Why John Lennon Didn’t Play Softball with a Monkee and Alice Cooper

Micky Dolenz of The Monkees, John Lennon and Alice Cooper are very different artists, however, they were part of the same social circle. Interestingly, their social circle helped lots of people. Here’s a look at why John refused to play softball with some of his fellow rock stars — and that softball team’s unusual, Johnny Depp-related legacy.

John Lennon with a guitar
John Lennon | Max Scheler – K & K/Redferns

What it was like when The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz, John Lennon, Alice Cooper, Albert Brooks and Harry Nilsson were buddies

The Beatles were the blueprint for The Monkees. However, John still took some influence from Dolenz. In fact, it was Dolenz who started a club called The Hollywood Vampires which evolved from a softball team of sorts into a group of drinking buddies.

“I started the Hollywood Vampires with Alice Cooper,” Dolenz told Goldmine Magazine. “[Harry] Nilsson and Lennon joined shortly thereafter. Alice had this idea of starting a softball team to play on weekends for charity. We played some serious softball locally against the fire department, the police department, various boys’ clubs and record labels. It turned into an informal softball league that raised a little money.”

Alice Cooper wearing blue
Alice Cooper | Michael Putland/Getty Images

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Another major celebrity joined the group. “Actor Albert Brooks was on that team as well as Harry Nilsson,” Dolenz said. “John Lennon didn’t play. As a Brit, he didn’t know how to play softball. But he came to the games. Alice’s manager, Shep Gordon, took pictures. Later, Alice became one of my dearest friends. In fact, he wound up moving next door to me just so we could hang out. Alice Cooper used to babysit my daughter! I got a photo of them together. They’re poolside. She calls him Uncle Alice to this day.”

How The Hollywood Vampires evolved

Eventually, The Hollywood Vampires evolved from a softball team to a drinking club. Dolenz said the The Hollywood Vampires’ time at the club overshadowed their softball origins. Regardless, The Hollywood Vampires have to be the most collectively famous softball team of all time.

The new Hollywood Vampires with Johnny Depp

The Hollywood Vampires had a legacy that extended into the 2010s — in a way. Cooper started a band with the same name with Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, and Joe Perry. Loudwire reports the band took their name from the earlier group of famous friends. So far, they’ve released two albums: a self-titled album and a second album called Rise. Much of their output is covers, including renditions of classic rock songs The Who’s “My Generation” and Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” Listening to their work is like living in an alternate universe where Depp is a classic rock star.

“My Generation”

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The Hollywood Vampires’ self-titled album reached No. 43 on the Billboard 200 while Rise reached No. 184 on the same chart. They’re certainly doing well for a band started by a pair of rock stars who peaked commercially decades ago (Cooper and Perry) and an actor whose not known for singing (Depp). We might not have the current Hollywood Vampires if not for the aforementioned softball team turned drinking club.