Ryan Adams played the first show of his tour last night, September 18th. The UK series kicked off at Sheperd’s Bush Empire in London with a full crowd (2,000 fans) and a lot of Adams’ hits. He opened with “Gimme Something Good” and continued with favorites like “Dirty Rain,” “Easy Plateau,” “Trouble,” and “I Just Might.” The audience was a mess of enthusiasm, to the point that Adams joked, “Sometimes when I’m here, I feel like you guys are the show, and I’m the audience.” But the arguably pinnacle moment arrived when Ryan was joined by friend and fellow musician Johnny Depp for a cover of Danzig’s “Mother.”
Wearing his trademark broad-brimmed hat, Depp was met with waves of applause from fans who recognized him. After “Mother,” he featured on Adams’ new song “Kim” from the recent album. The slower tune was made even weepier with Depp’s bluesy guitar lead, and the audience clapped along for most of it (watch it here).
When you hear “Johnny Depp,” odds are you don’t immediately associate him with his work as a musician. As an actor, he’s appeared in a flood of Tim Burton films and in those Pirates of the Caribbean movies from the early 2000’s (and he might do more). Still, his many onstage guitar-jamming appearances over the years have marked the star as a musician – he’s too good for us to call this a hobby.
In the 90’s, Depp was part of the band “P” for four years, a group comprised of members of now-bands Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Sex Pistols. After the band dissolved, Depp continued in film but took his musical prowess with him in unique ways. He appeared in a number of music videos over the years, played guitar in 2000’s Chocolat, wrote part of the soundtrack for Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and sang his way through the title role in gruesome musical Sweeney Todd in 2007.
In the last few years, Johnny and his guitar appeared onstage with Alice Cooper, Willie Nelson, and the Black Keys (for a fantastic version of “Gold On the Ceiling”). This summer has been particularly eventful: in June, he came onstage with Aerosmith to perform a cover of “Train Kept-a-Rollin’.” In August, Depp made headlines when he played “Kansas City” as a fill-in for Elvis Costello (who was detained by a gig) during recording sessions for Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes. The project was an album of previously missing Bob Dylan lyrics that various musicians (like Jim James and Marcus Mumford) set to music. And this summer, Depp found himself in his third jam session with Paul McCartney in the music video for “Early Days” (he previously featured in “My Valentine” and “Queenie Eye,” both within the last two years). At this point, Depp’s next musical project – whoever it’s with – can’t come as much of a surprise. He covered Bob Dylan and played with Paul McCartney; he hopefully won’t stop now.