Unfortunately, the Hollywood Vampires got raked over the coals on social media for its live TV debut, thanks to an indecipherable performance that included lots of fire, a riding crop and a blood-spattered shirt worn by Cooper. The group paid tribute to the late Lemmy, frontman of the band Motörhead, with "Ace of Spades," and also played an original song called "As Bad As I Am." Some appeared genuinely horrified to see Depp — once known as one of the effortlessly cool actors of Hollywood — vamping on stage with his band, mid-life crisis-style. People on Twitter were not kind:
Remember when we all respected and admired johnny depp?— ASTRONAUTALIS! (@astronautalis) February 16, 2016
Johnny Depp takes on more ill-advised projects than a dad at Home Depot with something to prove.— Ryan Nanni (@celebrityhottub) February 16, 2016
But rock-and-roll music has always been Depp's passion, and perhaps a motivation in opening the Viper Room in Los Angeles back in the early '90s. Still, Depp says he never wanted to start a band just to capitalize on his celebrity status. "I hate the idea, 'Come see me play the guitar because you've seen me in 12 movies,' " he told the Guardian. "It shouldn't be [that way]. You want the people who are listening to the music to only be interested in the music."
So Depp channeled his guitar skills into playing with other well-known musicians. In 1993, Depp joined Butthole Surfers' lead singer for a rock band called P, and released one album. He's also joined a lot of famous friends on stage to play guitar over the years, including Keith Richards, Marilyn Manson and ZZ Top.
And long ago, Depp had designs on the rock-and-roll lifestyle while growing up in south Florida: According to the Sun-Sentinel, he had a band called the Kids and eventually dropped out of high school, moving to Los Angeles to try to make it in the music scene.
At this point, Depp is rich and famous with enough royalties from "Pirates of the Caribbean" to do whatever he wants — who cares if the viewing audience wasn't impressed?
"Basically, I'm representing the very lucky. I'm the guy who somehow ended up playing in a band and having the opportunity to write songs with Joe Perry and Alice Cooper," Depp said to People magazine before his Grammys performance. "I'm just going to be the guy up there who's very lucky to be up there."