Johnny Depp Performs With Guitar Legend In U.K. Gig As He Awaits Defamation Verdict

Johnny Depp waited for a verdict in his defamation trial against Amber Heard by jamming with guitar legend Jeff Beck in Sheffield
(Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

Actor Johnny Depp jammed with guitar legend Jeff Beck in a U.K. gig over the weekend while he continued to await a verdict in his defamation suit against ex-wife Amber Heard.

The “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor took the stage at Sheffield City Hall Sunday night with Beck to perform several songs, including Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On” and John Lennon’s “Isolation,” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.” The pair recently released a single of their version of the former Beatle’s song. Playing a white Fender Telecaster, Depp, who previously fronted his own band, sang the classic covers.

Beck and Depp recently released their version of “Isolation” as a single.

“The musical soulmates have been working behind-the-scenes for the past few several years on new music,” Beck’s website states.

Depp sued Heard in 2019 for $50 million in defamation damages after she published a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post, claiming she had been the victim of domestic violence. Although she did not name Depp in the op-ed, Depp’s lawyers say it was clear that she was referring to him. Last year, Heard countersued the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star for $100 million.

On Friday, Judge Penney Azcarate gave the jury instructions and it began deliberations.

While Americans following the trial on TV and online have picked sides, the jury must focus not only on whether Depp abused Heard, but also on whether Heard’s op-ed can be considered legally defamatory.

The article, which court testimony revealed was written at least in part by the ACLU, focuses mostly on policy questions of domestic violence, but Depp’s lawyer claims it was clearly aimed at his client.

Depp for years played with the all-star band, “The Hollywood Vampires.” The lead guitarist in that group is Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, and rock legend Alice Cooper sings. Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum of Guns N’ Roses fame have also toured as part of the band.

According to Blue Oyster Cult frontman Eric Bloom, who recalled performing in gig with the Vampires in an interview with Metalhead Zone, Depp is a pretty fair ax man.

“And I did that gig with them last year – actually, late 2018, on Christmas – with Alice, and yeah, it’s surprising, I had no idea that he’s a pretty good guitar player,” Bloom said.

Depp has said he based his Jack Sparrow character in “Pirates of the Caribbean” on Rolling Stones legend Keith Richards.

Depp’s guitar playing came was briefly a focus of the trial when he testified that a 2015 finger injury he blamed on Heard could not have been self-inflicted. Depp claimed he lost the tip of his right middle a finger when his then-wife threw a broken vodka bottle at him, and her attorneys claimed he did it to himself when he slammed a phone against a wall.

Depp said cutting off his own finger was unthinkable, because guitar playing was “the only thing that was really good in my life, aside from my children.” He said it happened right as he was set to begin playing live with The Hollywood Vampires.

“There’s no way I would cut my own finger off to ruin this beautiful opportunity to start playing guitar,” he said.

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