Johnny Depp's Recording Sessions
 
(established 2006; last updated 10/31/17)
 
     Here are some interviews and articles and other history about some of the recording sessions in which Johnny has participated.  As Johnny has become involved in more and more projects, it becomes harder to distinguish individual sessions that took place with each collaborator, so some will be grouped by artist(s).  Check out Johnny's Discography Page for a complete list of known recordings that Johnny has had a hand in.
 
 
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
Session dates and recordings (see more details below)
1994    Shane MacGowan & The Popes: The Snake (album; unspecified tracks)
1995    Oasis: Fade Away (song)
1996    Oasis: Fade In-Out (song)
1999    Iggy Pop:  Hollywood Affair (song)
2000    Vanessa Paradis:  Firmaman (song)
2003    Once Upon A Time In Mexico: Sands Theme (song)
2008    Glenn Tilbrook:  Too Close To The Sun (song)
2009    Babybird:  Unloveable (song)
2010    Shane MacGowan & Friends:  I Put A Spell On You (song)
2011    Vanessa Paradis:  Angora (song)
2011    Babybird:  The Jesus Stag Night Club (song)
2011    Lulu Gainsbourg:  Ballade de Melody Nelson and Sous Le Soleil Exactement (songs)
2012    Paul McCartney:  My Valentine (song; video version)
2012    Marilyn Manson:  You're So Vain (song)
2012    Patti Smith:  Banga (song)
2012    Jup and Rob Jackson: Street Runners, and Pink Grenade: Gold Blooded (songs)
2012    Aerosmith:  Freedom Fighter (song)
2012    Bill Carter: songs from Unknown, West Of Memphis: Voices For Justice, and Sirius/XM Radio
2012    West Of Memphis: Voices For Justice (additional songs by Tonto's Giant Nuts)
2012    Son Of Rogues Gallery
2013    Steve Hunter: The Brooklyn Shuffle
2013    Iggy Pop: Sweet Betsy From Pike
2013    Louise Goffin: Watching The Sky Turn Blue
2013    (through 2015) Alice Cooper: Hollywood Vampires sessions
2013    Steven Tyler: reported songwriting collaboration (and possible session?)
2013    Marcus Mumford: reported songwriting collaboration (and possible session?)
2014    Ryan Adams:
Aching For More, Kim, Feels Like Fire, No Shadow, It's In My Head
2014    Chuck E. Weiss: Red Beans And Weiss
2014    The New Basement Tapes
2014    Butch Walker: 21+
2014    Joe Perry: Joe Perry's Merry Christmas


 
1. Shane MacGowan & The Popes:  The Snake, originally released October 17, 1994.

     "His intake has been pretty impressive over the years.  But he has produced some of the most beautiful lyrics that are a great gift to the world." - Johnny on Shane MacGowan.

     Shane and Johnny reportedly met in the early 90's and became fast friends.  Shane was said to have performed at the Viper Room on its opening night, August 14, 1993.  An act called
zerocrossing claimed to have backed Shane at 3 gigs at the Viper Room in August of 1993.  Cindy Collins Smith, who posted to this blog, claimed to have backed Shane on accordion at these gigs.  

     In April of 1994, an article in the Irish Voice reported what they called "a very strange rumor" that Johnny Depp would provide some guest guitar work on Shane's upcoming solo album.  Read the Irish Voice article here.  The rumor proved true:  the liner notes to Shane's album The Snake, released that October, credit Johnny with "guitar weird noises" (See the Discography section for scans of the UK and US liner notes).  While no individual songs are mentioned to have Johnny's participation, several Pogues fan forums cite That Woman's Got Me Drinking as at least one song that features Johnny on the album.  It's possible that he plays on other songs, as well- any additional information would be appreciated!

     On 8/9/94, Johnny starred in and directed a music video for That Woman's Got Me Drinking, which was The Snake's second single.  

TWGMD cap

     The video was shot in part at the Dan Lynch Bar in NYC.  Since the video contained drinking and smoking, it was deemed unsuitable for TV viewing before 10 p.m., despite the title of the song!  So Shane and the Popes had to shoot some more video footage of them miming a concert performance, in order to make an alternate video (containing much of the same footage from the first video, but no drinking and very little smoking) that could air before 10 p.m.!
  In late September 1994, Johnny flew to London to join Shane for some photoshoots and interviews.  Photos are in the Gallery.  He also appeared with Shane and The Popes on Top Of The Pops, playing rhythm guitar on That Woman's Got Me Drinking.  See the Videography section for some screen caps and YouTube links for the music videos as well as Top Of The Pops.  

     There are two wonderful articles that chronicle Johnny's 1994 visit-- the photoshoots, the videos, the Top Of The Pops, and their off time.  One appeared in Q magazine; the other originally ran in the New Musical Express, and has conveniently been reprinted in the September 2006 issue of Uncut.  Here are some scans!

Q 1  Q 2    uncut 1  uncut 2  uncut 3  uncut 4

Here are text versions- originally found on shanemacgowan.com
     In an excerpt from the 2001 book, The Life and Music of Shane Macgowan, by Joe Merrick, Shane is quoted as saying "Johnny's playing was a bit erratic - very good - but it wasn't always anything to do with the track he was playing along with.  So we mixed it around a bit, you know what I mean? You can hear bits of Johnny if you listen very carefully. But unless you were down there, paying attention... and Johnny definitely wasn't... it'd be hard to say which bits are Johnny and which bits aren't.  We were all pretty out of it."  In an MTV interview, Shane elaborated further: "He was around for awhile while we were recording so he went in there and put down some guitar- he’s a really good guitarist but he was incredibly drunk at the time.  And so like although he was playing very good guitar, he wasn’t actually playing the right guitar for the tracks, for the track which he was playing along to, yeah?  So like his guitar sound, the weird noises you hear on it are like, Johnny’s guitar playing, you know."  
   In
The Life and Music of Shane Macgowan, by Joe Merrick, Johnny also speaks of the video shoot:  "I was talking on the phone with Shane, and he asked me did I want to (direct) the video and, of course, I jumped at the chance.  Two days later, we were shooting."
     In 2008, Paul McGuiness, a Pope and former Pogue, said this about Johnny and the recording session:  "He played on a couple or our songs and managed to get wine in the mixing desk when we were recording The Snake album." (The source is an expired article from thisiswiltshire.co.uk).

    And here are two little mentions of Johnny's involvement from the August 10, 1995 and January 24, 2008 issues, respectively, of Rolling Stone:

1995 rolling stone snake   Rolling Stone Shane
     

Here are a few more articles from around this time, on pogues.com
    As an addendum, Shane MacGowan did some filming in 2004 for The Libertine, a film in which Johnny stars as John Wilmot, the Second Earl of Rochester.  Shane was to play a "drunken minstrel".  Sadly, his scenes were cut from the movie, but can be briefly seen and heard in the DVD extras from The Libertine.  See photos from The Libertine in the Gallery, originally from shanemacgowan.net (now defunct).  At that time, Shane mentioned in several articles that Johnny would be a guest performer on a future solo album.  
To date, this album has still not been released, as Shane has rejoined The Pogues and has been touring with them off and on, and has also pursued other projects.  In 2010, Shane invited Johnny to perform on a Hope For Haiti single, I Put A Spell On You, and Johnny can be heard playing a solo on the single and can be seen in the video (see entry 8 below).  Then in 2012, they recorded Leaving Of Liverpool with Gore Verbinski, for inclusion on the 2013 album, Son Of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys.
     However, it is still a hope that when and if Shane gets around to recording another solo album, the offer for Johnny to perform again will still be open, and accepted!!
    
 
2. Oasis: Fade Away recorded Sept. 3, 1995, released on Help: A Charity Project for the Children Of Bosnia (Warchild Charities) on Oct. 17, 1995.

     "Conceived as a charity for orphans of the Bosnian war, every song on Help was recorded on one day and released a week later. The rapid turnaround was inspired by John Lennon's belief that "records should be like newspapers," a theory he brought to life with "Instant Karma," a single recorded on a Monday and released the following Saturday. Eighteen artists were recruited to record their contribution on Sunday, September 3, 1995, with each song running no longer than three minutes and 45 seconds. The day commenced with Noel Gallagher recording a slow, reflective version of "Fade Away" with Johnny Depp on guitar. It ended with Gallagher joining Paul Weller and Paul McCartney for a take on the Beatles' "Come Together," bringing together three generations of British pop royalty. In between those two contributions came 18 other songs -- two more than expected, since Sinead O'Connor and the K Foundation (formerly the KLF) turned in tracks unannounced at the last minute. Given the rapid nature of the project, it isn't surprising that some songs on Help are slightly below par. What is surprising is how many songs are very good, even bordering on excellent. Radiohead's "Lucky" equals the best on their fine 1995 album, The Bends (it would later be a highlight on OK Computer), The Boo Radleys turn in a first-rate track and Suede's cover of Elvis Costello's "Shipbuilding" is moving. Blur, appearing under their original name Seymour, contribute a kitschy instrumentals, which will probably baffle anyone but dedicated fans. "Come Together" doesn't quite live up to expectations, yet it's charming, much like Help itself. It may have its faults, but it is one of the best, most consistent charity albums ever recorded." ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

     According to Amazon and ArtistDirect, the timing between recording and releasing the album was closer to 6 weeks than one.  I'm not sure if this is the US release, or if the UK release was quicker.  

     Check the Gallery for photos of Johnny with Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller and Paul McCartney from the time of this 1995 recording.  Also check the Videography for screen caps and a YouTube link to the Come Together video that was shot on the day of the recording session.   If anyone has any additional articles on this recording session, please let me know!

Here is the website for the Warchild Organization, and a blurb about the Help project:


 
3. Oasis: Fade In-Out, recorded in June 1996 in Mustique in the Caribbean, released on the album Be Here Now, on Aug. 21, 1997
     
     "The first part of 'Fade In/Fade Out' was recorded in a little fucking shack on the beach. We were drunk one night [in the Caribbean], and I borrowed his slide guitar and tried to play this solo, and it was absolutely dreadful. So he sat down and played it and got it in one take. He's actually a really good guitar player." - Noel Gallagher on Johnny.

     
A year after joining Oasis on the Help project, Johnny and Kate Moss were hanging out with them in Mustique.  An excerpt from an item in the December 1996 Select explains the setup there:  

     Have you ever found yourself in archetypal rock 'n' roll situation and laughed out loud?
"Tell you what, I went away to Mustique to write the album. Johnny Depp and Kate Moss turned up because Meg's known Kate for years. Now they were staying in Mick Jagger's house. This is really fuckin' surreal, right? Meg and Kate are on the back getting fuckin' pissed as arseholes, Johnny's in this little adjoining room writing a script for this film, I'm sat in Mick Jagger's fuckin front room with an acoustic guitar writing a song for the new album, looking around at all these original Andy Warhol paintings, going, Fucking hell..."
(See The Oasis Masterplan Archive for the whole article).   The 1996 photos of Johnny, Kate, Noel and Meg shown in the Gallery are from this trip.

     The album mentioned was Be Here Now, which was released in August of 1997, and the album contains slide guitar work done by Johnny during the Mustique trip.  Here is an article that may have been from Q magazine, in which Noel Gallagher talks about the songs on Be Here Now, including Fade In-Out:
1997 article from Q?

     Ten years later, a 2007 Q article recounts the story of the making of Be Here Now.  While the studio recording sessions were marred by too much drug use, fighting and other bad behavior, the Mustique recording session is still looked back upon as a high point.  Here is a clipping with a brief mention of Johnny's role in Fade In-Out, and a review calling his slide guitar the best thing about the song:

2007Q1   2007Q2

     The first quote from Noel above was part of a Rolling Stone article from July 10, 1997.  The full text is here, and here is an excerpt:

rolling stone oasis

Noel said something very similar on a 1998 British television program called What's Eating Johnny Depp:  "As it works out, he's actually one of the best guitarists I've ever seen. He's really really good. He doesn't actually think he's any good, but he's a fine guitarist. That's why we got him to play the slide guitar solo on 'Fade In/Out' on the last album, 'cos I couldn't play it. Afterwards, everybody.. we were rehearsing for the tour: it took me about 6 months to work it out, what he was actually playing." (Quote gratefully taken with permission from the former Johnny Depp Fan site, as transcribed by Irene.

   
 Johnny briefly mentions this session in the January 24, 2008 Rolling Stone interview:

Rolling Stone Oasis

     According to Contact Music, Noel Gallagher speaks regretfully of the Mustique session in a new interview in Spin Magazine in the fall of 2008:  "I was doing it for the wrong reasons."  There is not yet any indication that Noel regrets Johnny's participation per se.  However, I have not yet found the full interview, so the remarks on Contact Music may be out of context.  Please let me know if you have seen the Spin article!

     In July of 2013, Johnny spoke briefly of the session in an interview with Matt Everitt for BBC 6Music:  "It was definitely, it was high velocity, but I do remember the session.  In fact, Noel and I recorded most of that stuff on some island in the Grenadines- I think it was Mustique or something.  Yeah, so Noel and I just sat around and recorded that stuff, and it ended up on the record.  (Matt: "That's a nice way of recording.") Yes, it wasn't bad."

     In addition, I seem to recall coming across an article some years ago, in which Noel mentions that Johnny was expected to come to the studio to repeat his slide guitar work for Fade In-Out, but that it fell through and he never made it.  That's why the demo from Mustique had to be blended in with the rest of the studio recording.  If anyone knows of this article and can help me find it, it would be much appreciated!  Please e-mail me (info@johnnydepprocks.com) if you have any information about this article or about the above quotes from Noel!


 
4. Iggy Pop: Hollywood Affair, released on
     "I started yelling obscenities in his direction and he walked over to me and got about an eighth of an inch from my face and just looked at me and said, 'You little turd.' That was it and I was happy." - Johnny on meeting Iggy Pop for the first time.

    Iggy Pop and Johnny go back a long way.  All the way back in the early 80's, Johnny and his band The Kids opened for Iggy.  Later, Iggy contributed music for Arizona Dream and The Brave, and acted with Johnny in Cry-Baby and Dead Man.  On December 12, 1999, Johnny played guitar on both Hollywood Affair and Nightclubbing at a live show in Paris.  Check out some screen caps and a link to YouTube videos in the Live On Stage section.
   
    This studio version of Hollywood Affair features Johnny on guitar and Iggy on vocal and guitar.  Johnny also wrote the music and co-produced the track,  (as "Scaramanga Bros.")  Please see the Discography sections for scans of the liner notes from the above CDs.  Here is a blurb from the March 15, 2001 issue of Rolling Stone mentioning the Hollywood Goes Wild! CD:

goes wild rolling stone

     I am looking for articles or interviews that give any detail about how Johnny came to play guitar on the song Hollywood Affair.  Please e-mail me (info@johnnydepprocks.com) if you have any information!


 
5. Vanessa Paradis: Bliss, released in France on Oct. 17, 2000

     "Vanessa pulled me away from in front of a really fast train and saved my life. Not because I was self-destructive or poisoning myself, but because I had no sense of purpose. I didn't really understand what it was all about." - Johnny on Vanessa Paradis.

     In June of 1998, Johnny went to Paris to film The Ninth Gate with Roman Polanski.  He soon met French singer-actress-model Vanessa Paradis, and they immediately became romantically involved.  Less than a year later, their daughter Lily-Rose was born; son Jack joined the family in 2002.  They remained together for 14 years before an amicable split in 2012.

     Johnny participates on Vanessa's 2000 studio album, Bliss, on several different levels.  He plays lead guitar on the song, Firmaman, and he co-composed the music to the songs Bliss and St. Germain.  Finally, he is credited for the album's cover photography.  Scans of the cover and liner notes can be found in the Discography sections.  Johnny also directed videos for two songs from the album, Pourtant and Que fait la vie.  See the Videography section.

     I am looking for articles or interviews that give any detail about Johnny's participation on Bliss.  Please e-mail me (info@johnnydepprocks.com) if you have any information!

     As an addendum, Vanessa released another studio album, Divinidylle, in 2007.  Although Johnny did not contribute musically to this album, he did create the cover artwork.  Check for news about Vanessa's other projects on  Vanessa Paradis de A Z  or its English Translation. or the Johnny Depp Rocks! Vanessa Paradis page!



6. Once Upon A Time In Mexico Soundtrack: Sands Theme

     "Johnny Depp went out and wrote a whole piece for his character."  - Robert Rodriguez

     In order to score his film Once Upon A Time In Mexico, director/producer Robert Rodriguez asked the stars of the film to come up with musical themes for their characters.  Ruben Blades and Antonio Banderas presented some themes, and Salma Hayek sings a song, but Johnny was the only one to write an entire piece of music, Sands Theme. "Johnny Depp went out and wrote a whole piece for his character.  I'm presenting it here in the film he sent it to me ('Sands Theme'). It also plays in the movie when Johnny steps out of the taxi cab to get dressed for the 'Coup de Etat'."
     Although Rodriguez orchestrated the theme for other parts of the film, Johnny's original version is used on the on the soundtrack and credited as "Written and Produced by Johnny Depp, Bill Carter, Bruce Witkin and Ruth Ellsworth - Performed by Tonto's Giant Nuts."  According to Wikipedia, Johnny "invented the name Tonto's Giant Nuts as a joke. It is not the name of his band, as commonly thought." Tonto's Giant Nuts emerged once again a decade later for the West Of Memphis: Voices For Justice Soundtrack.
     Although Johnny is generally considered to be the composer and performer of the song, Carter, Witkin and Ellsworth share credit for contributions in an unknown capacity.

ouatim 1   ouatim-vlc



7. Glenn Tilbrook and the Fluffers: Too Close To The Sun, recorded in LA in the fall of 2008, released on the album, Pandemonium Ensues, on March 2, 2009 (April 7, 2009 in the US).

     "Both Johnny and Vanessa bring clout, wit, charm and tunefulness to 'Pandemonium Ensues'. For that, I'm very grateful."  - Glenn Tilbrook.

     
Glenn asked Johnny to perform on his album after they met at one of Glenn's gigs in LA in September of 2008.  As Glenn tells the story in an interview with ITN, "We've got Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp on the record, which was one of the last things I would've thought when we started making the record, but  I was on tour and played in Los Angeles, and Johnny and Vanessa came to see us.  And, he's very keen on my guitar playing, it turns out. And so it happened, after the tour, we were going to mix the album; Bob Clearmountain's studio is in LA so I was going back to LA to finish off the record there.  So I asked Johnny and Vanessa if they'd like to sing on it.  Vanessa did sing on it, in fact we did a duet on one of the tracks, which is great, 'cause we sung it together and it's a very sort of, emotional and lovely thing to do.  Johnny narrates one of the tracks which is an instrumental track with speaking over the top of it called Too Close To The Sun, and it was really nice.  You know, I've never met anybody, any people who were that famous before.  And it was very nice to find out that they are sort of very unaffected, lovely, ordinary people who live an extraordinary life."  In another interview with Ultimate Guitar, Glenn elaborates that on Johnny's recording, he was given "minimal instructions and free reign."  He also specifies that Vanessa's contribution is a duet with Glenn on the song Interest & Love.

     Glenn first broke the news that Johnny and Vanessa would be on the album during an interview with This Is Nottingham in October of 2008, so the recording or at least the arrangements must have been made before then.  Some reports erroneously stated that Johnny would be playing guitar.  Maybe next time, Glenn!


     Some more interesting links:
 


8. Babybird: Unloveable, recorded circa the fall of 2009, released on the album, Ex-Maniac, on March 1, 2010

     "[Stephen Jones] is a national treasure, if you're British.  For everyone else, he's a diamond waiting to be found! Lyrically, he's black as night, brilliant and sharp as a razor."  - Johnny Depp.

     
Johnny is a longtime fan of Babybird, and has known frontman Stephen Jones since the early 00's.  Here is a blurb from a December 25, 2003 interview in Rolling Stone, in which Johnny mentions him:

rolling stone babybird mention

     Stephen had parted company with his old manager and was releasing material under the name of Death of the Neighbourhood but had no other plans to release any new material with Babybird, until Johnny introduced him to Bruce Witkin.  That eventually led to plans to record a new Babybird album, Ex-Maniac, under Witkin's Unison label.  Johnny then became involved himself, both by playing guitar on the lead single, Unloveable, and directing the music video for the song (see the JD Rocks! Videography page for more information about the video).  The news that Johnny would guest on the album was first reported by NME. In an interview with The Star (UK), Stephen says, "It's the fourth track and Johnny played guitar on Unloveable.  He came to the studio for four hours and played some stuff over the top. That was the natural one for us to do." He further elaborates in the Yorkshire Post, "Unloveable was just really easy. Johnny came to play but you just have this massive fear because even though you know him you think,’Is he going to be good?’ because he’s just coming in for a few hours and I’m not sure I’d be able to do it. He’s quite shy and unassuming, but he came in and it all happened nicely.”  In an interview with the Islington Tribune, Stephen says, "I made it in LA and it was kind of paid for by Johnny Depp – it’s the best production of any album I’ve ever had. It’s got quite an American feel to some of the songs which I didn’t plan. I hope every song I write is different but you can’t change your voice that much so that always brands it as a Babybird record."  
     In 2011, Unison and Stephen released a video of footage Stephen had taken while making Ex-Maniac.  Included is a rare look at Johnny laying down his guitar track for Unloveable.  Watch it on YouTube.

bts 1   bts 2   bts 3   bts 6

bts 7   bts 8   bts 9   bts 10

    More cool links:



9.  Shane MacGowan & Friends: I Put A Spell On You, recorded January and February of 2010, released for download on March 7, 2010

     "He is a great actor and a great guitar player too. We played together. He really heavied it up. His guitar playing releases all of his rage and frustration. We did one song together, but forgot to record it. But it sounded like an atom bomb going off!"  - Shane on Johnny

     The news was first reported in The Sun, and later picked up by Pitchforkand other sources, that Shane MacGowan was recruiting Johnny and other friends to perform on a charity single to benefit Haitian earthquake victims.  Photographer Danny Clifford blogged that a major recording session took place in London on January 29, 2010.  Singer Paloma Faith recorded a video log that included a few small glimpses of the recording session.  However, when it became known that Johnny was in LA on and around January 30 to film a documentary about Keith Richards, it was unclear how Johnny was to participate in this project.  Clifford and others did mention that some artists would be contributing from other parts of the world.  All became clear when a Daily Mail article reported that Johnny recorded his part in LA on February 18.
     The BBC reported that MacGowan introduced the video to the single during the NME Awards in London on February 24.  By the next day, the video was posted to YouTube.  In a Late Late Show appearance in late February, Shane and his longtime partner and co-organizer of this single, Victoria Clarke, told about how the project came about.  A short Q&A on DazedDigital.com with co-organizer Gerry O'Boyle adds to the story.  The choice of I Put A Spell On You is Shane's tribute to Screamin' Jay Hawkins, the song's composer, who died nearly exactly 10 years before the earthquake in Haiti.
     The single was released as a digital download on March 7, 2010.  The song features Shane MacGowan, Nick Cave, Bobby Gillespie, Glen Matlock, Chrissie Hynde, Paloma Faith, and Eliza Doolittle on vocals, Johnny, James Walbourne, and Mick Jones on guitar, Cait O’Riordan on bass, Carwyn Ellis on keyboards, and Rob Walbourne on drums.  The fire hydrant (extinguisher) was “played” by Mick Jones.  Please visit the JD Rocks! Videography page for screencaps from the video.  Also check out this Shane MacGowan and Victoria Mary Clarke's promotional video supporting the single.    


10.  Vanessa Paradis:  Angora, released on the album, Tels Alain Bashung, on April 26, 2011. 

     This various artists compilation is a tribute to the French artist Alain Bashung.  Johnny also did the arrangement along with Bruce Witkin.  The track was recorded and mixed at Studio 80 by Bruce Witkin.  I'm looking for any information about this recording session!



11.  Babybird: The Jesus Stag Night Club, recorded circa 2011, released on the album, The Pleasures Of Self Destruction, on October 31, 2011.

     "Depp is on new album track Jesus Stagnite Club. That'll put the mockers on it no doubt for cynical press."  - Stephen Jones

     Unlike Johnny's participation on Unloveable, his contribution to The Jesus Stag Night Club was not publicized at all.  The only scant information about Johnny, including some remarks by Stephen, is on Babybird's unofficial fan site, The Bad Pages, a and a September 10, 2011 tweet on Stephen's official Twitter page.  Perhaps more information will be revealed in future interviews or articles.  Meanwhile, check out the JD Rocks! Discography page for scans of the album.

     More:
 

12.  Lulu Gainsbourg:  Ballade de Melody Nelson and Sous Le Soleil Exactement, recorded in 2011, released on the album, From Gainsbourg To Lulu, on November 14, 2011.

     "Few people know this but, before becoming an actor, [Johnny] was a musician. He is a very good guitarist, he has an incredible collection of guitars." - Lulu Gainsbourg

     Lulu Gainsbourg made his first full length album in tribute to his late father, French legend Serge Gainsbourg.  The first report that Johnny and Vanessa Paradis would be involved came from a Women's Wear Daily article in January of 2011.  The article is no longer available without a subscription.  In a July 2011 Purepeople interview (read the translation here), the younger Gainsbourg says that he's known Johnny since he was 12 years old and considers him an elder brother, and that Johnny was the first to come on board for the album.  The article also mentions Vanessa Paradis' involvement, saying that she would sing on Melody Nelson while Johnny would play guitar.  
     In an August 2011 LesinRocks article (read the translation here), Lulu says: "Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis are friends. For them, I thought of The Ballad of Melody Nelson because I know they have a special affection for this title. Their daughter Lily Rose Melody called in reference to this piece. And then Vanessa had worked with him."  Finally, in a December 2011 Phosphore article, Lulu elaborates that it is Johnny who "makes the music" (indeed, Johnny provides bass, guitar, drums and percussion in addition to vocals for the song, and the only other musicians are Bruce Witkin on drums and percussion and a string quartet).  Lulu states that the song was recorded in LA in "the studio of Johnny Depp."  The recording was done at Studio 80 and Unison Music Studios in LA.  See the full translation of the Phosphore article here.
     While some of these articles mentioned Shane MacGowan's participation on From Gainsbourg To Lulu, none had mentioned that Johnny also contributes to Shane's track, Sous Le Soleil Exactement.  However, the liner notes give credit to Johnny for drums, percussion and guitars, and once again denote that the song was recorded by Bruce Witkin at Unison.  What a great surprise to have Johnny participating on not just one track, but two!  And it's nice to see Johnny and Shane once again collaborating on a song!
     Please see the JD Rocks! Discography page for scans of the album.



13.  Paul McCartney:  My Valentine, video version, guitar part recorded in March 2012, video premiered on April 13, 2012.  A Making My Valentine featurette, which shows footage from the video shoot and guitar solo recording, was released on Paul McCartney's Live Kisses DVD on November 13, 2012.

     
"The boy is good."  - Paul McCartney

     In 2012, Johnny appeared along with Natalie Portman in videos for Paul McCartney's song My Valentine.  Johnny appeared in one, Natalie in another, and both of them in a third.  The videos were directed by McCartney, based on an original idea by his daughter Stella, and featured cinematography by Wally Pfister.  They featured Johnny and Natalie using American Sign Language to sign the lyrics to the song.  They were coached by Bill Pugin of The Sign Language Company.
    According to Paul McCartney's Official Site, "Johnny Depp also plays guitar in his version and recorded the track's guitar solo live.  His guitar take was then mixed and mastered into the final track.  The original guitar solo on the studio version of the song was performed by Eric Clapton."  Paul elaborated in an interview with Vanity Fair: "Also, I must just point out also that Johnny is really playing the guitar solo. That's him playing. The boy is good.
    On Paul McCartney's Live Kisses DVD, which was released on November 13, 2012, the Making My Valentine featurette documented the video shoot and some behind the scenes footage.  Paul and Wally Pfister, the cinematographer who filmed the video, were seen discussing how the shots were to be set up.  They discussed what would happen during the guitar solo:
Paul:  For the sake of what we might do in the solo, it could be movement, we could pull out full length...
Wally:  Right, right.  And also maybe, I don't know, we'll see what they're doing, ya know.  Maybe Johnny's tapping his heel, I don't know...
Paul:  Well, I think Johnny might play the solo
Wally:  Oh gosh, amazing, yeah
     Later, Johnny takes the guitar out of the case, and tells Paul, "That's an old Weymann."  (See the JD Rocks! Guitars2 page for more information on the guitar).  Then, they are leaning over two guitars and seem to be discussing why the Weymann would be the best choice for the video.  Paul says, "Maybe it'd be nice with the f-holes like that.  Something romantic about it, yeah.  It'd be a good look."  Johnny, Paul, Wally and Bruce Witkin are later seen jamming with Johnny on a cigfiddle and Paul on a bass cigfiddle that Johnny and Bruce are seen showing/giving to him.  Johnny apparently brought these along for Paul to check out, but there is no discussion about actually using the cigfiddle in the video.
     After doing the sign language portion of the video shoot, Johnny is seen learning the melody of the solo by ear, and trying to play it on the Weymann that is at first badly out of tune.  Johnny laughs and begins adjusting it.  It's unclear whether he had even heard the solo before showing up at the location of the shoot, so he may very well have learned the part on the fly.  There is a brief dialogue where Johnny tells Paul, "I'm gonna learn that little lick at the end."  But Paul says, "We're going... we're going in on your face, so nothing we need.  I think the solo's the thing," while Johnny agrees that playing the guitar part at the end wouldn't fit in with the video.  Johnny plays the solo while wearing headphones, so that only his guitar can be heard.  After he finishes, there is some applause with Paul and other saying "That's good!" and "Great!"  But there is one remark off camera, that I believe is from Wally, who whispers, "That was perfect!"  Bravo to Johnny for holding his own against Guitar God Clapton's original version!
     A photo of Johnny, Paul, and Bruce Witkin was posted to Unison Music's Facebook page in March of 2012, showing part of the headstock of the Weymann guitar that Johnny used in the video. 

macca witkin 2012



14.  Marilyn Manson: You're So Vain, released on the album, Born Villain, on May 1, 2012.

"If you don't recognize my personal friend ... my personal savior, my personal guitar hero ... Johnny Depp!" - Marilyn Manson

     Johnny plays drums and guitar and is a producer on this song on Marilyn Manson's album Born Villain.  Bruce Witkin plays guitar, bass and keyboards, and Marilyn Manson plays guitar and keyboards; both coproduce.  Jason Sutter also plays drums.  Johnny's son Jack reportedly plays guitar, as well, though he's not formally credited.  Witkin and Keenan Wyatt recorded the song at Studio 1480.
     From MTV UK:  "We did a cover version together of a song which we thought was ironic for each other,” Manson continued: “He played drums and lead guitar, and I played guitar and sang. It’s a bonus track on my record and the video will probably be us looking at each other like a mirror.  Johnny’s son Jack – whose birthday I’m gonna be performing at – was in the room and he actually played on the song too. It’s pretty cool.
     From Fuse.tv:  "...we've known each other for years. I've spent a lot of time with him, but we've never worked on music together before. He called me up a couple months ago and said, 'Hey, do you wanna come over and work on something?' "We started playing blues songs and then I said, 'My record's done, but we should really do a song to add to the end of it, as if it were a movie.'  It's like the movie's over and this is playing at the end title credits. So it's sort of the song that adds to it."
     From Billboard:  "I've known Johnny Depp since I was 19. He called me up a couple months ago and said, 'Hey, do you want to get together and record something?' . . . We recorded 'You're So Vain' because we thought the song would be an amusing complement to the record -- not a piece of the record as a whole but, as a bonus track, it really states the obvious about where he and I both are as artists."
     Please see the JD Rocks! Discography page for scans of the album.

More Links:
 

15.  Patti Smith:  Banga, released on the album, Banga, on June 5, 2012.

"I think I might play on Patti Smith's next record... just a bit, a song or something." - Johnny Depp, in a June 30, 2009 radio interview with Edith Bowman

“Johnny leads the charge for Banga. At the top of the song, it’s all me and him!”  -
Patti Smith, 2012

     In June of 2009, while Johnny was doing interviews to promote Public Enemies, he mentioned to Edith Bowman of BBC1 Radio that he might play on Patti Smith's next record.  It would be another 3 years before that album, Banga, came to fruition.  Johnny is credited on the album with "Guitars, Drums on opening of 'Banga'" (the title track to the album).  Keenan Wyatt also gets an engineering credit.  In a June 1, 2012 interview with The Sun (UK), Patti explains how while she was visiting Johnny on the set of The Rum Diary in 2009, he helped her create the demo for Banga.  He later sent her a recording with guitar and drums added, and Patti liked it so much that she incorporated it into the opening of the final mix of the song.  She elaborates further in an interview with Spinner:  "In fact, in the opening of 'Banga,' it's all Johnny Depp. He's a friend of mine and he was filming 'Rum Diary' [when] I got the idea for [the song] in my head. I told Johnny, 'I don't wanna forget this.' So he recorded me singing -- like the first minute, I'm just singing a capella. Then Johnny said he would send it to me so I wouldn't forget. So I'm waitin' and waitin' and he didn't send it! I said, 'Johnny, where's 'Banga'?' He said, 'Oh, you'll get it.' And [when] I got it, he'd put drums, guitars, everything [on it]! So the first minute of the song is all me and Johnny Depp. What we did in the recording studio [was] the band listened to Johnny's track and then came in on the chorus."  Patti also writes the following in the liner notes to the album:

banga liner

   In addition to playing on Banga, Johnny was the inspiration for the song Nine, which also appears on the album.  Johnny celebrated his 46th birthday while Patti was in Puerto Rico visiting him for The Rum Diary.  Patti did not have a gift for him, so she wrote the song as a birthday gift for him.  Lyrics, and Johnny in San Juan:

banga nine   banga san juan

More Links:



16a.  Kae State featuring Rob Jackson & Jup: Street Runners, released on the album, Collective Bargaining on September 8, 2012.
16b.  Pink Grenade: Gold Blooded, released on the album, Fear Of A Pink Planet on July 22, 2014.

“We interact just like any other family, but I guess the best way to describe our relationship is that of anyone else who has an uncle that likes to do shit with you that your parents don't approve of. Almost like brothers.” - Billy Rassel, September 2012

     On September 19, 2012, the colorful celebrity columnist Perez Hilton announced the surprising news that Johnny had participated on a new rap record.  The collaboration was also reported by Jonathan Hay Publicity.  Credited as "Mr. Stench," Johnny provides spoken word to the song Street Runners by Jup and Rob Jackson.  The duo's album, Collective Bargaining, is the first release by Brashk Inc., a production company owned by Johnny's nephew, Billy Rassel.  The official YouTube of the song identifies Kate Hadfield as the author of the narration.   Not only did Johnny get to help out a family member and his clients, but he also got to stretch a bit by recording for a music genre that he hasn't done before, even though the narration itself is pretty standard spoken word.

mr stench

     The song was later included on The Hookah Lounge, Vol. 1, on May 28, 2013.  In an interview with PR Newswire, Rassel explains how Johnny got involved:

 "I had never really asked him to be involved with anything I was ever doing with music. However, I decided to reach out to him while he was in Utah filming 'The Lone Ranger'. I texted him with the idea we had for the song and about an hour later, he hit me back completely open to the idea and told me to send him the parts and he would record it in between shoots. I sent it to him, and he got it back to me in about two days with three separate versions of him reading the script for the song."
      Rassel also appeared on a Louisville, Kentucky morning show called Great Day Live, where he said:

"Originally... the song was originally put out on Jup and Rob Jackson's Collective Bargaining album, which was released last September.  And my company, Brashk Entertainment, represents Jup as an artist.  And we got together and needed a narrator for the music video.  And I essentially just thought about it and texted him while he was actually filming Lone Ranger in Utah at the time.  And I texted him about it and he was all open to doing it.  (Show hostess: "So he said, 'I'm in!'") Yeah, absolutely!"
     And he also spoke briefly about the narration:

"That monologue was actually written by this girl, Kate Hadfield out of Lexington. She's a really talented writer- she wrote that, yeah."

rassel 1  

A portion of the same voiceover from Kate Hadfield's piece was later used in another song by a different artist: Gold Blooded by Pink Grenade; which was released in July of 2014. 


17.  Aerosmith:  Freedom Fighter, released on the album, Songs From Another Dimension!, on November 6, 2012.

"Johnny is a great musician and many people don’t know that, he plays piano, guitar, he knows his music.” - Steven Tyler, ultimateclassicrock.com, May 2012

     In April 2011, after presenting Johnny with a Best Actor Kids Choice Award, Aerosmith rocker/American Idol judge Steven Tyler tweeted: "JONNY [sic] DEPP LOOKED ABFAB... WERE GONNA HOOK UP & WRITE A SONG OR TWO..."  Well, this may have been more than just an offhand comment, because both Steven and Johnny have mentioned the possibility of working together several more times.  It has become obvious over the last couple of years that Johnny has become good friends with both Steven and Aerosmith guitariest Joe Perry.  See an Extra video clip from the Pirates 4 premiere here, featuring remarks from both Johnny and Steven about this.  In a 2012 interview with Ryan Seacrest, Steven again mentions hanging out with Johnny and that Johnny presented him with a Cigfiddle as a gift.  Steven and Joe played live givs with Johnny several times in 2012, and on June 3, they presented Johnny with an MTV Generation Award at the MTV Movie Awards.
     On July 30, 2012, Rolling Stone reported that Johnny had provided backing vocals to a song called Freedom Fighter that had been recorded by Aerosmith for their upcoming album, to be titled Music From Another Dimension!  The song, described as a "politically conscious rocker", was penned by Joe Perry who cautioned at the time that the song might end up as an outtake or only on a deluxe version of the album.  A month later, on August 28, the Official Press Release confirmed that Freedom Fighter would be part of both basic and deluxe editions.  
     Subsequent interviews with Joe and Steven gave some more detail about how Johnny came to be involved with the song.  While the band was recording the track, Joe needed a particular guitar to get the sound he wanted.  Being friends of Johnny's and knowing of his extensive collection, they asked if they could borrow a guitar.  Joe said in a September 14 interview with ArtistDirect: "Johnny was there the day I was laying the tracks. When it came time to do the background vocals, and he sang them."  Then, in an Aeroforce One YouTube interview, he said "Recording out here, I didn't have a chance to bring all the guitars that I normally would have.  So him being a guitar collector with probably one of the best collections I know of old, old guitars, I asked him if I could borrow one of his axes.  And he came down with it, and hung out while we were working. And that night, it got late, and it came time for the background vocals. We asked him if he'd sit around the microphone. He did and that's how he ended up on the song.  So it was great."
     Although Johnny didn't play guitar in any of the studio sessions for Aerosmith's album, his guitar does have a presence on the deluxe release, by way of a live appearance with them on August 6 at the Hollywood Bowl.  That night, Johnny played on Train Kept A Rollin', and a video of that song will be included on the deluxe release.  Joe told Aeroforce One:  "But I think the real impact of his playing and his presence is on Train Kept A Rollin'.  You can really hear him cut loose.  And both of us... I mean we're really big fans of his, so to hear him play with us on a song and for him to play with us on Train Kept A Rollin' was a real mutual admiration thing.  It was a lot of fun."  
      So far, that song (or two) that Steven teased writing with Johnny has not yet materialized, but you never know what the future might bring!

More Links:



18.  Bill Carter:  Anything Made Of Paper, Road To Nowhere, and State Trooper.  Anything Made of Paper and Road To Nowhere have been released on the West Of Memphis: Voices For Justice soundtrack, and Anything Made Of Paper also appears on Bill Carter's album, Unknown.  Both albums were released on January 15, 2013.  State Trooper, a Bruce Springsteeen cover, debuted on Sirius/XM's E Street Radio on January 22, 2013.  Stay tuned for more details.
  

     Bill Carter recorded most of his album, Unknown, at E.A.R. studios in East Austin, Texas, but went to LA to record the above songs with Johnny.  As per Carter, the musician credits for State Trooper are: Bruce Witkin (bass) Mike Thompson (piano-organ) Johnny Depp (lap slide guitar-bass drum) Bill Carter (12 string acoustic guitar-harmonica-tamboraca-all vocals-arrangement)  Produced by: Bill Carter and Bruce Witkin.  The lineup for Anything Made Of Paper is similar, according to the Unknown album credits, with the addition of Joey Malone on cig fiddle and Rob Klonel on drums and percussion, with Johnny on electric guitar in addition to the lap steel, and Thompson adding accordion.  While the musician credits for Road To Nowhere have not been published, it would be a good guess that the lineup was similar.

Links:
 


19.  West Of Memphis: Voices For Justice; Tonto's Giant Nuts.  This soundtrack features 2 tracks by Tonto's Giant Nuts: the spoken word Damien Echols Death Row Letter Year 16 1/2, and a cover of Marcus Mumford's Little Lion Man.  Stay tuned for more details.

     The Arizona Daily Wildcat had this to say about Tonto's Giant Nuts' version of Little Lion Man from the West Of Memphis soundtrack:  "Depp turns in a jaw-dropping cover of Mumford & Sons’ “Little Lion Man,” a song that supposedly helped [Damien] Echols find the strength to keep going as his release drew near.  Enveloped in textures more suited to a record by The National or Bon Iver, “Little Lion Man” actually emerges as one of the best songs on the album."  I'm trying to find out the musician credits for Little Lion Man.  Presumably both Johnny and Bruce Witkin play multiple instruments.
     Anything Made Of Paper is also on Carter's Unknown album.



20.  Son Of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys.  Johnny participates on 2 tracks:  Leaving Of Liverpool supporting Shane MacGowan and The Mermaid supporting Patti Smith.

Hal Willner notes

     In an interview with CBC, producer Hal Willner explains his rationale for making a sequel to the Rogues Gallery compilation.  "Believe it or not, there was a lot of stuff I didn’t get to on the first one. This is a serious treasure trove of unexplored folk music for most of us non-aficionados that I entered into. It’s always great for me to get into a project I don’t know much about. You jump into the research and the audience goes with you. It’s just an exciting thing. There were a lot more songs and I actually recorded some stuff for the first volume that I couldn’t have room for, so with that and along with knowing that Tom (Waits), Keith (Richards) and Shane (MacGowan) weren’t going to be on the first one — and that the first one didn’t lose money [laughs] — it all seemed to help. Though this one took a lot longer. "
     He also elaborates on Johnny's presence and contribution to the album: "Johnny Depp couldn’t be a bigger music fan with what he’s done for Patti Smith and Chuck E. Weiss, so someone like him, what it does is it gets the record funded [laughs] for one.  Now this record has nothing to do with the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise or Disney. Some people think it has, but think about it. Look at the artists on it. They’re not exactly Disney-friendly people. Basically I sent him the stuff as we were doing it, he commented or didn’t comment, and he was involved in a few of the tracks. He played on Shane’s track and Patti’s. It’s really great when someone like that takes an interest in a project that, face it, how many record companies would support a record like this these days? Look at everything in a way — is it good or bad for music? A lot of these actors who sing is ultimately good for music."
    Johnny did not sing on the album, so I'm not sure why Willner is lumping Johnny in with the "actors who sing", eg., Angelica Huston and Tim Robbins, who he cited earlier in the interview.  But he seemed happy for Johnny's involvement, and Johnny seemed happy to be involved, so win-win!
     
     I'm looking for more information about the recording of these songs!  Please let me know if you can help!

Johnny and Hal Willner in 2007
willner 2007

Links:


21.  Steve Hunter: The Brooklyn Shuffle, released on The Manhattan Blues Project, on April 30, 2013

"Johnny Depp is the coolest guy on the planet, a great guy and a great player." - Steve Hunter

     Legendary guitarist Steve Hunter has worked with such artists as Aerosmith, Peter Gabriel, Glen Campbell, Tracy Chapman, Alice Cooper and Lou Reed.  For his 2013 solo album, The Manhattan Blues Project, he decided to create a bluesy, soulful portrayal of New York City.

"I don’t even know how I did this… don’t even ask me, I don’t know what I did, but somehow or other, on one of my songs, I actually managed to get Johnny Depp to play a solo.  Yes, Johnny Depp actually played a solo on my album.  And after his solo, Joe Perry played the next solo.  So I have Johnny Depp and Joe Perry on a 12 bar blues… can you imagine?  I was thrilled when that happened.  So I’m very excited and I hope you guys… I can’t wait for you guys to hear it.  I hope you like it… love it… it’s great fun.  I told them both to plug the guitars in and have a blast, and it sounds like to me they did.  So, it’s really wonderful."
Steve Hunter, Kickstarter update, March 27, 2013

     A Classic Rock Radio blog review by Gary Brown proclaims: "'The Brooklyn Shuffle' totally shines. Traditional blues sounding song with some outstanding guitar work by Steve and two other gentlemen: Johnny Depp and Joe Perry. Both offering meaty solos. Karen again outdoing herself on background vocals. Be fun to see this played in concert."  Of course, he loves the rest of the album, as well.

hunter blurb 1

More links:



22.  Iggy Pop: Sweet Betsy From Pike

"He's a very sensitive guitarist.” - Iggy Pop

     In a July 1, 2013 CNN article, Iggy Pop confirmed Johnny's participation on a track he contributed to The Lone Ranger: Wanted (an album of songs inspired by the film The Lone Ranger).  He tells the story that Johnny has often told about their first encounter, when Johnny was a member of The Kids, and insulted him just to be noticed, and also mentions their past collaborations, in addition to how this collaboration came about:

"Johnny Depp was in a couple of bands in the Florida area -- I think Rocky City Angels and The Kids -- and apparently once when I was in my wildest phase I played in Gainesville. He came to the club, he tells me he tried to meet me and tell me about his band and I said: 'Shut up you little turd'.  Since then we've played and we've jammed on and off. He's a very sensitive guitarist, he has a really nice intonation, attack and a really nice sense of music. And we recorded one thing together years ago called 'Hollywood Affair' and we played once on French telly."

"He called up about this (The Lone Ranger: Wanted) and I think it was late in the game and he didn't have a great cut and with about two weeks to go he said: 'Come on, we gotta get this together so choose a song.' So I tried writing something but it's not my style and 'Sweet Betsy' is just a great great great song and he plays beautifully on it. I just had a great time doing that."
 
     Johnny elaborated on the track in a 2013 BBC 6Music interview with Matt Everitt.  It sounds as if Johnny recorded his part, then sent it to Iggy, who added his vocals and sent it back:

"You know what it was was just... when you know you have a soundtrack to a film, there's that sort of big, booming, sonic score that drags you through the film and it's a wonderful thing.  But when you can take contemporary artists and blend contemporary artists with very old material, like 9 times out of 10 on the record, it's an old public domain song like Iggy's Sweet Betsy From Pike, which he just killed me with when he did it.  We recorded- I remember recording the track in Los Angeles, and speaking to Iggy and saying 'Okay, we're sending it out,' sent it, got it back the next day, and it was just perfection.  He went right into the studio, did it, and sent it back.  It was just perfection.  It's Iggy!"



23.  Louise Goffin: Watching The Sky Turn Blue

"I went back into the control room and walked up to Johnny, who was standing against the back wall, and uttered, 'do you sing?' His response was, 'I’m alright.'" - Louise Goffin

     Johnny provided handclaps and background vocals to Louise Goffin's 2013 song Watching The Sky Turn Blue.  The song was initially released as an mp3 single on September 9, 2013, and was later included on the album Songs From The Mine, officially released on July 15, 2014.  The song's press release offers the following description of the song and the session:

"Self-produced by Goffin, 'Watching the Sky Turn Blue' is dominated by beachy guitars and shakers with a hand clap carrying the beat along. With her stellar instrumentation, this single speaks to her professionalism and experience as a producer. Goffin knows just how to create a catchy melody on the chorus with the breakdown adding extra layers of exciting and colorful tones and big harmonies. The singer’s vibrant voice brings life and positivity to her carefree lyrics. Producer Bob Ezrin (Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd, Kiss), whom Goffin chose to work with after signing her first record deal at age 17, introduced Goffin to his friends Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Bruce Witkin, Tommy Henriksen and Glen Sobel at Village Recording Studios, where she was recording. Two days later, on Bob's recommendation, Goffin recut her single to be at dance tempo, and with Ezrin's blessing, she fearlessly asked Alice, his band mates, and Johnny Depp if they'd join in for handclaps and backing vocals; to which they agreed. The result is a feel-good jam that encourages listeners to live in the moment."

     Louise was also interviewed in American Songwriter, where she spoke in more detail about the session.  A few excerpts:

How did Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp end up on the album?  "It was a combination of serendipitous circumstances and both Bob Ezrin’s and their generosity…and some fearlessness on my part. When I was recording “Watching The Sky Turn Blue,” it was just me and my recording engineer that week, Steve Bone. We were at Village Recording Studios the same time Bob Ezrin was producing Alice Cooper’s new record... Fast forward to me producing “Watching The Sky Turn Blue” at Village, and I saw him in the reception area. “Weezie!” Bob calls me, and he invited me into their studio to “come on and meet the boys.” I would’ve been just fine with coming home that night saying, “hey guess what happened to me at the studio today? I met Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp.” I did think that was the end of that, and that they needed to be left alone and I needed to finish my song... Bob was working on a drum take with Glen Sobel and told me I had to go into the other room and ask Alice myself. I went in – Alice was laying down on the couch in Studio A. Tommy Hendrickson and Bruce Witkins were by the coffee machine. I said, “hey, would you guys be willing to come upstairs and sing some simple backing vocals and do some hand claps on my song?” Alice thought for a minute, nodded his head and said “sure.” I then got a rare opportunity to expose some of my embarrassing cultural media-deprivation…having not read the Rolling Stone magazine sitting on the coffee table with Johnny Depp on the cover, I asked, “does Johnny sing?” I think Bruce or Tommy said, “go ask him.”  I went back into the control room and walked up to Johnny, who was standing against the back wall, and uttered, “do you sing?” His response was, “I’m alright”. He agreed to come up and sing too. So the Village staff were quite surprised to see four Hollywood Vampires following me, the Pied Piper, up the stairs into this little control room with only two pairs of headphones hooked up. My engineer was also surprised to see us all walk through the door. We managed it though. We had two of us listening to the phones and conducting the others on where the downbeat was. At the end they were so humble as to thank me for letting them sing on my record. Can you imagine? It was the last hour they were working at Village before everyone split off into different cities and schedules, and I knew that if I had tried to set up that group of people doing a vocal session, just even on schedules alone, it would be hard to come by. I was already verklempt with just getting to meet them. I certainly didn’t wake up on a Wednesday morning thinking, “what shall I wear today? I’m gonna meet Johnny Depp”. It was surreal to even take in Alice Cooper, whose vinyl records I listened to in my bedroom as a teenager, and a movie star like Johnny Depp, were in the control room with me, singing on my song. Ultimately none of it would’ve happened without Bob Ezrin who paved the way by introducing me to them all like family, telling the story of how we met. Everyone’s respect for Bob became an openness and willingness toward me. And let me tell you, respect for Bob runs high among all of them and me both. We all have that in common."

A Vimeo clip shows Johnny, Louise, Bruce Witkin, Alice Cooper, and Tommy Henriksen in the studio practicing handclaps.

blue 1   blue 2   blue 3   blue 4

blue 5   blue 6   blue 7   goffin session



24.  Alice Cooper: Hollywood Vampires sessions

“I always say to him, ‘If you really want to go out on tour, let me know and you can come with us.’" - Alice Cooper on Johnny

     In a January 2013 video interview, Alice Cooper reported that he'd just come from working with Johnny in a studio for two days.  See also the accompanying article on mydesert.com (go to page 2).  He specified having worked with Johnny all day Tuesday and Wednesday before arriving at the Humana Golf Challenge.  This would work out to January 15-16, 2013.  Alice said, "Yeah, right, we're writing for my new album.  He came up with a good song- a really good song.  Yeah, he wrote it- I wrote the lyrics, he wrote the music, and it's really gonna be good.  It's the title track, actually, for the new album."  (Alice was probably referring to Dead Drunk Friends, which was reportedly considered for the album title).  Alice went on to pay awesome compliments to Johnny on his guitar playing and musicianship.

     They were subsequently spotted together in the studio; see Suzanne Allison's Facebook page for a shot from August 2013.  This may have been around the time Johnny and Alice (along with Bruce Witkin and Tommy Henriksen) participated in Louise Goffin's song Watching The Sky Turn Blue; see 23. above for more on that session.

     In February of 2014, ex-Doors member Robby Krieger told The Hollywood Reporter that he'd been in Johnny's studio: "I've recently played guitar on the forthcoming Alice Cooper-Johnny Depp recording project, which a tribute to their 'dead friends.'"  Alice's classic rock covers album was reported in Rolling Stone in 2013, saying he hoped it would come out in 2014.

     In June of 2014, at a press conference at the Sweden Rock Festival, Alice offered up a few tidbits about the album, as reported in Blabbermouth.net:
"We have no release date on that. It's done; the album is done. And I can't tell you who's on it or what the songs are, because it's probably not gonna come out until the fall or the beginning of next year... We'll release, I think, parts of it. The music business is so different now. You don't release a single and then put the album out; you just kind of release songs out there and then you have an album. There will be an album; it's fully done and ready to go. And the lineup is jaw-dropping; the people who are on this album...  [The album will include] four or five new songs. We decided that in order to set up the 'Hollywood Vampires' thing, you had to kind of tell the story, and you had to write songs that were going to set up the story, and then get into the covers. So we had fun sitting there writing these new songs around it. So it's going to be quite a package, this thing is."
   
     Joe Perry did several interviews in the fall of 2014 while promoting his autobiography, Rocks. While chatting with Howard Stern in particular, he mentioned the sessions and revealed that they included Paul McCartney.  According to examiner.com:
Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, in an appearance on “The Howard Stern Show” Oct. 6 to plug his new book "Rocks: My Life In and Out of Aerosmith," again confirmed he'd been in the studio recording on a secret project with Paul McCartney, Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper, according to a summary of the show on MarksFriggin.com. He said McCartney had requested Perry, who had been recording with Cooper, to join his session. He said the song they worked on, which he didn't reveal the title of, was written many years ago by McCartney but that he hadn't performed since. Perry said he was blown away by working with McCartney.
     marksfriggin.com gave an account of the Howard Stern interview:
Joe told Howard about the Paul McCartney thing and about how great Johnny Depp is. He said that he's a loner and a friend. He said that they get along really well. Joe said that they were recording this thing with Alice and Alice is amazing. He said he's known him for years. Joe said he was free that afternoon and they had played before. He said Paul was there and he asked him to come in to cover one of the songs. Joe told Howard that this song he did was one that he had written many years ago and he hadn't performed it since then. He said that Paul remembered it all. He said they were all in the room seeing it happen and they were all blown away.
     In reality, Perry DID reveal the name of the song to Howard Stern: Come And Get It, a song that McCartney wrote that was recorded by Badfinger.

     In a December 2014 interview with Adelaide Now, guitarist Orianthi also said a few words about Alice's album:
"I just recorded on his new album at Johnny Depp’s house which was cool. Bob Ezrin, the producer was doing it. Johnny played on it, Johnny is a great guitar player, Joe Perry, everyone just got together you know. It’s going to be a great record."
     Paul McCartney also mentioned the session in a December 2014 interview with an Australian site called Max:
"I know Johnny [Depp] and he's been kind enough to be in a few videos with me. I just ring him up and say, 'there's this video...' and he's, 'tell me when you want me man' [...] So I felt I owed him one - at least one, and he rings me up and says, 'We've got this project with Alice, and it's like a tribute to this old drinking club' - a club of great excess, they were called the Hollywood Vampires, and it's Alice, John [Lennon], Keith Moon - all the crazies, who are all dead except Alice, and that have this project they are doing with a number of different people, and Johnny said, 'come along to my studio'."  The result was a version of Badfinger's classic 'Come and Get It', which Paul handily wrote back during his fab days. "It's gonna come out on an album they're making."

     Alice briefly alluded to the project in a February 2015 piece in Rolling Stone: "We see each other a lot. He's become a close friend and collaborator. We've done a lot of recording together recently," but offered nothing further at the time on a possible release date.  On February 13, 2015, Alice announced that he, Joe Perry, and Johnny, would perform at this year's Rock In Rio festival in September 2015, under the name of the Hollywood Vampires.

    In a March 2015 Rolling Stone article, Joe Perry spoke about the Come And Get It session in which Paul McCartney participated:
"He knew all the chords, the lyrics, everything. He didn't have any cheat sheets. It was like he'd been playing it his whole life. Me and Alice and Johnny were standing there and looking at each other and I tell you — if there's any ego-lever in a room, it's Paul. It doesn't matter who you are or what you've done. If Paul's in the room, he's there. It was hard to focus on playing."

     In August of 2015, the Hollywood Vampires Official Site was established.  The track list and musician credits were also revealed.  Johnny performs on every track, and he co-wrote The Last Vampire, Raise The Dead, and My Dead Drunk Friends.  In a September 2015 interview with NPR, Johnny describes coming up with the riff for My Dead Drunk Friends: "Alice said we need something that sounds — musically sounds — unsteady, a little drunk. I remember everybody left the studio that day and it just kept rolling around in my head, Alice saying, 'It should sound drunk, it should sound drunk.' And having been familiar with 'drunk' once or twice myself, that lick just came to me — and yeah, it sounded very drunk, so I presented it to Alice. It felt like he wrote the lyrics in about a minute."

    A teaser trailer was released on August 5, showing some great behind the scenes footage of the stars recording at Johnny's home studio.  According to Alice per The Evening Standard:  "Everybody dropped in to Johnny’s house and we just started recording songs to all our dead drunk friends." They used Depp’s 72-track home studio to record the album with producer Bob Ezrin and visiting guests.
     A more detailed description of the album's concept and recording process is given by Alice in an August 2015 interview with Digital Spy:
So I said, 'Why don't we do an album dedicated to our drinking club The Hollywood Vampires?'... So Johnny said, 'If we conceptualise this, and turn it into a dedication to all those guys that really pretty much taught us everything' - even though we drank with them, they were still our big brothers - 'then we can really include everybody who influenced us'... everyone we called up wanted to be on. I called up Brian Johnson from AC/DC and said, 'Hey do you want to sing on this?', and he was like, 'Yeah, absolutely'. Dave Grohl played drums on a bunch of stuff, and Zak Starkey played on a bunch of things. Once the word got out, everybody wanted to be on the album. Paul McCartney, of course, came in and that was the big gigantic cap to have him there... It was the most fun thing. There was never a single bit of pressure. Everybody was just there to have fun. Anyone who would come in, we'd just look at them and be like, 'What do you want to do?' It was that loose! It was really just very, very casual and it felt really good. The album just rocks... Honestly, nobody said it has to be this, or has to be that. The trickiest one, I think, was the Harry Nilsson stuff. He wasn't necessarily a hard rocker, but the songs only had to be treated differently. We took 'One' and then went into 'Jump Into The Fire' and then at the very end someone started playing 'Put the Lime in the Coconut', which kind of felt like it fits. 'One' was very tricky because it was very pop, and so Johnny went in with Dave Grohl and they re-cut the guitars and the drums on it, and gave it a lot more life. Then I decided I was going to sing it as creepy Alice, and make a very pop sounding lyric sort of now sound a little more threatening. The whole idea really kind of worked out!  [On Christopher Lee] You know, I think it was the very last thing he recorded. There's a part of the tape we were listening to when he was reading Bram Stoker and at one point it's, 'What music they make, the children of the night,' and then you hear him say to the engineer, 'I dread to think what Alice is going to do with this.' I said, 'We've got to keep that, that's great'.

     The Hollywood Vampires album was released on September 11, 2015.  The Japanese album, released the same day, contains an extra track: The Who's I'm A Boy.  Participants on the album include: Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper, Joe Perry, and (in alphabetical order):
Justin Cortelyou, Dennis Dunaway, Bob Ezrin, Perry Farrell, Dave Grohl, Tommy Henriksen, Brian Johnson, Charlie Judge, Rob Klonel, Robby Krieger, Abe Laboriel Jr., Christopher Lee, Paul McCartney, Orianthi, Slash, Neal Smith, Glenn Sobel, Zak Starkey, Joe Walsh, Kip Winger, Bruce Witkin.
Behind the scenes
vamps 2   vamps 4   vamps 5   vamps 15

puke 11   tommy h.   dead drunk friends 1   dead drunk friends 10

Photos by Kyler Clark
clark 1   clark 2   clark 3

     Once the album was released, there continued to be hints dropped that the Vamps were still recording.  In October of 2015, Joe Perry tweeted that he was "In the studio with the Vampires," and Photographer Ross Halfin posted some photos to Facebook at around the same time.  Johnny also mentioned in an interview with Classic Rock that "I would definitely, definitely, definitely love to do a second, another record. We still have a number of originals that we recorded or we have demos of that we never ended up using on the record, so there’s still some material.”   In January of 2016, Joe Perry posted a Facebook photo of Johnny standing behind a HUGE pizza with the caption: "#TBT Anyone hungry? Taken last month in the studio in LA while working on my solo CD." So far it is unknown how much Joe's solo recording and the Vamps' recording sessions may have overlapped.

First 3 photos (or more) by Ross Halfin
halfin fall 2015 1   halfin MBw   halfin 2   vamps 2015   perry solo pizza

    On February 4, 2016, it was announced that a digital Deluxe Edition of Hollywood Vampires would be released on February 12.  The new edition contains all the tracks from the original album, plus 3 additional songs: covers of The Who's I'm A Boy and Love's 7 And 7 Is, and a new original song called As Bad As I Am.  In an interview with Rolling Stone, Alice explains that the song's chorus "Here's to you, as good as you are/ Here's to me as bad as I am" – came from Johnny. "Johnny says to me, 'My dad was a bit of a rounder, one of those guys that was in and out of trouble all the time. During Thanksgiving or Christmas, when we'd toast, he'd say, 'Good as you are, bad as I am.'"  The song was co-written by Johnny, Tommy Henriksen, and Bruce Witkin.  The same article confirms that "[Alice] and his supergroup friends are penning a new Hollywood Vampires record." Stay tuned to hear when and if a follow-up release is announced!



25. PLACEHOLDER: Steven Tyler: possible session/songwriting collaboration.

“I think it's fuckin' kinky to go write a song with Johnny Depp" - Steven Tyler

     In a June 2013 Billboard interview, Steven Tyler mentions working on a solo album that he hoped to release in 2014.  He says, "I'm just doing a solo record 'cause I think it's fuckin' kinky to go write a song with Johnny Depp." He has been speaking about collaborating with Johnny over the last few years, so we'll see if it pans out!



26. PLACEHOLDER: Marcus Mumford/Mumford & Sons: possible session/songwriting collaboration.

     Johnny and Marcus Mumford have been spotted hanging out together several times in the 2010s: in 2012 at the Continental Club Gallery, in 2013 at the MusiCares Person Of The Year event honoring Bruce Springsteen and a couple of days later presenting Mumford & Sons at the 55th Grammy Awards, and in 2014 at Johnny and Amber Heard's engagement party and in downtown LA.  When the boy band One Direction was invited to visit Johnny and his daughter Lily-Rose in 2012, member Louis Tomlinson teased that they'd been shown "songs he'd written with Mumford and Sons, and they were quite good!"  Then, in a 2014 Interview piece with Iggy Pop, Johnny confirmed that he'd collaborated with Marcus: "And then, here and there I'm doing some stuff with (Alice [Cooper], which is really fun. Also with) Marcus Mumford, who's amazing." Johnny ended up participating with Mumford in the New Basement Tapes recording (see 29. below), but it remains to be seen whether they've done any additional recording together.

mumford songs   2014 int



27. Ryan Adams: Aching For More, Kim, Feels Like Fire, No Shadow, It's In My Head (and other possible session/songwriting collaborations).

"I'm amazed by the fucker." - Johnny on Ryan Adams

     One musician whose name hasn't really been associated with Johnny's before now is Ryan Adams, founding member of Whiskeytown and The Cardinals.  But in the same 2014 Interview piece where Johnny spoke of musical collaborations with Alice Cooper and Marcus Mumford, he also spoke at length about Adams:  "I've been writing and recording with Ryan Adams a lot lately. Ryan is incredibly prolific and he's just a pure soul, he's just this being.  (H)e's itching all the time. It's like it's burning to come out of him... But what a talent, man. I'm amazed by the fucker."

2014 int

     On July 1, 2014, Adams released a 7" vinyl single, Gimme Something Good / Aching for More, in advance of a self-titled album.  It was revealed the day of the single's release that Johnny plays "Electric Guitar & Solo" on Aching For More, which is a vinyl exclusive that was not included on the album.  The self-titled Ryan Adams was released on September 9, 2014, and featured Johnny on guitar on Kim, and guitar and vocals on Feels Like Fire.  

     While promoting his album in September 2014, Adams told the Wall Street Journal about jamming with Johnny as well as Bob Mould at his Pax-Am recording studio:
"There was one night when Bob Mould was in town, and Johnny [Depp], my friend, the actor, and we jammed – we had this amazing jam that had to have lasted nine hours. We met in the afternoon and it lasted until 3 am. Johnny was playing bass for some of it, I played the bass for some of it – we’re basically Die Kreuzen right now, by way of Minneapolis, by way of Los Angeles. Total, otherwordly weird jams. Everybody that’s interested in the jams are interested in the song construct. There were placeholder vocals or sometimes no vocals. There’s almost no discussion. We laid down like eight songs or something. It was incredible.”

     He further discussed the sessions in an interview with Gigwise, noting that both he and Johnny shared guitar and bass duties while Bob Mould played guitar and his friend Marshall played drums, and that the songs were real and "constructed."  Asked whether the songs would be released, he said they weren't finished but that they would "do something with it."
"Sometimes we go through Johnny's phone because he plays guitar into his voicenotes, so he'll have some riff or some bridge or some chorus that he'll have done on a film set somewhere or whatever and he'll come round and play us a couple and I'll be like 'Oh man, let's put a verse there', stuff starts happened and an hour later the song is done."

     Ryan is also quoted in an October 2014 Daily Mail article (please ignore the tabloid nature of the article; for one thing, they're wrong about when Johnny will be filming Pirates 5).
"Johnny probably has 20 or 30 great riffs stored in his phone right now.  I don’t know if he’s got enough actual tunes to make an album, but he’s definitely got the talent... There’s a song called Kim that needed a guitar solo to explode on, and I knew Johnny’s playing would be perfect.  He went in and successfully played it in just one take. He just got it, perfectly.”
     Also in September 2014, Buzzfeedpublished an in-depth article about Adams' Pax-Am Studio as well as his career and life.  In the article, Adams submitted a photo of himself, Johnny and Jello Biafra at Pax-Am.  Johnny is wearing the same clothes as in another photo posted by musician Butch Walker, who was also recording at the studio.  It was later revealed that Johnny participated in Butch's recording sessions as well; see item #30 below.

     In December of 2014, Ryan announced another 7" vinyl single to be released in January: No Shadow b/w It's In My Head and Stoned Alone.  Johnny participates on the first 2 songs.  Ryan offered the following description on his Pax-Am website:
"Johnny came rumbling into PaxAm one night with this riff and an idea of what it was about- a few hour later and one take on a 2 inch 24 track tape machine later we had No Shadow… typed up on my manual typewriter and born and delivered from a simple riff we found on his i phone. Johnny is a real songwriter and one of the deepest guitar players out there. Thats us singing and playing and playing all the parts ourselves with just our pal Marshal Vore on drums.
 The B side is from the first night we met where all we did was play and didn’t say a word. This was the third thing we ever played together and there was no discussion. True rock and roll moments, as they should be, unfussy and delivered with all the heart and soul we had that night."

     Ryan once again spoke about working with Johnny at this time in an Instagram post on Eclipse Day, August 21, 2017.  He shared some heartfelt and touching memories about how they worked on Kim, and then on No Shadow.  Find the whole post on Instagram, but here is a brief excerpt:
"That's the first time we ever played it and right out of the typewriter. In fact that's him singing with me in the end. His voice is so beautiful. That song fell right into our arms. What a memory.”
 
Johnny with Ryan Adams and Jello Biafra, Pax-Am Studio
ryan-jelllo-jd   ryan-jello2   ryan-jello2   pax-am
 


28. Chuck E. Weiss: Red Beans And Weiss

"He’s so versatile that he can handle anything." - Chuck E. Weiss on Johnny

     Chuck's album Red Beans And Weiss was released on April 15, 2014.  It was his first album in 6 years.  Johnny had extensive involvement on this release.  He served as a co-executive producer on the album, along with Tom Waits.  The album is listed as "An Anti/Infinitum Nihil Release." Three of the songs were shown on the Infinitum Nihil label: Boston Blackie, That Knucklehead Stuff, and Bomb The Tracks.
     Johnny also performed on several songs:  
     All of the songs were Mixed at Studio 1480, and many of the songs were recorded or partially recorded there.  The full credits for recording and mixing are as follows:
     Chuck explains in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald that he needed Tom Waits and Johnny to encourage him to record another album, as he had not released an album since 2006's 23rd & Stout: “I’m not the most disciplined person in the world and I need a little nudge once in a while. Thank goodness I have such great friends like that to give me a kick in the ass.”  He further describes their participation: "They’re both credited as executive producers on my album, but Waits was really executive ass-kicker. Johnny was pretty hands-on in the studio with me. He’s so versatile that he can handle anything. On three songs he played most of the instruments and helped with background vocals.”
     Johnny offered his own perspective on his executive producer duties to Mojo"I only know that every record that Chuck E. has done, I've been around for.  Been an extra ear here and there, because we have similar tastes and things. So, I guess on this record it was [Tom] Waits and myself really just being there if he needed anything, but I was lucky enough to be around for a lot of the recording, getting to play on some little bits.  I only know that I'm just very proud to have the title, expecially since, in Waits, I share it with one of Chuck E.'s oldest and best friends and someone for whom I have such great admiration.  So it's all a huge honour for me.  You know, for a long time Chuck E. has been able to keep himself a secret but it's no longer possible.  Now he's going to belong to the world. And his cats are up shit-creek." Chuck goes on, "Can I add to that?  I just going to say that I'm not very disciplined and both Johnny and Tom told me that it was time to do another record. Tom was pretty much hands-off, he gave me a deadline, but Johnny was in the studio with me and was a great part of the inspiration for one of my favorite songs.  He was also there to play on some of the cuts and so it was a little more than him just saying that it was time to do another one... I mean, he was very inspirational to me. [To JD] I don't know if I could have done Boston Blackie without you?"
   
2014 Chuck E.

     Besides Johnny, several of Johnny's friends and colleagues also participated on the album: Bruce Witkin, Joey Malone, AND Beano Hanti (a Kids reunion!!), Nathan Holmes, J.J. Holiday, and Jack Depp, who gets his first formal recording credit for background vocals on Boston Blackie.  Christi Dembrowski and Amber Heard receive Thank You's.



29. The New Basement Tapes: Lost On The River - The New Basement Tapes

"Dylan has a deep understanding of the human being. More than a poet, he is a prophet. - Johnny on Bob Dylan

      Lost On The River: The New Basement Tapes, released on November 11, 2014, features songs using some newly discovered Bob Dylan lyrics from the era of The Basement Tapes (ca. 1967) that were thought to have been lost.  T Bone Burnett produced the album, with artists Marcus Mumford, Elvis Costello, Rhiannon Giddens, Taylor Goldsmith, and Jim James composing and arranging the music to Dylan's lyrics, and recording them on a tight two-week schedule.  According to NME, "Johnny Depp plays guitar on one song, 'Kansas City', filling in for Costello, who couldn't make it to one particular recording session as he had a gig. Depp had gone down to watch the rehearsals at Los Angeles' Capitol Studios, visiting his friend Burnett, but ended up contributing to the LP."  A documentary about the project, Lost Songs: The Basement Tapes Continued, aired on Showtime in November of 2014.  Johnny is shown in the film, plugging in and performing on Kansas City, but the documentary never elaborates on how Johnny came to be part of the recording.  

kc 9   kc 12   kc 18



30. Butch Walker: 21+

"...It's still pretty fucking cool to have somebody like Johnny Depp go, 'I'm so honored to play on it.' I was like, what the fuck are you talking about? You're high." - Butch Walker

     On October 6, 2014, Butch reported on his Facebook page:
"I'm thinking today is a day for new beginnings. Coming to terms with the past and living for the future. Letting go of then, and holding onto now. I'm really really proud of this one. Spent a year writing it. And 4 days recording it (exactly one year after the passing of my Father, Big Butch). My buddy Ryan Adams produced it at his Pax Am studios and we had some of our buddies come lend some vocal and instrumental love as well (Johnny Depp, Mike Viola, Bob Mould, and others). All live. All to an old tape machine. No computers. No fixes. Just music. I think I like this one a lot.
Here's to coming to terms with your ghosts, taking what scares you the most.. And turning it into something real. So I'm welcoming to the world, a new album called "Afraid of Ghosts"…."

     The song 21+ was released as a stream on Rolling Stone on November 10.  The Rolling Stone article states, "with Johnny Depp on guitar."  Afraid Of Ghosts was released on February 3, 2015, and Johnny was credited for the guitar solo on 21+.

     In a February 2015 interview in Rolling Stone, Butch spoke of Johnny's involvement:  
"[Ryan Adams] was calling him 'J. Diggle.' 'My buddy J. Diggle is going to come by and play a guitar solo on this record. He's a really good player.' But he would never say, 'My friend Johnny Depp, who is a fucking big actor.' That's just not Ryan. So when Johnny Depp walked through the door one day, I was like, 'Oh... that's J. Diggle.' He was awesome, gracious and kind — one of those dudes that cruises in with sunglasses and a hat on and sits, plays and complements the song."

walker   noah abrams butch
photos by Noah Abrams

     Butch tells a similar story in a short film by Noah Abrams about the recording of the album:
"You gotta understand, you know, I’m letting go of all creative control on this record. I’m trusting Ryan wholeheartedly here. He said, “Hey man, my buddy J. Dizzle wants to come by and rip a solo on this stuff.” I don’t know who this is but I’m sure he’s a good musician or Ryan wouldn’t want him to come in. We’re doing a song 21 and over (21+), and in walks Johnny Depp.  That’s J. Dizzle, I suppose. And he played an awesome solo that I would’ve never been able to capture the same way he did if I’d played it. He was everything you’d expect him to be, you know, comin’ in and just, like, hat down, rippin’ a solo, and then leaving, very mysteriously.  It was a fun cast of characters there."



31. Joe Perry: Run Run Rudolph, released on the EP Joe Perry's Merry Christmas, on December 2, 2014

"...he's a really good guitar player. People don't know it, but he can hold his own, believe me."- Joe Perry on Johnny

     In early December, 2014, Unison Records made a surprise announcement: that Joe Perry had released a 4 song Christmas EP on their label.  LA.com and other rock magazines then reported that Johnny played rhythm guitar on Run Run Rudolph.  Perry said of the release, which also features the songs White Christmas, Silent Night, and Santa Claus Is Back In Town:
“I have wanted to do a Christmas CD with Aerosmith for years, but it seems we never have the time to record one.  When my ROCKS book tour ended, the timing was right--we were in LA with access to a studio with some really talented friends and it all fell together.  I was finally able to record some Christmas classics for the fans.”
     Perry later told Billboard,
"They're songs that I've always wanted to do. If I'd been home sitting around and going down in my studio, they're songs I would've knocked off just for the fun of it, just to see how they came out." The finished tracks were recorded at good pal Johnny Depp`s Studio 1480 with Witkin and co-producer Ryan Dorn, and Depp wound up playing rhythm guitar on "Run Run Rudolph."
"He would stop by once in a while to see how the tracks were doing, and we're both Chuck Berry fans and [the song] needed another rhythm guitar, so he put on a rhythm track over what I had already laid down," Perry recalls. "And he's a really good guitar player. People don't know it, but he can hold his own, believe me. And if you listen on headphones you can really hear the two rhythm guitars together, just Chuck Berry-ing out."
   


home