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5 Famous Actors Who Were in Bands

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30 seconds to mars image
Universal Music

These people may be famous actors, but they also have a love for playing music in bands. Whether that music is good or bad is subjective of course, but here are five famous actors who were in bands.

1. Johnny Depp

He may be most famous for Edward Scissorhands and as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. What might be lesser known is the fact he had a brief stint as the bassist in alternative rock band P. Formed in 1993, they only released one album in late 1995.

The band was fronted by Butthole Surfers singer Gibby Haynes. It also had contributions from Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

The album is one weird mishmash of genres. There’s alt-rock; funk-rock; psychedelic rock and punk rock all rolled into one. It makes for an interesting listen, but not a very coherent one. It’s not surprising that the project was short-lived.

There’s no doubting the musical ability on show, but quality songwriters they are now. Stick to acting, Johnny.

2. Kevin Bacon

Another huge film star, Kevin Bacon has appeared in hundreds of movies; many of them being blockbusters. Footloose and JFK to name a couple. Not to mention Tremors, which is a cult classic. What you may not know is that he is in a band with his film composer brother, Michael.

They haven’t been very imaginative when it came to coming up with the band name as they chose, the Bacon Brothers. But what about the music? It isn’t half bad.

Since their foundation as a band in 1995, they have released ten albums to date. That’s quite an accomplishment. They’ve also played some pretty big shows, including one at Sony Hall in New York back in 2019. Musically, it’s a moulding of folk-rock and country, but it actually works really well. You’ll be surprised at how well Kevin Bacon can sing.

Another string to their bow is the amount of charity work they do through their gigs. That is definitely to be applauded. I would recommend checking out any of their ten albums.

3. Jared Leto

Probably most famous for starting his acting career in the TV teen-drama My so-called Life, Jared Leto is an actor with a host of films under his belt.

He’s starred in American Psycho, Urban Legend, Suicide Squad, Panic Room and Fight Club. If you’re a fan of rock music, you’re probably aware of the band he set up with his brother, Thirty Seconds to Mars.

Although they started making music in 1998, it was only in 2002 when they released their debut album. They achieved huge success with their 2005 release A Beautiful Lie though, which received various awards. One of the singles from the album, The Kill, even managed to break American records for staying in the national chart for fifty weeks.

The music is uplifting anthems that are sure to make you put your fist in the air. Although rare, Jared has shown you can be both a hugely talented actor and musician all in one.

4. Keanu Reeves

Not only is Keanu a fantastic actor, he’s also been in some beloved films. Bill and Ted; The Matrix and John Wick.

But was all the fame, good looks and dazzling film repertoire enough to carry a band? Dogstar was formed in the early 90s.

The story goes that Keanu Reeves met future Dogstar drummer Robert Mailhouse in a supermarket. They formed a friendship over their favourite hockey team. As much as that’s a sweet story to tell the grandkids, the music they created was, well, about as exciting as a Christmas jumper from your gran.

It’s rock music for sure. Think Pearl Jam meets Soundgarden, but without the great songs. Keanu was on bass guitar and backing vocal duties. There’s no doubt he can play and sing, but as far as quality songwriting is concerned, they are sadly lacking.

The band did release two albums and even opened for David Bowie. One of their most notorious performances was at Glastonbury festival in the UK in 1999. They were far higher up the bill than their status demanded, which had already led to resentment.

The lack of quality songs combined with Reeves’ lack of crowd interaction led to him being pelted by fruit for most of the set. Unsurprisingly, the split a couple of years later. Dogstar are the prime example of why Hollywood A-listers shouldn’t start a band.

5. Steven Seagal

The last of our actors to have been in bands is Steven Seagal. There is much to be said about the movies that feature Steven Seagal. Most of it is not that positive. Although, Under Siege was a cracking action film. It was pretty much all downhill after that as most of his films since the late 90s have been straight-to-DVD.

In addition to his questionable acting skills, he’s actually a pretty good singer and guitarist. He’s also released two albums. His debut was 2005’s Songs from the Crystal Cave. With a title like that you would expect some power metal, but it’s actually country-rock with a touch reggae. I know, odd. His follow-up was the equally-awfully titled Mojo Priest.

Both albums were critically panned and commercially unsuccessful, but he did do a couple of tours in support of the albums. What is amazing though, is that one of the collaborators on the album was Stevie Wonder. Wow. So, someone somewhere must have liked it. As with his movies, Seagal takes himself a bit too seriously on the albums.

Unfortunately, the music just isn’t good enough for that level of seriousness. Stick to beating up the bad guys on screen, Mr Seagal, and stay away from the music studio.


That’s five famous actors who were also in bands. Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.


Read about soundtracks better than their movies HERE.

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No Time To Die – Review

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Metro Goldwyn Mayer

No Time To Die is the 25th instalment in the official James Bond series. It’s the VERY long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s Spectre. The 6-year gap between the two films is only matched by the same gap between Timothy Dalton’s last outing in 1989’s Licence To Kill and Pierce Brosnan’s debut in 1995’s Goldeneye. Here’s our review of No Time To Die.

SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the film, but if not there are spoilers ahead.

Of course, there are mitigating factors in that enormous gap. Namely COVID. Which made No Time To Die the first major film to delay its release due to the pandemic. Although, this film has had a difficult gestation irrespective of the global situation in the last 18 months. As soon as Spectre was released the speculation over Daniel Craig’s future in the role began. With him initially suggesting he would rather slash his own wrists than play the iconic spy again. He did a mea culpa on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show in August 2017, where he confirmed he would appear as Bond for a fifth and final time. The original director and writer, Danny Boyle and John Hodge, left the project a year later over creative differences. Cory Joji Fukunaga took over as director. While Bond script veterans Robert Wade and Neil Purvis took charge of the screenplay – with a sprinkling of magic from Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Delays

Originally slated for release in April 2020, at long last, we finally get to see Daniel Craig’s denouement as 007. His portrayal of Bond has been very much in keeping with the character of Ian Fleming’s original novels. His performances have certainly followed the dramatic lineage of Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton. Rather than the lighter portrayals by Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. Yet his Bond has displayed a vulnerability only really demonstrated with any plausibility by George Lazenby in his solitary outing as 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

The deference to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is presented in stark relief throughout this 2h43min epic. Making this the longest Bond film in the series. As this was the first film I’ve seen at the cinema since before the pandemic, I was already excited before I even sat down. As a massive James Bond fan as well, I was close to apoplexy! I felt a tangible shiver go down my spine as the iconic gun barrel sequence appeared before we see James cruising around Italy in the classic DB5 with Madeleine Swann at his side. This anticipation was clearly felt by other cinema-goers. They have made No Time To Die break the UK box office record for the biggest opening weekend. It took almost £26m, breaking the record previously held by Skyfall.

I’m not going to spoil the plot for those who’ve not seen it. I had made a conscious decision to avoid spoilers before I went.

A step up?

This film is another shot in the arm for those who see Craig as the definitive Bond. This was aided by a refocusing of the Bond canon after the main tropes of the series were stretched to breaking point by the invisible cars and melting ice palaces of Die Another Day. And then stretched still further by Madonna’s cameo as a fencing instructor. Daniel Craig was given leeway to truly regenerate James Bond for the 21st Century. The stripped-back nature of Casino Royale, without most of the supporting characters that have been a staple of the series like Q and Moneypenny. Gave him licence (pardon the pun) to explore the deepest and darkest recesses of the Bond psyche. Some well-drawn female leads and villains really allowed Craig’s Bond to spar with them with depth and genuine emotion.

That exploration continues and grows in No Time To Die. We get to see an ageing, truly world-weary Bond, whose past he appears unable to escape. This leaves him in a state of almost constant angst. Paradoxically though, we also see him truly relaxed at times. In a way I can’t recall ever seeing James Bond in any of his previous cinematic outings.

Screen time

The issue with that exploration is that a number of characters then have their screen time cut. Moneypenny is reduced to little more than a cameo. And Remi Malek’s Safin is almost secondary as he features in the opening moments as his story is told, but then disappears for what seemed like an eternity. He of course reappears but he almost seems a mild irritation within the plot and merely a conduit to allow us to see the climax of Daniel Craig’s Bond era. It’s a disappointing underuse of a terrific actor. One with a captivating screen presence, who could have been one of the most menacing Bond villains of all time. That said, the influence of his dastardly but highly sophisticated plan is felt by all of the main protagonists. Christoph Waltz’s Blofeld continues to wreak his havoc with malevolent glee from his cell. He again revels in the chaos of his twisted sibling rivalry with Bond.

Lea Seydoux is wonderful again as Dr Madeleine Swann, picking up where she left off in Spectre and giving Bond as good as he gets in every way imaginable.

There are new characters who definitely cut through. Ana De Armas is utterly charming in her relatively brief time on-screen as Paloma, while Lashana Lynch takes no nonsense from Bond as Nomi. She also gives us a potential indicator as to the future direction of the franchise. Which has been the subject of much discussion in all quarters. That debate has even made its way into the political sphere with even Boris Johnson weighing in on what gender the next actor to play 007 should be.

Score

Hans Zimmer’s score is classic Hans Zimmer, adding power and bombast to the usual mix of stunning scenery and brilliantly choreographed stunts. He brilliantly weaves nods to previous entries in the Bond musical tapestry throughout his score. While his cues are always thunderous, they never overpower the action on screen, but do add a sonic rumble that I don’t think has been heard in a Bond score for quite some time. I found Fukunaga’s direction a bit mixed, with some of the cinematography unnecessarily showy. Some of the tracking shots almost gave me motion sickness while some (admittedly beautifully composed) shots of the scenery seemed to have made the edit purely so as whoever the drone operator was could demonstrate their skills.

Duration

The film is much too long, although at no point did I check my watch. It’s not that any of the plot points are superfluous, more that the pacing is a little slow in places. Some of the dialogue feels cliched and clunky, making what is a great story feel a tad generic. Which doesn’t do anyone justice. However, there were some excellent jokes, and I laughed out loud several times. You don’t have to be a 007 super fan to get some of the self-referential humour that they seem to enjoy sprinkling throughout the film.

Billie Eilish’s theme song is a worthy addition to the collection and certainly sits comfortably within the top half of the ‘Bond Theme Chart’. It’s definitely more memorable and evocative than Sam Smith’s ‘Writing On The Wall’ for Spectre. Her voice trembles at times as you can almost feel she recognises the significance of singing the theme for Daniel Craig’s final appearance in the franchise.

It was also very pleasing to see that this film has moved with the times and reflects the world of 2021 with its portrayal of women. Every single female character had a genuine purpose and important role within the plot. While of course, the female actors playing those roles are all irrefutably glamorous and attractive. There was genuine respect and no objectification of women.

Wrapping up

I came out of the screening with mixed emotions. Glad to be back in the cinema on one hand, sad that Daniel Craig’s stint ordering Martini’s was over on the other. I was pleased that such a good climax had been created to bring this era of Bond to a close, and all its story arcs had been brought to conclusions. I’m also excited and apprehensive in equal measure for the future of such an iconic film series. But I was disappointed with some of the characters not getting the necessary screen-time to truly develop their characters. Surprisingly, I was almost tearful at the final few moments, especially as the credits rolled.

Overall, this is a loving homage to the James Bond series, past and present. It’s a solid if unspectacular film in its own right, but the performances of Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux, as well as the Bond history it wraps itself in, elevate it beyond that.

It’s not Craig’s best Bond film, as Skyfall is almost untouchable in my opinion, but it does bring closure to his tenure in the tuxedo in a manner that should please Bond fans across the board. It also tantalises us as to what the 6th age of Bond will look like. Let the intense speculation begin!


CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 7/10


Thank you for reading our review of James Bond No Time To Die. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.


Check out who we think could be the next James Bond and why HERE.

Read IMDB information about No Time To Die HERE.

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