Dennis Dunaway's Bass on John Lennon's Rock 'N' Roll

In 1975, recording sessions had an unspoken rule that you refrained from asking other artists for photos or autographs. You might strike up a conversation around the coffee pot in the hall but generally you gave people space to think about their recording.

Recording at the Record Plant in 1975

Recording at the Record Plant in 1975

Jack Douglas was the producer of Neal Smith’s Platinum God album. I had agreed to play bass and Neal had a hot rod guitar player from Rochester, New York named Mike Marconi on board.

We were laying down tracks in Studio B at the Record Plant when the telephone rang. It was John trying to find a line out. I told him to dial 9. The phone rang again. It was John. "Dial 9 for the line out," I said. The third time he called, I said, "Number 9… number 9… number 9…" He didn’t call again.

Then someone came in from Studio A and said that John Lennon’s bass player didn’t show and he asked if I was up for it. I said I was committed to playing on Neal’s session but they were welcome to borrow one of my basses if that would help.

Dennis Dunaway and his 1970 Fender Jazz bass that John Lennon used on Rock 'N' Roll.

Dennis Dunaway and his 1970 Fender Jazz bass that John Lennon used on Rock 'N' Roll.

They borrowed one of my 1970 Fender Jazz basses. It was white at that time but was painted fluorescent green for the Battle Axe show - not to be confused with the Gibson GB-O Frog bass.

The next day, they returned my bass and that’s the last I heard about it until decades later when I read an interview by Rockin’ Reggie Vinson who said he had played bass on John’s Rock 'N' Roll album at the Record Plant.

So several times over the years, I had asked Rockin’ about the sessions. I wanted to know what songs he used my bass on but he could only remember two or three songs for sure.

Cindy Dunaway, May Pang, and Dennis Dunaway, 2014

Cindy Dunaway, May Pang, and Dennis Dunaway, 2014

In recent years, Cindy and I have become friends with May Pang. Even though I had avoided asking her any questions about John, one night, in a quiet room at a loud party, May started talking about John. I asked her about the Record Plant and told her my John story. Yes, she said she was at the session and said she could tell me what songs my bass is on. She grabbed her phone, Googled the album cover, and showed it to me. She said, “Any songs that credit Phil Spector as producer were recorded on the west coast. The songs crediting John as producer are the songs with your bass.”

When I spoke with Rockin' Reggie Vinson recently, he confirmed that he played my bass on that album for several songs including "Be-Bop-A-Lula," "Stand By Me," "Peggy Sue," and "Bring It On Home To Me/Send Me Some Lovin’."

Mystery solved 40 years after the sessions.


Rock 'N' Roll
By John Lennon






Schlangen, Guillotinen und ein elektrischer Stuhl: Meine Abenteuer mit der Alice Cooper Group

Deutschsprachige Rock-Fans ... Meine Autobiographie wurde ins Deutsche übersetzt! Sie können es bei Amazon und anderen Buchhandlungen kaufen. Ich freue mich, meine Geschichte mit Ihnen zu teilen. -DD

"Das Buch wird so zu einem wilden Trip durch die Musikgeschichte – geschrieben von einem Jugendfreund des Meisters, der ihm bis ins hohe Alter verbunden bleibt ... Während Golf Monster den geläuterten Alice fern von allen Exzessen zeigt, geht es hier um die wilden Zeiten." -Music Headquarter

"Besonders hart geht Dunaway mit dem Sänger im Buch jedoch nicht ins Gericht. Statt Zorn spürt man bei der Lektüre die Freude, mit der sich der Bassist an jene Zeiten erinnert, als Salvador Dali der Alice Cooper Group seine Aufwartung machte und Groupies die Hotelzimmer belagerten. Und wer genau wissen will, was damals mit einem ins Publikum geworfenen lebenden Huhn wirklich passierte, sollte zu dieser Lektüre greifen." -Adiweiss

"Dunaway verzichtet in seinem Buch auf sensationslüsterne Anekdoten und geht auch mit seinem Jugendfreund Vincent Furnier nicht allzu hart ins Gericht (Alice Cooper bezeichnet Dennis Dunaway heute als einen seiner besten Freunde), trotzdem oder vielleicht gerade deswegen ist das Werk überaus lesenswert nicht nur für Cooper-Fans. Denn der Leser bekommt neben dem Geschichtsunterricht über einen der erfolgreichsten Acts der Rockgeschichte einen unterhaltsamen und realistischen Einblick in die Zeit, als der Rock das Laufen lernte, mit allen Licht- und Schattenseiten. Sehr zu empfehlen." -Tracks Magazin

Chatting with Rockin' Reggie Vinson About Alice Cooper

I sat down with Rockin' Reggie Vinson and reminisced about old days. He spoke about working on songs with John Lennon and Alice Cooper, hanging out with the band, and our dear friend Glen Buxton. 


Reggie has written and recorded 16 Gospel albums and six pop albums and has performed in Africa, England, Jerusalem, Canada, and throughout America with 19 awards including 10 Gold and Platinum records. Reggie was a session guitarist and background vocalist on four Alice Cooper albums: Killer, School’s Out, Billion Dollar Babies (of which Reggie co-wrote the title cut), and Muscle of Love. Check out his newest album at

Alice Cooper Reunion Releases Single on Black Friday

The original Alice Cooper band reunited last year to perform "I'm Eighteen" and "Is It My Body." A limited edition, vinyl single of that moment will be available in a few weeks on Black Friday at select record stores! Alice Cooper joined bassist Dennis Dunaway, guitarist Michael Bruce, and drummer Neal Smith at Dallas music store Good Records, where the bassist was promoting his Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! memoir. 

You can watch the video and the full story on the Rolling Stone website. 

Watch Online: Dennis Dunaway on One-On-One (PBS, NJTV)

One-on-One with Steve Adubato discusses compelling, real life stories and features political leaders, CEOs, television personalities, professors, artists and educational innovators who each share their experiences and accomplishments.

In this episode, iconic interviewer James Lipton talks about the longest running Bravo TV show, Inside the Actors Studio, some of his favorite guests to date, including actor Bradley Cooper; Dennis Dunaway talks about his book Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! My Adventures in the Alice Cooper Group and what life was like in the “shock rock” group.

You can watch the full episode for free at It originally aired on 7/2/2016 on PBS and New Jersey Public Television.

Listen on Demand: Dennis Dunaway on The Jail Cell Rock and Blues Show

The “Jail Cell” rock and blues show has been presented by The Sheriff since Scotland 69am launched its 24/7 service in August 2013. An accomplished rock and blues guitarist in his own right, The Sheriff brings his encyclopedic knowledge and love of this music genre to our global audience every Friday and Saturday night. The Sheriff consistently ranks among the most popular shows on Scotland 69am’s weekly line up of music.

I am delighted to say that I will be joined by Dennis Dunaway, original member of the Alice Cooper band. We will chatting about his autobiography "Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs! My Adventures in the Alice Cooper Group" and spinning some cool tracks from the legendary band, and also a few cuts from his current band Blue Coupe. Dont miss it!!!!  -The Sheriff

Originally aired on Friday 23 September 2016

Behind the Scenes: HBO's VINYL Episode 3 Features Alice Cooper Storyline and Blue Coupe Song

VINYL! What an exciting project to be involved in! The HBO show which is a Scorsese (partnered along with Rich Cohen, Terence Winter, and Mick Jagger) airs on Sundays, and Episode 3 ("Whispered Secrets") featured the Alice Cooper Band in its storyline and a new recording of Alice Cooper song "I Love the Dead" on the soundtrack, featuring Andrew MK, Blue Coupe, and James Mastro. My involvement began when Blue Coupe played the This Land Is Our Land Festival at Lincoln Center... 

Read More