Joe Perry talks about performing with his friends, the Hollywood Vampires, and his solo album ‘Sweetzerland Mainfesto’ | New Hampshire:
Alright, what’s the story behind the title of your latest solo album, “Sweetzerland Manifesto?”
JP: Okay, well I’ll give you the short version. We were trying to figure out the name of the album and I came up here – to Johnny Depp’s place, on Sweetzer Avenue where he has a recording studio. Johnny has this little enclave here in West Hollywood, and there is a vibe here like nowhere else. Johnny is a musician and a seasoned actor. He’s a really talented artist. Whatever he does he just goes all the way, but I’ve gotta say, he’s a musician first. That said, the vibe here is so creative, even though you’re in the middle of West Hollywood, it’s kind of like a state of mind. There’s writers, movie directors, musicians, painters, comedians – all different kinds of people coming through. And from time to time there’s just nobody here. There’s a vibe here that is just very creative. So the guys that hang out up here, so we kind of call it “Sweetzerland.” So my road manager, John Bionelli suggested Sunset Manifesto and I kind of liked that, but then “Sweetzerland” came up and that sounded perfect because it is a state of mind up here and so that’s kind of what the record represents.
Do you think you’ll release another album with the Hollywood Vampires?
JP: Yes, we just finished writing a new album. Alice (Cooper) is going to be putting some vocals on and it should be out this summer. We’re touring. We’ve got four or five dates in the states starting at the end of May and then we go overseas and I’m hoping (happy?) that a couple of the songs will be done before the tour starts. As soon as I get done with these three shows I’m coming back here and Alice should be here. He’s scheduled to come into the studio. We’ll get it done as soon as we can.
How is it different to play gigs like these upcoming shows versus the Hollywood Vampires?
JP: Alice is probably one of the nicest guys and hardest rocking front men I know and he’s a great entertainer and he’s got an incredible sense of humor. He’s really easy-going and all he wants to do is get up and play. This gives him a chance to really play rock ‘n’ roll outside of the Alice Cooper thing. He still has that image. It’s never going to go away. If we take a little of that off of him…because we talk about the Yardbirds all the time, about how much that band influenced us. But he’s got that Alice Cooper persona. That’s also him. He brings a little bit of that to the vibe – and really, he’s the original Hollywood Vampire. So he’s ready for anything and he’s great. Johnny Depp is like playing with an old friend. Greg, who plays with Alice, is probably one of the best drummers that I know. Tommy Henriksen, who plays with Alice is also one of the main songwriters so me, him and Johnny wrote most of the record. In fact, after the show at the Roxy here, where I showcased my solo record, the next day, I went back in the studio and started working on the Vampires record. In a month we had about 10-12 songs. So it’s been nonstop.
It must be hard to switch gears like that.
JP: Well yeah, I had to make an adjustment to make it a little darker because that’s a Vampires thing. But that’s what keeps it exciting. A little harder rocker and a little bit darker is the best way I can put it. I think the record goes down a little different.