Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Grammys Get It Right With Hollywood Vampires Tribute to Lemmy

I must be in Bizarro World. First the Rock Hall actually chooses inductees that I like (mostly) for 2016. Now, the Grammys had the Hollywood Vampires perform. In case you missed it, the Hollywood Vampires are Alice Cooper, Joe Perry, Johnny Depp, Duff McKagen and Matt Sorum.

When I first heard it, I didn’t believe it. I thought maybe they meant they were playing the ceremony where they give out the awards that they don’t show on TV. I was beyond excited when I found out it was the actual awards. Not only that, they were going to be honoring Lemmy by playing Ace of Spades. Not only that, they were also playing one of their own songs, the new As Bad As I Am!

Why is this a big deal in the world of the Grammys? Well, it’s no secret that the Grammy committee is more than a little clueless when it comes to hard rock and heavy metal. The obvious joke is Jethro Tull winning the metal Grammy over Metallica in 1988. It hasn’t gotten any better with time. The hard rock and metal nominees follow no rhyme or reason as bands are nominated (and win in some cases) for live versions of older songs (Judas Priest) and cover songs from other artists (Motorhead covering Metallica). Just last year, they awarded the hard rock/heavy metal Grammy to Tenacious D for a COMEDY album!

Even giving Lemmy a tribute at all is a step in the right direction. Acknowledging his influence on rock music shows that somebody is paying attention and/or listening to the right people. Does it make sense for Hollywood Vampires to perform the tribute? In my opinion, yes. While I’m sure Johnny Depp being involved was very attractive to the Grammys, the point of the Hollywood Vampires is to honor the artists that Alice Cooper used to drink with (heavily) and have passed away. Cooper himself said Lemmy is now part of that group.

How about the performance itself? First, just awesome to have Dave Grohl introduce the band and explain the influence Lemmy had on him and so many rockers. I’m sure it was lost on most of the audience, but a nice touch. I was hoping Grohl would have played at least during Ace of Spades (he even appears on the Hollywood Vampires CD), but no such luck there. Honestly, it didn’t matter. Alice, Joe, Johnny, Duff and Matt tore the roof off. It was loud, heavy, fiery and so good. Just like Lemmy would have wanted.

Some might complain that As Bad As I Am wasn’t a great song or that their version of Ace of Spades wasn’t as good as other recent tributes. I won’t argue with that as both were good, not great. But, the way they took the stage with their attitude and intensity was exciting in a way that I’m not sure the Grammys has ever seen.

In an interview before the Grammys, they were asked about a new band playing a new song at the Grammys. Cooper and Perry both explained (I’m heavily paraphrasing) that you don’t hit the stage asking the audience if they like it. You make the audience yours. They absolutely did that last night and it rocked!

What did you think of their performance? Did it fit in with the Grammys? Did it need to? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading and please share it with your friends.

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