Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Johnny Depp . . . on music . . . and thanks a million

Not too long ago, I wrote an entry about Johnny Depp's musical roots prior to becoming an actor.

He actually went to Hollywood to be a rock star with no aspirations to be one of the greatest actors of our time.


Johnny Depp made Bill O'Reilly of the Fox Network's Pinhead or Patroit segment . . . of course as a patroit . . . here is an article on the reason why Bill deemed him worthy of "patriot status" . . .

January 26, 2008 . . . ACTOR Johnny Depp secretly visited London's Great Ormond St Hospital yesterday to donate a million pounds to thank staff for saving his daughter's life.

Depp arrived unexpectedly at the renowned children's hospital where eight-year-old Lily-Rose was treated last year when her kidneys failed.

Last week he invited five Great Ormond St doctors and nurses to the party for the London premiere of his film Sweeney Todd.

And unknown to the public, Depp spent four hours at the hospital telling bedtime stories to patients dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates Of The Caribbean.

Last March, Lily-Rose spent nine days at Great Ormond St when E.coli poisoning led to the failure of her kidneys.


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Rolling Stone recently did an interview with Johnny and hit on his love of music . . . here are some of the excerpts:



Was your family musical at all?


My mom and my dad weren't particularly musical, no. But I did have an uncle who was a preacher, and he played hillbilly bluegrass guitar. So Sunday church services, it was like, "Hallelujah, brothers and sisters," and then he would start picking "Stepping on the Clouds." That was where I got the bug: watching my uncle play the guitar with his little gospel group, right in front of me.


What was the first record you bought?


I don't know if I bought it, but the first record I remember listening to nonstop, oddly, was Dean Martin, Everybody Loves Somebody. And then Boots Randolph. And then the record album of Blackbeard's Ghost, with Peter Ustinov. I'd never seen the film — I didn't see it until I was in my late thirties. But I knew it verbatim. Slightly ironic. And then I turned that corner into preteen and I remember listening to Frampton Comes Alive! too much. My brother's ten years older than me. He grabbed the needle off the album and there was this horrific noise — wrrrraarrrar. He said, "Listen, man, you're killing me. Try this." And he put on Van Morrison's Astral Weeks. And it stirred me. I'd never heard anything like it. I said, "OK, maybe Frampton Comes Alive! is a little tired." Then my brother, very pleased with himself, started turning me on to other things, like the soundtrack to Last Tango in Paris.


How did listening to music become making music?


When I was twelve, I talked my mom into picking up a Decca electric guitar for me for twenty-five dollars. It had a little blue plush amp. And then, this is horrible, the first thing I did was steal a Mel Bay chord book. I went to this store, stuffed it down my pants and walked out. It had pictures — that's why I needed it so badly, because it was immediate gratification. If I could match those photographs, then I was golden. I conquered it in days. I locked the bedroom door, didn't leave, and taught myself how to play chords. I started learning songs by ear.


What was the first song you could play through?


Every kid with a guitar at that time, the first things that came up were almost always "Smoke on the Water," obviously, and "25 or 6 to 4," by Chicago. But the first song I played all the way through must have been "Stairway to Heaven." I remember getting through the fingerpicking and just cursing Jimmy Page.


What was your first band?


When I was about thirteen, I got together with some other kids in the neighborhood. This one guy had a bass, we knew a guy who had a PA system, we made our own lights. It was really ramshackle and great. We'd play at people's backyard parties. Everything from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin to Cheap Trick to Devo — and "Johnny B. Goode" was the closer.


Click here to read more excerpts from the article. While you are there, check out the gallery of Johnny Depp on the cover of the Rolling Stone.



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