Johnny Depp and his bandmates in the supergroup Hollywood Vampires, which includes Alice Cooper and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, holed up in Berlin’s Hansa Studios last year to record a cover of one of David Bowie’s biggest hits, “Heroes.” The Thin White Duke himself had cut that very track there a little more than four decades prior.
Video of the Vampires’ session, which took place on June 5th, 2018, shows Cooper entering the studio as Perry works an eBow to approximate the soaring feedback Robert Fripp recorded for Bowie in the summer of ’77. The band kicks in, and Depp sings the song’s iconic opening “I … ” with his mohawk pulled back and a feather hanging in the back. You can see sweat on his face before it cuts to live-performance footage of the band and tour-bus footage. Cooper stands beside Depp deferentially in the studio and plays maracas onstage.
Although the band started out as a covers group, paying tribute to Cooper’s “dead drunk friends,” they’ve expanded their repertoire into originals on Rise; “Heroes” is one of the few covers on the album. It released the original song “The Boogieman Surprise” last month and “Who’s Laughing Now” in April.
Blabbermouth, which premiered the video, reports that the rest of the band on Rise includes Alice Cooper drummer Glen Sobel, the Cult’s bassist Chris Wyse and Aerosmith keyboardist Buck Johnson. Cooper’s guitar player Tommy Henricksen, who plays guitar in the Vampires, co-produced the LP with the band.
Bowie co-wrote “Heroes” with Brian Eno and recorded it in July and August of 1977. According to legend, the lyrics were inspired by Bowie seeing producer Tony Visconti and backup singer Antonia Maaß kissing by the Berlin wall; Bowie never revealed the lovers identities, Visconti says, because he was having an affair with Maaß. “I thought, of all the places to meet in Berlin, why pick a bench underneath a guard turret on the Wall?” Bowie said of the inspiration.