As you have probably heard, Dennis Hopper passed away over the weekend at age 74. Hopper had a long and distinguished career in film – I’ll always remember him as the sometimes drunk, sometimes assistant coach Shooter in Hoosiers. But today, we’re going to look at a contribution that he made to the world of music.
Gorillaz [m] [w] is a project contrived by Damon Albarn (of Blur fame) and cartoonist Jamie Hewlett (Tank Girl). The face of Gorillaz is a band of four animated, “virtual” members: 2D (lead vocalist, keyboard), Murdoc Niccals (bass guitar), Noodle (guitar and occasional vocals) and Russel Hobbs (drums and percussion). This at times conceals the long list of collaborators and guest appearances that the band has. Among those who have performed with Gorillaz are Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon (of The Clash), De La Soul, Miho Hatori, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Neneh Cherry and… Dennis Hopper.
Hopper’s contribution came on a track from Gorillaz’ excellent 2005 album, Demon Days (certified double platinum in the US and quintuple platinum in the UK). “Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey’s Head” features Hopper narrating the story of a town full of natives. some strange people from faraway lands and the nearby mountain. Standing on its own, the track is nice enough, although it really works better in conjunction with the album tracks surrounding it, particularly the two tracks that follow to end the album. Hopper’s contribution, however, is pitch perfect… I would be hard-pressed to think of someone more appropriate to voice his part.
Go check out “Fire Coming Out Of The Monkey’s Head” and appreciate Dennis Hopper’s contribution to a fantastic album from Gorillaz. Enjoy!