Taking in History With KLOS and Hollywood Vampires

The Vampires are about to come out at night.  But first, it’s official, the more things change, the more they stay the same. This time, though, that’s a very, very good thing.  95.5 FM KLOS has been the rock fixture in SoCal for decades. The station has developed into an international brand name; and needless to say, we were a little surprised when we got the news that Cumulus Media, Inc. sold KLOS to The Meruelo Group, which also owns local radio juggernaut Power 106 and 93.5 FM KDAY.  But when we piece this together, this is great news for KLOS and rock fans all across southern California.  The Meruelo Group is one of the most diversified and successful firms in the county, with resources at the ready, and adding KLOS to their portfolio sounds like a match made in rock and roll heaven.

I guess Bowie had it right, he said “time may change me, but I can’t trace time.” What does that mean exactly? In this case, it means you can’t stop the future, you can’t rewind the past… the only way to move forward is to press play! For the past few years, KLOS Program Director, Keith Cunningham, and staff have been working very hard to move forward and be a leader in the evolution of the ever-changing world of broadcast media. KLOS has embraced a vision of being true to that local and authentic rock station we all grew up listening to, but also evolving with the times and being the leader in supporting the vast California rock and roll lifestyle.  That’s KLOS Presents events of all types, but with the common denominator… rock music!

What’s next for KLOS? According to Cunningham, there’s a lot more lined up for the rest of the year, including more 50th anniversary parties, a big bash for Frosty, Heidi & Frank and a few surprises.  That’s good news, because whether it’s a gory Rob Zombie sci-fi flick, or a kick-ass bone-crushing rock show, Southern Californians love to be entertained.  And this weekend, if you like things that go bump in the night, KLOS has something for you to look forward to. Rock Stars and Vampires are the perfect fit for a Saturday night out, and the Hollywood Vampires and KLOS are teaming up for a spectacle.  

When it comes to Vamps, Joss Whedon is someone who knows a thing or two about our overindulgent for creatures of the night. He once said that every vampire fiction reinvents vamps to its own needs; and you take what you want. What is it exactly that we’ve been craving for to have brought to this band to life? When you think about it… Whedon has a point, we’ve come a long way from the days of Lugosi, Buffy, Bella and Edward. These days, of all the creatures we love, Vamps walk with the most swagger, and we just love that about them.

With that in mind, Alice Cooper and Jack Sparrow are a perfect cross of those night-time wickedly-cool-creepy-crawlers that tickle our fancy. It’s their swagger that gave birth to the Hollywood Vampires, well kinda’. These Vamps are a rock supergroup that formed back in 2015. The band includes actor, Johnny Depp, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry and mega-rock-star Alice Cooper.  When it comes to this band, they’re just like vamps…. they’re filled with myth and legend, and lots of social media BS. Of Depp, Cooper said there’s just so much said about him, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. That’s until you get to know him. Cooper said he’s with him all the time, and he’s never seen him look better and play better… and he’s always laughing. What he sees is the opposite of what’s floating out there, and that’s definitely a good thing to hear.

Here’s the skinny on the band’s name. Its origins come from a drinking club that consisted of Cooper and a few of his drinking pals. Those drinking buddies included the likes of Monkeys drummer Mickey Dolenz, the incomparable, Sir Elton John, Beatles John Lennon and Ringo Starr just to name a few. The main mission of the original Hollywood Vampires was to drink until no one could stand, that was a true Hollywood accomplishment back in the day. These reindeer games took place during the height of Cooper’s well documented drinking fests back in the 70’s. The lore behind the name sounds so much cooler that it is. The reality is that the guys formed the band to honor the music of those rock stars who died from their excesses in the 70’s.

So who does what in the band? Cooper is the lead singer, and still plays a very mean harmonica. Depp plays slide/rhythm guitar and throws in backing vocals, he’s the lead on some of the band’s original music.  Perry is the band’s iconic lead guitarist who still sounds as unreal as ever. Support band members include Tommy Henricksen (guitar), Chris Wyse (bass), Buck Johnson (Keys), and Glen Sobel (drums). On the road, you just might see a few other familiar faces. On any given night, you could take in Guns n’ Roses stars, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum as well as STP’s Robert DeLeo. When you see Hollywood Vampires, you’re gonna’ see cameos. Some of the names you’re likely to see is impressive to say the least. The thing is these artists role in for no other reason that to play cool music with their pals, that’s as genuine as it gets

The band released their self-title studio album, back in 2015. It has a good blend of covers that fans love. The album featured guest appearances by that other Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, the original Foo himself, Dave Grohl, and Eagles rock-God Joe Walsh.  Hollywood Vampires may have something in common with Greta Van Fleet, they pay a great tribute to Zeppelin. They do a little more though, these vamps pay homage to Hendrix and The Who as well.  Their debit album covers songs like Whole Lotta Love, My Generation, Break on Through to the Other Side, and Manic Depression.

As for their live shows, they play a few tunes from the Alice Cooper Catalogue, and just maybe, you’ll hear a few Aerosmith, Hendrix and Lennon tunes mixed in here and there. If you’re lucky…you might just get other tunes like Train Kept a Rollin’, I’m Eighteen and a cover of Ace of Spades that would even make Lemme smile. Original songs include, I Want My Now, The Boogieman Surprise and Bushwackers. The thing about their live show, you can’t really appreciate the scope of seeing legendary artists jamming together until you hear this band. Their sound can range from melodic to electric to bone crushing. Their sound is what a cool Hollywood soundtrack should sound like. Cooper remains the showman that he’s always been, which just adds to the lore of this band.  

Keep this in mind… they don’t do huge mega tours, but they do play. After all, they did play that larger-than-life appearance at the Grammy’s as a tribute to Lemmy just after his passing. That was an iconic moment that we’ll never forget. It really takes quite an effort to make that happen, but this band made it look so effortless. There’s a lot of cool bands out there, but Hollywood Vampires is like seeing history transcend right in front of us. Now, KLOS presents a Golden Gala: An Evening with Hollywood Vampires, this Saturday and the Greek. We’ll get to see a kick-ass band, but for those who still wonder, you’ll get to see Johnny Depp up close and personal, and realize this cat can play! If you miss them this time around, not to worry. They play the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio on Saturday, May 18th. Seriously, seeing this band is an event you just have to see to believe.

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