Back in the '70s, a group of rock & roll carousers called themselves the Hollywood Vampires as they crawled the bars of Los Angeles during the dead of night. Alice Cooper was at the forefront, joined by Harry Nilsson, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Keith Moon, and Micky Dolenz -- a crew so soused their tales became legend, even if the specifics of the debauchery were often forgotten. Forty years later, Alice Cooper revived the name Hollywood Vampires when he came to form a supergroup with Joe Perry and Johnny Depp. These three are the anchors in an open-door party where everybody is invited, providing you're already a classic rocker of some note. The joke of Hollywood Vampires is that all the songs apart from the two originals -- joint efforts between Depp and his compadre Bruce Witkin, Alice Cooper and his old producer Bob Ezrin, plus his new guitarist Tommy Henriksen -- are covers of songs by dead rockers, a gag that is easy to miss because the songs are the kinds of standards that function as classic rock wallpaper: they're always there, so they rarely evoke memories of the long-gone Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and John Lennon. Instead, in the words of the still-living J. Geils Band, this ain't nothin' but a house party, a raucous celebration of old-time Sunset Strip rock & roll that only lets the sleazy good times lift when Paul McCartney swings by to sing "Come and Get It." That's still a blast, though, because it's clear Sir Paul enjoys playing with these louts as much as they enjoy playing with him and, despite all the big names packed into the studio, the key to the whole shebang is Alice Cooper himself. He's the ringleader, pushing people to the mike, turning "Itchycoo Park" into metallic vaudeville and doing justice to T. Rex. Sure, Hollywood Vampires is just a lark but it's a fun lark, and having fun is what matters in a party.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine