JOE PERRY & FRIENDS ROXY THEATER
1-16-2018 BY WILLIAM DERHAM
For fans of guitar driven hard rock Joe Perry’s record release party for his new offering “Sweetzerland Manifesto”, was the hottest ticket in town. The star studded affair featured several familiar faces who laid down their vocal chops on the 10 track collaboration.
Extreme vocalist, Gary Cherone kicked things off with a frenetic version of “Let The Music Do The Talking”, the title track from Perry’s 1980 solo album and 2 selections (“Toys In The Attic” and “Pandora’s Box”) from what Perry quipped “…that other band…”. Then Joe leaned into the mic: “Were not going to be playing anymore of that shit for a while” launching into “Manifesto” in it’s entirety.
Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander, The New York Dolls’ David Johansen, U.K. vocal vet Terry Reid, and The Black Crows’s Chris Robinson took turns at the mic in front of dynamic drummer David Goodstein. (It’s notable that Terry Reid was considered for the lead singer spot in pre Robert Plant Zeppelin).
Fellow royal rockers Gene Simmons of Kiss, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Gunners Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum were spotted in the audience to catch Perry tear it up.
Dean and Rob DeLeo from Stone Temple Pilots provided solid rhythm and bass guitar throughout the evening. Fellow Hollywood Vampire, Johnny Depp prowled the stage contributing his alchemy and guitar fills with enthusiastic swagger. He also tackled vocals for a cover of Barry’ McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction” from 1965.“Manifesto” was recorded at Depp’s home studio, he also served as executive producer.
Perry explains, ”It’s like an enclave (Depp’s studio) that doesn’t have anything to do with the rest of the world, it’s like an artists’ refuge – he’s got writers up there, painters. There are comedians that come up. Oddly enough, not a lot of actors, other than Johnny. It’s a place where creativity is probably the most important thing. It’s a state of mind almost.”
They tore into the new material with fervor as crooner Terry Reid began with the album’s “I’ll Do Happiness,” a smoldering, bluesy gem. Reid handled 2 more cookers “Won’t Let Me Go” and “Sick & Tired” before handing the reins over to Chris Robinson.
Seems Robinson did such a good job on track “Fortunate One” that Perry wanted to play it again… and so they did, not a reprise but the entire song! Robinson came the to album project late, after the CD was already mastered, so his song will be a bonus track exclusive to the deluxe vinyl version of “Manifesto”.
David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter) brought his gravely baritone front and center on “I Wanna Roll,” and blew some mean harp on “I’m Going Crazy.” He also gets the award for quip of the night stating that he knew Perry as a small child: “He said to his mother, ‘Mommy, when I grow up, I’m going to be a musician.’ His mother said, ‘You better make up your mind Joey, because you can’t do both.’” Hilarious!
Perry then set his Stratocaster on full stun for 1 of only 2 instrumentals of the night, “Spanish Sushi” playing his guitar slightly bent over wringing the neck of the Strat in his inimitable style with blazing proficiency.
Cheap Trickster, Robin Zander was up next delivering his signature vocals on two songs, including the vinyl-only “Countryside Boulevard” and “Aye, Aye, Aye”.
All hands were on deck for a cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together” as the night of memorable music continued. The show reached a fever pitch with the introduction of Slash (Guns N Roses) as they broke into a scorching version of “Train Kept A Rollin’” that crescendoed in a showy, Pete Townsend style axe swingin’ smash-up. Perry stated, “Everything was screaming; the amps were going. I didn’t know what else to do. All of a sudden my guitar was in pieces.”
Perry hopes to perform more one-off solo gigs with his “Manifesto”” players. “Who knows if we’ll ever get that lineup again? I hope we do,” says Perry. “I just hope everybody had as much fun as I d