena
10/11/14 The Woodlands, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
10/12/14 Bossier City, LA CenturyLink Center
10/14/14 Louisville, KY KFC Yum! Center
10/15/14 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
10/19/14 Jacksonville, FL Veterans Memorial Arena
10/21/14 Greenville, SC Bon Secours Wellness Arena
10/22/14 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum Complex
10/24/14 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata Event Center
10/25/14 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata Event Center
10/26/14 Montville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
10/28/14 New York, NY Madison Square Garden
10/29/14 Syracuse, NY The Oncenter Complex
11/05/14 Biloxi, MS Mississippi Coast Coliseum
11/06/14 Southaven, MS Landers Center
11/08/14 Detroit, MI Joe Louis Arena
11/09/14 Moline, IL iWireless Center
11/11/14 Green Bay, WI Resch Center
11/12/14 Madison, WI Alliant Energy Center
11/13/14 Omaha, NE CenturyLink Center
11/15/14 St Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
11/16/14 Fargo, ND FargoDome
11/22/14 Spokane, WA Spokane Arena

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT:

The Raskins On iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-raskins/id866391922
www.TheRaskins.com
www.facebook.com/TheRaskins
www.twitter.com/TheRaskinTwins
www.youtube.com/theraskinbrothers

JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Ozzy Osbourne edition

Ultimate Ozzy Osbourne

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a big fan of the 1980s hard rock scene. Van Halen, Mötley Crüe, and Poison were some of the biggest bands back then. When it comes to solo artists, there was none bigger than Ozzy Osbourne. He always picked great guitarists to play on his records: Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee, Zakk Wylde. If anyone is deserving of the JT’s Ultimate Mixtape treatment, it is Ozzy Osbourne.

The rules are simple:

  • Every studio album must be represented by one and only one song.
  • That song does not have to be an official “single” released by the artist to promote said album.
  • Compilation albums can be included, but only songs that are new, previously unreleased, or remixes of songs from prior albums are eligible for the list.
  • Live albums are a waste of time. This is a general rule that applies to most, but Ozzy’s Tribute album is obviously exempt.

JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Ozzy Osbourne edition…

Ten very solid studio albums, three live albums, a compilation and a covers album are all represented on JT’s Ultimate Mixtape: Ozzy Osbourne edition. But, as always, we’ve got to have some bonus tracks. It was hard to whittle this list down, and I didn’t even include any Black Sabbath material (that will come later…oooh, foreshadowing).

Bonus tracks:

Happy Halloween!

This is perhaps my favorite day of the year…October 31. I love seeing the kids dress up in costumes, watching horror movies, listening to great classic music with monster themes. For instance, Alice Cooper’s “He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)” from the sixth movie in the Friday the 13th franchise.

There were some great songs used in horror movies in the 1980s…Ray Parker’s “Ghostbusters,” Dokken’s “In My Dreams,” Vinnie Vincent Invasion’s “Love Kills.” Of course, there were other songs not associated with movies that conveyed a great scare factor as well. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and the John Landis-directed video may be the greatest musical horror creation of all-time. How can you go wrong with Vincent Price rapping in the middle of your song?

Whatever your favorite Halloween song, movie, or activity may be, I hope you have a great day today!

Photoset: Alice Cooper (June 19, 2012 @ Iroquois Amphitheater, Louisville, KY) [part 3/3]

Alice Cooper in Louisville KY

Alice Cooper in Louisville KY

More photos after the jump… Read the rest of this entry

Photoset: Alice Cooper (June 19, 2012 @ Iroquois Amphitheater, Louisville, KY) [part 2/3]

Alice Cooper in Louisville KY

Alice Cooper in Louisville KY

Want to see more? Read the rest of this entry

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