"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
This studio version of Hollywood Affair features
on guitar and Iggy on vocal and guitar. Johnny also wrote the
music and co-produced the track, (as "Scaramanga Bros.")
see the Discography
for scans of the liner notes from the above CDs. Here is a
from the March 15, 2001 issue of Rolling Stone mentioning the Hollywood
Goes Wild! CD:
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
if you have any information!
5. Vanessa Paradis:
Bliss, released in France on Oct. 17,
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
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
am looking for articles or interviews that
give any detail about Johnny's participation on Bliss.
Please e-mail me (email@example.com) if you have any
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 à Z or its English
Translation. or the Johnny Depp Rocks! Vanessa
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
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
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.
7. Glenn Tilbrook and the
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
"Both Johnny and Vanessa bring clout, wit, charm and
to 'Pandemonium Ensues'. For that, I'm very grateful." - Glenn Tilbrook.
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
interview with ITN,
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
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
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
if they'd like to sing on it. Vanessa did sing on it, in fact
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
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
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
Glenn elaborates that on Johnny's recording, he was given "minimal
instructions and free reign." He also specifies that
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
in October of 2008, so the recording or at least the arrangements must
have been made before then. Some reports erroneously stated
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
Jones] is a national treasure, if you're British. For
else, he's a diamond waiting to be found! Lyrically, he's black as
night, brilliant and sharp as a razor." - Johnny
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:
Stephen had parted company with his old
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
Johnny then became involved himself, both by playing guitar
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
, Stephen says, "It's
the fourth track and Johnny played guitar on Unloveable. He
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
going to be good?’ because he’s just coming in for
hours and I’m not sure I’d be able to do it.
quite shy and unassuming, but he came in and it all happened nicely
In an interview with the Islington
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
ever had. It’s got quite an American feel to some of the
which I didn’t plan. I hope every song I write is different
you can’t change your voice that much so that always brands
a Babybird record
In 2011, Unison and Stephen released a
footage Stephen had taken while making Ex-Maniac. Included is
rare look at Johnny laying down his guitar track for Unloveable.
Watch it on YouTube
More cool links:
MacGowan & Friends:
I Put A Spell On You, recorded January and February of 2010, released
for download on March 7, 2010
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
, and later picked up by Pitchfork
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
included a few small glimpses of the recording session.
However, when it became known that Johnny was in LA on and
January 30 to film a documentary about Keith Richards, it was unclear
how Johnny was to participate in this project. Clifford and
mention that some artists would be contributing from other parts of the
world. All became clear when a Daily
article reported that Johnny recorded his part in LA on
reported that MacGowan introduced the video to the single during the
NME Awards in London on February 24. By the next day, the
was posted to YouTube
In a Late
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
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
The single was released as a digital
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
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.
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
arrangement along with Bruce Witkin. The track was recorded
mixed at Studio 80 by Bruce Witkin. I'm looking for
any information about this recording session!
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." -
Unlike Johnny's participation on
contribution to The Jesus Stag Night Club was not publicized at all.
The only scant information about Johnny, including some
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
be revealed in future interviews or articles. Meanwhile,
out the JD Rocks! Discography
page for scans of the album.
Ballade de Melody Nelson and Sous Le Soleil
recorded in 2011, released on the album, From Gainsbourg To Lulu, on
November 14, 2011.
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
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
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
Vanessa Paradis' involvement, saying that she would sing
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
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
the song was recorded in LA in "the studio of Johnny Depp."
recording was done at Studio 80 and Unison Music Studios in
full translation of the Phosphore article here
While some of these articles mentioned
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
drums, percussion and guitars, and once again denote that the song was
recorded by Bruce Witkin at Unison. What a great surprise to
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.
Valentine, video version, guitar part recorded in March 2012, video
premiered on April 13, 2012. A Making My Valentine
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." -
In 2012, Johnny appeared along with
in videos for Paul McCartney's song My Valentine. Johnny
in one, Natalie in another, and both of them in a third.
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
sign the lyrics to the song. They were coached by Bill Pugin
of The Sign Language
According to Paul McCartney's Official Site
Depp also plays guitar in his version and recorded the track's guitar
solo live. His guitar take was then mixed and mastered into
final track. The original guitar solo on the studio version
the song was performed by Eric Clapton."
elaborated in an interview with Vanity
: "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
on November 13, 2012, the Making My Valentine featurette documented the
video shoot and some behind the scenes footage. Paul and
Pfister, the cinematographer who filmed the video, were seen discussing
how the shots were to be set up. They discussed what would
during the guitar solo:
the sake of what we might do in the solo, it could
be movement, we could pull out full length...
And also maybe, I don't know, we'll see what they're doing,
know. Maybe Johnny's tapping his heel, I don't know...
Well, I think Johnny might play the solo
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
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
Johnny on a cigfiddle and Paul on a bass cigfiddle that Johnny and
Bruce are seen showing/giving to him. Johnny apparently
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
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
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!"
But there is one remark off camera, that I believe is from
Wally, who whispers, "That
Johnny for holding his own against Guitar God Clapton's original
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
that Johnny used in the video.
Manson: You're So Vain, released on the album, Born Villain, on May 1,
you don't recognize my personal friend ... my personal savior, my
personal guitar hero ... Johnny Depp!" - Marilyn
Johnny plays drums and guitar and is a
this song on
Marilyn Manson's album Born Villain. Bruce Witkin plays
keyboards, and Marilyn Manson plays guitar and keyboards; both
coproduce. Jason Sutter also plays drums. Johnny's
plays guitar, as well, though he's not formally credited.
and Keenan Wyatt recorded the song at Studio 1480.
did a cover version together
of a song which we thought was ironic for each other
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
gonna be performing at – was in the room and he actually
on the song too. It’s pretty cool.
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
playing at the end title credits. So it's sort of the song that adds to
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.
Smith: Banga, released on the album, Banga, on June 5, 2012.
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
In June of 2009, while Johnny was doing
interviews to promote Public
, he mentioned to Edith Bowman
of BBC1 Radio that he might play on Patti Smith's next record.
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
, 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
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
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
Patti also writes the following in the
liner notes to the album:
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
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:
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.
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,
On September 19, 2012, the colorful
celebrity columnist Perez
announced the surprising news that Johnny had
participated on a new rap record. The collaboration was also
reported by Jonathan
Credited as "Mr. Stench," Johnny provides spoken word to the
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.
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.
The song was later included on The Hookah Lounge, Vol. 1, on
May 28, 2013. In an interview with PR
, Rassel explains how Johnny got involved:
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
Rassel also appeared on a Louisville,
Kentucky morning show called Great
, where he said:
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.
we got together and needed a narrator for the music video.
essentially just thought about it and texted him while he was actually
filming Lone Ranger in Utah at the time. And I texted him
it and he was all open to doing it. (Show hostess: "So he
'I'm in!'") Yeah, absolutely!"
And he also spoke briefly about the
"That monologue was actually
written by this girl, Kate Hadfield out of
Lexington. She's a really talented writer- she wrote that, yeah."
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
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
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
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
featuring remarks from both Johnny and Steven about this. In
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
Award at the MTV Movie Awards.
On July 30, 2012, Rolling
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
28, the Official
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
guitar to get the sound he wanted.
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
, 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
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.
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
writing with Johnny has not yet materialized, but you never know what
the future might bring!
18. Bill Carter: Anything Made Of Paper,
Road To Nowhere, and State Trooper. Anything Made of Paper
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.
tuned for more details.
Bill Carter recorded most of his album,
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
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
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
credits for Road To Nowhere have not been published, it would be a good
guess that the lineup was similar.
19. West Of
Memphis: Voices For Justice; Tonto's Giant Nuts. This
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.
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’
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
on the album." I'm trying to find out the musician credits
Little Lion Man. Presumably both Johnny and Bruce Witkin play
Anything Made Of Paper is also on
Carter's Unknown album.
20. Son Of
Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys.
participates on 2 tracks: Leaving Of Liverpool supporting
MacGowan and The Mermaid supporting Patti Smith.
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
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,
Manhattan Blues Project, he decided to create a bluesy, soulful
portrayal of New York City.
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
I actually managed to get Johnny Depp to play a solo. Yes,
Depp actually played a solo on my album. And after his solo,
Perry played the next solo. So I have Johnny Depp and Joe
on a 12 bar blues… can you imagine? I was thrilled
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."
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.
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
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:
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
"He called up about this
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
. It sounds as if Johnny recorded his part,
then sent it to Iggy, who added his vocals and sent it back:
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
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.
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:
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.
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
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
Tuesday and Wednesday before arriving at the Humana Golf Challenge.
This would work out to January 15-16, 2013. Alice
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
he wrote the music, and it's really gonna be good. It's the
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
They were subsequently spotted
together in the
studio; see Suzanne Allison's Facebook
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
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
reported in Rolling
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
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.
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:
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
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
In a March 2015 Rolling Stone
article, Joe Perry spoke about the Come And Get It session in which Paul McCartney participated:
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
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
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,
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
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
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.
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
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.
27. Ryan Adams: Aching For More,
Kim, Feels Like Fire, No Shadow, It's In My Head (and other possible
"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."
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:
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."
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).
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,
Also in September 2014, Buzzfeed
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
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
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
, but here is a brief excerpt:
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
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
April 15, 2014. It was his first album in 6 years.
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
songs were shown on the Infinitum Nihil label: Boston Blackie, That
Knucklehead Stuff, and Bomb The Tracks.
Johnny also performed on several songs:
- Boston Blackie: Drums, Guitar, Background Vocals.
- Bomb The
Tracks: Background Vocals.
- Kokamo (Boy Bruce): Guitar.
Hink-A-Dink: Drums, Bass.
- Willy's In The Pee Pee House: Background
All of the songs were Mixed at Studio
many of the songs were recorded or partially recorded there.
full credits for recording and mixing are as follows:
- "Recorded/Mixed: Studio 1480":
Tupelo Joe, Shushie, Boston Blackie, That Knucklehead Stuff,
The Tracks, Kokomo Boy Bruce, The Hink-A-Dink
- "Recorded: The Village; Mixed:
Studio 1480": Exile On Main Street Blues, Oo Poo Pa Do In The Rebop
- "Recorded: Electronic Recording Services and Studio 1480;
Mixed: Studio 1480": Hey Pendejo
- "Recorded: Electronic Recording Services; Mixed: Studio
1480": Dead Man's Shoes
- "Recorded: The Village and
Studio 1480; Mixed: Studio 1480": Old New Song, Willy's In The Pee Pee
- "Mixed at Studio 1480 by Bruce Witkin and Keenan Wyatt"
Chuck explains in an interview with the
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 &
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.”
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
played most of the instruments and helped with background
Johnny offered his own perspective on
his executive producer duties to Mojo
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
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
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
cats are up shit-creek."
Chuck goes on, "Can
I add to that? I just going to say that I'm not very
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
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?"
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.
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
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
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.
30. Butch Walker: 21+
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
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
The song 21+ was released as a stream on Rolling Stone
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:
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."
photos by Noah Abrams
Butch tells a similar story in a short film by Noah Abrams
about the recording of the album:
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
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:
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
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
"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."