Johnny Depp Rocks! Blog

June 25, 2009

Love Him Two Times, part 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — madscntst @ 11:05 am

Just a quick update about the Doors documentary, though as usual, I am late in commenting on it.  Johnny’s narration was indeed incorporated into When You’re Strange in time for it to screen at the LA Film Festival.  In addition, the original print of Jim Morrison’s experimental film, HWY, was found in time to cut some footage into the film. The footage is said to be so good that some may assume they are re-enactments.  But DiCillo assures us, “THERE ARE NO FUCKING RE-ENACTMENTS.”

The screenings took place on June 21 and June 24.  I haven’t seen any formal reviews yet, but the comments on Tom DiCillo’s site and some Doors message boards have been extremely favorable.  DiCillo reports that Johnny saw the completed film last weekend and was “extremely complimentary.”  There will be a buyer’s screening in NYC on June 30th, and I hope that will result in a purchase and a theatrical release!


Johnny Depp Rocks!


May 25, 2009

Love Him Two Times

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — madscntst @ 8:24 pm

Tom DiCillo gives some excellent news about his upcoming Doors documentary, When You’re Strange, by confirming on his website that Johnny’s narration for the film has been completed!  He sounds really enthusiastic about what Johnny has been able to contribute, calling the narration “fantastic,” “personal,” and “crucial.”  In various blog posts on his site, he has given huge compliments to Johnny’s intelligence and talent as an actor, as well as his emotional connection to the music and to Morrison.  These are exactly the kinds of comments I love hearing, and make me feel more than ever that Johnny is perfectly suited to be a part of this film!

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I was a little nervous about when Johnny would possibly have the time to provide his narration, given that The Rum Diary filming in Puerto Rico has taken up most of this spring, and Public Enemies promotion will likely be starting soon.  I’m so glad that he had the time to shoehorn this into his busy schedule!  It would be interesting to hear where and when the recording was done- did Johnny have facilities in Puerto Rico, or was he able to travel to a recording studio on his days off?  We may never learn the details, but perhaps Johnny or DiCillo will give us some info about that in the future.

The big question now is, when and where will When You’re Strange have any future screenings?  DiCillo pulled out of this past March’s South By Southwest Film Festival when it was apparent that the film would not be completed with Johnny’s narration before the screening.  Now that he finally has the recording in his hands, he estimates that it’ll take a week to cut it into the film.  It’s probably too late now for some early summer film festivals, but hopefully he’ll be able to enter it in time for some late summer or fall festivals.  The best news of all would be to hear news of a theatrical release.  In his remarks, DiCillo has promised it will happen.  Let’s hope so!  Keep an eye on Tom’s site, as well as the When You’re Strange Official Website for any updates.

Huge props to DiCillo for being so forthright in his posts on his site.  Even when he didn’t have news to report, he has always kept the line of communication open with his readers (even lurkers, like me!)  Hopefully, he’ll continue to update everyone in terms of festivals, screenings, and a theatrical release!

May 27 UPDATE: When You’re Strange has been accepted to the LA Film Festival, which takes place from June 18-28.  DiCillo reports on his website that he’s still working on integrating the narration into the film, but it is excellent news that it will be ready for screening this soon!  Best wishes to the film for a successful and productive screening!


Johnny Depp Rocks!

April 25, 2009

Pandemonium Ensues – a review from a casual Tilbrook fan

Wow, my second blog post within a week!  Let’s see how often I stay this active.  Anyway, I thought I’d offer a record review of Glenn Tilbrook and The Fluffers’ new album, Pandemonium Ensues, which features a guest appearance from Johnny.  I should preface this by saying I’ve never been a huge fan of Tilbrook or Squeeze.  I’ve long heard lots of accolades and praise for Squeeze, but songs like Pulling Mussels From A Shell or Black Coffee In Bed never caught my interest quite enough to really pursue that band’s music; I guess it was just not a genre for me.  On the other hand, this allows me to listen to the album without any preconceived notions of what Glenn’s music should sound like, so I can just enjoy the music on its own terms.

All in all, I enjoyed the record more than I expected to.  There is a range of styles, and some work better for me than others.  I have a feeling that the songs that work best for me are the ones that sound the least “Squeeze-like” to my uneducated ear.   The first single, Still, along with songs like Little Ships and Interest & Love, the latter of which features lovely vocals by Vanessa Paradis, strike me as the type of easy-listening Brit Pop that I was expecting.  They are enjoyable enough, but not particularly engaging to me.  On the other hand, Product, featuring lead vocals by the Fluffers’ bassist, Lucy Shaw, is perhaps a little too experimental and bizarre.  Another more experimental, techno-sounding song is Happy Disposition, and I’m still deciding what to think of that one.  At the least, Glenn should be given credit for trying things.

However, I had no trouble getting into the harder rock songs, Slaughtered Artist and Beachland Ballroom.   Though The Net and Melancholy Emotion remind me a lot of Paul McCartney, and are catchy, memorable pop tunes.  Black Sheep is an odd one that reminds me somewhat disconcertingly of The Monkees– perhaps something that Davy Jones would sing.  At first, the song seemed silly and a little annoying: “Baa baa baa baa baa, black sheep.”  Really??  But I am starting to find myself going along for the ride, because it’s such a sweet tune.  Relentless Pursuit is a standout with gorgeous harmonies that are reminiscent of both The Beach Boys and, more recently, The Polyphonic Spree.  My favorite song on the album so far is the opening number, Best Of Times, with an infectious Cajun-style sound, which really draws the listener in right off the bat.

And what of Johnny’s guest spot on Too Close To The Sun?  Well, it sure is different!  This techno tune isn’t one I’d automatically choose as a favorite musical style, but yet, it’s a fun, psychedelic melody that reminds me a lot of 60’s soundtracks with maybe a little 70’s prog-rock thrown in.   It’s a cool way to top off the record, and Johnny is game to play along, with his repetition of the line, “Too close to the sun.” Don’t forget to listen with earphones!  Johnny gets to mix it up at the end by saying, in a rather Jack Sparrow-like voice, “Whose son are we talking about?” Heh.

According to an interview Glenn gave in the Newark Star-Ledger, the song was originally going to be called “The 13th Bar”, and was going to feature a friend of Glenn’s named Pete.  The band would count out 13 bars, and then Pete would recite the line.  However, poor Pete got bumped once Glenn had the chance to invite Johnny to guest.  Now, try counting the bars, if you can!  It’s easy to get mixed up, and once or twice when I tried, the line seemed to come in a little early or late, but that could’ve been me miscounting!  Or maybe they decided not to keep the count so rigid when they changed the title.  But most of the time, especially in the middle portion, I counted 13.  At any rate, I thought that was a cool little tidbit.

In summary, I find Pandemonium Ensues to be a cool, very listenable album, with some average but agreeable ditties, along with some standouts.

3 stars (out of 5)


Johnny Depp Rocks!

April 18, 2009

(No Depp Content) – I pulled into Nazareth…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — madscntst @ 10:45 pm

Actually, I pulled in… or rather, I flew in, to Austin, TX, a couple of weeks ago.  I was there for a Bruce Springsteen concert (#97; yes, I’m a lifelong fan) and to enjoy a nice weekend with a friend.  I’d only been to Austin once before, in 2002, for SXSW.  That trip had been a wonderful (but exhausting!) blur of waking up at noon, Waterloo Records in-stores, day parties and barbecues, and memorable showcases all night long, not to mention the excellent food and drink.  As I’m not getting any younger, this would be a considerably more relaxed trip, other than, of course, the concert that I was there for.  Still, there was no reason not to still take advantage of the fine city’s offerings: a trip to Waterloo, some more shopping, and some excellent food and drink.  But it wouldn’t be a proper trip to Austin without hearing some good Austin music, and so my friend and I went to catch an acoustic gig by Johnny’s former P bandmate, Bill Carter.

Carter was playing with another area songwriter/musician named Stephen Doster.  I wasn’t familiar with Doster but later learned that he has worked with Nanci Griffith and put out at least one album.  Due to having taken our time with a delicious steak dinner and a longer-than-expected drive to the venue, and the gig ending earlier than we thought, we only got to hear them play for half an hour.  But it was well worth the trip!  Besides a couple of songs I didn’t recognize, they played Carter’s Cocktail Waitress (At The Poodle Dog Lounge), The Band’s The Weight, The Beatles’ Two Of Us, and The Rolling Stones’ Honky Tonk Women.  What a treat to hear such first class guitar work and wonderfully blended vocals in such an informal, relaxed setting, while sipping on some delicious locally-brewed pale ale.  A perfect, if short, evening.

My friend brought up a tip from us as they were packing up their gear, and shook their hands and had some nice words with them. I was in one of my silly shy modes and chose to hang back.  But she said they were both gracious and lovely, and very appreciative that we came to hear them.

A night later, Bruce Springsteen put on a typically amazing performance:  3 hours of non-stop passion and energy.  It was probably the best I’d seen Bruce in the last several years, and definitely reaffirmed my fanhood.  Even so, I can’t help but think back to the night before, listening to two guys with acoustic guitars with no huge backing band, no fancy lights or stage effects, and no huge crowds, but just playing music because they love to play music.   Two completely different experiences, but then again, maybe not.  When it comes down to it, it’s the music that matters.


Johnny Depp Rocks!

March 15, 2009

Love Him Madly

I told myself I would write more posts in 2009, but between being busy at work and waiting and hoping (in vain, mostly)  for final information on some potential projects, I kept putting it off!  Now that nearly a quarter of the year is over, though, I feel that I’m overdue to at least drop a few lines.

The big music news so far this year is that Johnny will provide a permanent narration for a Doors documentary entitled When You’re Strange.  With a temporary narration by director Tom DiCillo, the documentary already had its World Premiere at the Sundance International Film Festival on January 17, 2009, and it also screened at the Berlin Film Festival in February.  DiCillo has been somewhat criticized for his dry and wordy voiceover, but he has assured fans that his narration was always intended to be just temporary.  He has supposedly tweaked the wording for Johnny’s reading and vows not to screen the film again until Johnny’s contribution has been added.

Johnny would’ve been a small child during The Doors’ heyday in 1966-1970, but his love and respect for rock legends makes him a perfect fit for this film.  I’m thrilled that in the last few years, Johnny has lent a hand to several music documentaries (Taraf de Haidouks, Joe Strummer, Tom Petty) and I’m sure he’ll do the story of The Doors justice!  According to DiCillo, Johnny may be recording the narration as early as this weekend.  If  it does not happen soon, his schedule is going to be pretty tight for the next few months, between filming The Rum Diary and doing press for Public Enemies.  So I just wish the project well and hope that the film can be completed soon so it can start getting some screenings!

I’ve already corrected my 2008 year-end post regarding the Glenn Tilbrook release, Pandemonium Ensues.  Johnny does indeed participate on the album, but not on guitar as had originally been reported by Teletext.  Glenn himself states in this interview that he asked Johnny and Vanessa Paradis to sing on the album, but while Vanessa duets with Glenn on the song Interest & Love, Johnny was uncomfortable about singing and therefore did a spoken voiceover on the song Too Close To The Sun.  While I love any form of musical participation on Johnny’s part, I admit that I wish that Johnny had played guitar.  In Glenn’s interview, he mentions that the album was pretty much finished and was being mixed in LA by the time Johnny and Vanessa came on board, so I guess that there were no more instrumental parts left to add.  Next time, Glenn! The CD has already been released in the UK, and will come out in the US on April 9.

I’ve seen no news so far this year on the status of the Do It For Johnny or Rock And A Hard Place: Another Night At The Agora documentaries.  Neither web page has been updated in quite awhile.  I’m also anxious to hear more about the possible Rogue’s Gallery follow-up, but there has been no info about that since the BBC report last summer.  Here’s hoping for more news soon on any or all of these potential projects!


Johnny Depp Rocks!

December 31, 2008

The year in (Johnny’s) music, and a look ahead to 2009

2008 was a musical year for Johnny Depp!  The most memorable music-related events of the year were the Second Annual Sheila Witkin Memorial Concerts, in which Johnny rocked out with The Kids in a pair of shows in August.  The shows were held in conjunction with screenings of the Rock And A Hard Place: Another Night At The Agora documentary, which had had its World Premiere earlier in the year.  The film chronicles the history of the South Florida music scene of the late 70’s and early 80’s, as well as the first Sheila Witkin Memorial Concert that took place in January of 2007.  Johnny features prominently in this film, both as a musician and an interviewee.

In addition to performing with The Kids, Johnny took on several other musical projects, including directing (and possibly co-starring in??) Vanessa Paradis’ video for L’Incendie and co-producing and co-authoring the soundtrack for the film Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.  He was also featured as an interviewee in several music documentaries that were released on DVD in 2008, including Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten, Gypsy Caravan: When The Road Bends, and Runnin’ Down A Dream: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (2 DVD edition).

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street featured Johnny’s first major singing role on film.  Although the film was first released in the US in December of 2007, its domestic and foreign box office success continued well into 2008; it also received much critical praise and resulted in an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win for Johnny.  The soundtrack and DVD releases were also very successful.

So, what do we have to look forward to from Johnny Depp the Musician in 2009?  As of now, there seems to be one sure thing and several possibilities.  The sure thing is Johnny’s participation on Glenn Tilbrook And The Fluffers’ upcoming album, Pandemonium Ensues.  Tilbrook first mentioned in October that Johnny contributes to the album, and a recent item on the Teletext site confirmed that Johnny plays guitar on the song Too Close To The Sun. (Vanessa Paradis also appears on the album, singing on the song Interest & Love).  The album is due out in the UK on February 23. Johnny is said to be a longtime fan of Tilbrook and of the band he’s most known for, Squeeze, so this will be a welcome and much-anticipated guest spot!  (Corrections- Tilbrook has now clarified that Johnny’s contribution to the album is a narration for the song Too Close To The Sun, and the new UK release date for the album is March 2, 2009).

It has also been claimed that Johnny will play on a follow-up to the Rogue’s Gallery album that was released in 2006.  The follow-up was mentioned during a BBC report about some live Rogue’s Gallery shows that took place in the summer of 2008; the report claimed that Johnny, Keith Richards, Tom Waits and Shane MacGowan would be involved in the recording.  While I have not yet seen any confirmation of this project, my fingers remain crossed for this great possibility!  A somewhat more iffy but intriguing rumor reported last summer in the German magazine, Bravo, is that Johnny is in talks with Warner Music Group to start his own record label.  So far, this has not been verified by any reliable source, and it may end up being totally bogus, but the notion of Johnny becoming involved in the recording industry seems like a very cool and natural possibility. Perhaps we will hear about one or both of these projects in the coming year!

2009 may also see the general release of two music-themed documentaries relating to Johnny.  The first is Rock And A Hard Place: Another Night At The Agora, which premiered last year and has had several screenings in South Florida.  The official website for the film features a signup page for screening and DVD release information, and it is hoped that there will be more opportunities in 2009 for theatrical screenings and/or a DVD release.   Furthermore, the makers of Do It For Johnny, a film about the quest of the filmmakers to deliver a custom guitar and a script to Johnny, promise that the film will be distributed in the US shortly after the New Year.  Stay tuned on both counts!

Finally, I can’t help but throw in a couple of wild dream projects that I wish for Johnny in 2009 (or anytime!)  The first is for Johnny to play on a new record with Shane MacGowan.  Johnny played on Shane’s 1994 album, The Snake, and in 2004 while Johnny was filming The Libertine, it was widely reported that he would be playing on an upcoming album with Shane, while Shane would play a small role in The Libertine.  Alas, Shane’s turn as a “Bard” was cut from the film, and the album never happened; instead, Shane reunited with The Pogues and has been touring with them off and on ever since.  But in 2005, Shane described jamming with Johnny during this time: “He 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!”  (Forgot to record it??  Atom bomb going off?? D’oh!!)  I don’t know if or when Shane will ever get back to recording this album, but if he does, I hope he remembers to include Johnny!

My other great wish is for Johnny to get to play with his Captain Jack Sparrow inspiration, Keith Richards.  On whether he’s ever played in front of Keith, Johnny once said, “No. I don’t have the kind of hair that would allow me to pick up a guitar and start strumming. I’ve never been that confident — or drunk. I just couldn’t do it. Unless he asked me to. Then maybe.”  The “Then maybe” keeps my hopes up that maybe someday, somehow, probably not for The Stones but maybe on a solo record (or how about the Rogue’s Gallery follow-up??) the opportunity will arise for them to play together.  Who knows?

At any rate, here’s hoping for a wonderful, musical year ahead for Johnny and all his fans!



September 3, 2008

South Florida Rocks!

Well, the Second Annual Sheila Witkin Memorial Reunion Concerts have come and gone. What an amazing weekend in Ft. Lauderdale and Pompano Beach! It was a real privilege to be there, and to share great music and great fun with some old and new friends.

The weekend’s festivities kicked off Friday evening with a screening of Rock And A Hard Place: Another Night At The Agora… or at least our attempt to see the screening. Despite two sets of directions and some well-meaning people on the streets, we drove around in circles for awhile before finally finding the venue 35 min. into the film. Nevertheless, we got to see the last half, and it was great. The film now includes some brand new interview footage of all four Kids together, shown for the very first time on Friday. This adds to all of the existing interviews and archived footage of many of the 70’s and 80’s South Florida musicians, and concert footage from the First Annual Sheila Witkin concert. I hope to get a chance to see the rest of the film sometime soon!

Then, it was on to the show, where after waiting on a fairly disorganized line at Club Cinema (they had the ticketholders and will-call recipients all in the same line), we got into the club in time to see the first band, Blank Tape, in progress. This is a group of young musicians, including the son of Slyder member Billy Livesay, and they delivered a rockin’ set. They were followed by kickass sets from Charlie Pickett, Slyder, and Tight Squeeze, all of whom were returnees from last year’s show. They played mostly originals with just a couple of covers sprinkled in for good measure, with styles ranging from alt-country to power-pop to hard rock. Next up were The Romantics, who were probably the most famous of all the bands to play. At last year’s show, Coz Canler and perhaps other member(s) of The Romantics joined The Kids for some encores, but this time we got to see the entire band, and it was a real treat. The final act was The Kids…. well… I’ll get back to them!

For Saturday’s show, the venue finally learned to separate the will-call and ticketholder lines, and getting in the club seemed to run much more smoothly. The first band of the evening was The Combination, which was a true mishmash of musicians from Tar & The Nicoteens, Screaming Sneakers, and Roll-N-Pinz, and they played a great punky set. Next up was Mad As Birds, featuring members of The Cichlids and The Eat in an intense set. They were followed by one of my new South Florida favorites, Critical Mass, sadly sans their traditional lead singer, Mick Fazz, but still delivering a great, fun power-pop set. The Reactions next played a set of punk-flavored tunes, joined on one song by Screaming Sneakers alum Lisa Nash. Z-Cars showed great harmony and great humor, ending their set with some Pete Townshend-style instrument-bashing. And LA-based My Dolls, featuring Bruce Witkin’s daughter Vee on lead guitar, showed the next generation of talent with some hard-driving rock. And the final act was…

The Kids. The Kids: Joey Malone, Bruce Witkin, Johnny Depp and Beano Hanti, headlined both nights, and their sets were well worth waiting for. It’s easy to focus all the attention on Johnny, but to do so would miss out on the considerable talents of Bruce, Joey and Beano, all of whom still play professionally. While Johnny was certainly my reason for looking into the Kids’ history in the first place, I can honestly say I’ve become a true fan of the whole band, and I’m so glad to have gotten the opportunity to get to know their music. Among the band’s two sets were many of my old favorites (and by “old favorites”, I’m mostly talking about songs that were new to me a year and a half ago at the first Sheila Witkin concert!) such as Babe, Lonely, Time To Explain, Nothing’s For Nothing, The Man That Knows Too Much, and You Only Want To Be With Me. Can’t Believe has quickly become one of my favorites. The Kids also have a great repertoire of covers, such as The Pretenders’ Precious, Elvis Costello’s From A Whisper To A Scream and Mystery Dance, The Clash’s Brand New Cadillac (joined both last year and at Friday’s show by Vee Witkin on lead guitar), and Joe Jackson’s Got The Time. But by all accounts, the absolute highlight of both evenings was their gorgeous yet edgy version of the Phil Spector/Ronettes’ hit single, Be My Baby. The song featured Joey on awesome lead vocals, and beautiful harmonies by Bruce and Johnny. (NOTE TO JOHNNY– after Sweeney Todd, we know you can sing! You should do more of it! 🙂 ) For an encore both nights, the other musicians joined The Kids on stage for the Van Morrison classic Gloria, which had been modified to be about Sheila… S-H-E-I-L-A, Sheila. On Saturday, this was followed by more jamming on Dizzy Miss Lizzy and Long Tall Sally. Despite a pair of very sore feet and practically no sleep all weekend, I had a thoroughly amazing time.

On Friday, there was a silent auction in which many cool items were available for bidding, including signed guitars, football jerseys and footballs. I bid on a Little Steven Underground Garage package, but unfortunately I was outbid. The proceeds went to the Dan Marino foundation.

After Friday’s show, Johnny was kind enough to agree to meet some of his crazy fans, among whom I was lucky enough to be one. The first thing I said to him was that I was sorry we had to put him through all this meet and greet stuff! It must be a strange thing to deal with. But gracious guy that he is, he insisted that he wanted to be there, and incredibly, thanked ME for coming to the show. Well, it was a very tough chore, but somehow I managed to make the sacrifice! A heartfelt thank you to Johnny, Joey, Beano, and especially Bruce, and to all the other musicians, organizers and crew, for helping to make this such a memorable weekend.

The Sheila Witkin Memorial Reunion Concerts were held in memory of a great woman and driving force of the 70’s and 80’s South Florida music scene, and for the benefit of the Sheila Witkin Foundation and the Dan Marino Foundation. Please visit for more information or to make a donation to their cause.


August 28, 2008

Welcome to the blog!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — madscntst @ 7:05 pm

Hi folks, and welcome to the Johnny Depp Rocks! blog. Since my site does not contain a message board, I thought it might be a good idea to have a place to occasionally be able to write more than just the facts. I don’t know how often I’ll have something to say, so entries may be infrequent. But here we go!

Johnny Depp Rocks! has been running for over two years now. Since I don’t have a counter, I am not sure how visible the site is in the vast expanse of cyberspace, but I do occasionally get mail from folks who have made their way here. In a few cases, I’ve had “brushes with greatness.” A representative from Paramount kindly gave me (and other sites, I’m sure) a whole bunch of links to video clips and other great downloads from Sweeney Todd. And once, I was contacted by an editor of a prominent music magazine, who asked me for some information about some of the photos on the site. But most of the time, people who contact me just have great memories of one or more of the bands discussed in these pages. Their stories and feedback are always much appreciated! And to anyone who has sent me photos, memorabilia, or even tidbits such as when or where a show may have occurred, thanks again for your help!! And to anyone who thinks they *may* have an old photo, flyer, newspaper article, etc., stored away somewhere, and you ever find it, please let me know, and many thanks!

In recent days, as we’ve approached the Second Annual Sheila Witkin Memorial Reunion Concerts, I’ve had even more e-mails than usual. Thanks for writing! This is a good time to bring up a couple of points, though. First, if you want to get a response, please make sure you include a working return address without a spamblocker, because there are several people I couldn’t respond to. The other point is that I am in no way affiliated with Johnny, his organization, or any of his bands, and have no way to contact them. Sorry! I’m just a fan, running a site about music!

Tomorrow, I will be heading down to FL for the Sheila Witkin concerts, and I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say about them when I return! While I’m gone, however, I won’t have computer access, so bear with me until I’m able to update the site with recaps! To all who are going, travel safely, enjoy ALL the great bands that will be playing, don’t forget to catch a screening of Rock And A Hard Place, and have a GREAT time!!


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