Few artists are as synonymous with Berlin as David Bowie. It was in the crumbing divided city where he and his pal Iggy Pop absconded to clean themselves up and in the process, they reached artistic zeniths the likes of which the world has rarely seen.
As guitarist Carlos Alomar recalls: “David went to Berlin with Iggy for isolation. It was to humanise his condition, to say, ‘I’d like to forget my world, go to a café, have a coffee and read the newspaper.’ They couldn’t do that in America. Sometimes you just need to be by yourself with your problems. Sometimes you just wanna shut up.”
For a while, he did that and little else, reading his Viz mags and eating cheap sausages by day and then failing to stay clean and succumbing to the wicked lure of his cocaine addiction at night. Thereafter Bowie and Iggy would speed around the deserted city in his car and spawn ideas for songs like the masterful Iggy Pop epic ‘The Passenger’.
Thus, by October 1976, Hansa Studios loomed large for the daring creative and Bowie set about the first of his ground-breaking Berlin trilogy. Thereafter he would craft Low (1977), Heroes (1977) and Lodger (1979). It was an epic run that went down in history, especially considering the cultural influence of the titular anthem on Heroes.
Thus, if you ever have the privilege to perform in Hansa Studios, you owe to yourself and the walls of the fabled building to grace the air with a rendition of ‘Heroes’ once more, no matter how humble it may be. That is exactly what the legendary actor Johnny Deep clutched at when he got his chance and entered the musical auditorium that time almost forgot.
Johnny Depp is an actor well and truly entwined with the rock ‘n’ roll spiel, and that goes way beyond merely robbing Keith Richards’ spiel for a certain pirate who was almost caught on many occasions. When he’s not on screen, in court, or smuggling his pets around the globe, he is often on stage. The Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas star has played guitar with the likes of Harry Dean Stanton, featured on a Bob Dylan bootlegs album and rocked out with his band the Hollywood Vampires.
On this occasion, the Hollywood Vampires consisted of Johnny Depp, Alice Cooper and Joe Perry from Aerosmith. Together with a group of esteemed session musicians they remained faithful to the original with a few glam-rock flourishes for a fitting tribute to the late ‘starman’. The song features on their 2019 album Rise, but you can catch the rousing live version that brings the euphoria of the track to the fore below.