Johnny Depp Joins Willie Nelson on Guitar in Austin
This week in Austin, TX is one of the greatest confluences of talent that occurs annually, as stars of music and film converge on the Texas state capitol for festivities surrounding SXSW, or South by Southwest. Some people forget though that early March is also the time for Austin’s famous rodeo that features many big names in country music stopping in for performances, including Willie Nelson that graced the Austin rodeo stage Sunday night, and had a surprise band member with him incognito.
Actor, music lover, and armchair musician Johnny Depp, sporting a vest, round shades, a ripped canvas wide-brimmed hat, and his Danelectro guitar, sat in with Willie’s family band for the set Sunday night. He was simply introduced as “John,” and traded licks with Willie Nelson’s son Lukas Nelson who was also sitting in with the band. Johnny played songs like “Good Hearted Woman” and “On The Road Again,” with most of the crowd unbeknownst who that was on the right of the stage.
As a guitar player, Johnny Depp is no slouch. He’s buddies with The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan and appears on the singer’s first solo record. Depp also appears on numerous songs from Oasis, and was a member of the band ‘P’ that featured members of The Butthole Surfers, The Sex Pistols, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. He’s also appeared many times in movies and video playing guitar, contributed to many other songs and albums, and used to own The Viper Room music venue in L.A where Johnny Cash kicked off his American Recordings era.
March 10, 2014 @ 3:47 pm
That’s pretty cool. I know Johnny Depp covered Django’s minor swing which I love to play as well. I think Willie has even been on record saying something to the effect that Django was the best country western guitarist ever (even though he was a gypsy living in France!).
March 10, 2014 @ 4:36 pm
Yes, Willie says the sound of his famous guitar “Trigger” is inspired by Django, and I think he’s recorded Django’s song “Nuages” more, or just as much as any other. It was recently on his album “Let’s Face The Music and Dance.”
March 10, 2014 @ 8:44 pm
I saw this interview of Willie Nelson (or something) in the last year or two where he was talking about Django Reinhardt and also about Trigger. The story I never knew was he asked his daughter to hide Trigger from the IRS (take it and go). I believe he said they were on their way to take everything he had in a Hawaii home of his. But he did say he told his daughter that if they took Trigger he would quit. That’s just hard to even imagine the last 25 years without Willie Nelson, and really hard to believe he really would have quit, or quit for long.
March 10, 2014 @ 6:07 pm
Willie Nelson jamming with Johnny Depp at a giant rodeo. Only in America!
There are a lot of musicians on that stage. I recognize Bobbie Nelson, Mickey Raphael, and Paul English, although Paul doesn’t seem to have a full drum kit. Has his drumming been reduced due to health problems?
March 10, 2014 @ 6:42 pm
Paul English has been only playing the snare drum for a while. Not sure if that was by directive of Willie, or if that’s because of his health issues. He suffered a stroke a while back, and on some of the songs he swaps out drum responsibilities with what I believe now is his son. Paul had a stroke a while back, and was also slightly injured in the bus accident that happened late last year. He’s also Willie’s long-time manager, though I’m not exactly sure where his responsibilities lie these days.
March 10, 2014 @ 6:56 pm
Thanks for the info.
March 11, 2014 @ 10:53 am
I like Johnny Depp.
I’ll bet that he felt humbled to be jamming on the same stage as Willie.
March 11, 2014 @ 11:14 am
Same here — he’s probably my favorite actor (indeed, ‘Ed Wood’ is my favorite film, largely because of his performance), but I think it’s so cool that he does stuff like this. 🙂