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5 Famous Actors Who Were in Bands

Aaron Phillips



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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Movie News

The 9 Greatest Spoof Movies Ever

Aaron Phillips



This is Spinal Tap image
Embassy Pictures

There have been so many great spoof movies over the past four decades. So, sit back and buckle up as we countdown the nine greatest spoof movies of all time. And “don’t call me Shirley”.

9. Team America: World Police

Ok, so it’s all-puppet action as opposed to real-life actors, but it’s still up there. Written by the guys behind South Park, it parodies an American counter-terrorism force as they take on global terrorists. As you would expect, there are some cracking scenes throughout the movie. Kim Jong-il singing about being “so roney, so roney” is a highlight that isn’t easily forgotten. You also have to feel sorry for poor old Matt Damon. Although he’s had a glittering film career it’s still hard not to say “Matt Damon” in that monotone way every time you see him on screen. According to writers Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Damon’s puppet looked so vacant that they decided to make his character only able to say his name. Poor Matt. Add in some fantastic one-liners, over-the-top violence and sex scenes with puppets, you have a great film that will make you laugh, and cringe.

8. Blazing Saddles

Mel Brooks is the king of spoof and parody. He’s directed and written many a great spoof over the years, but Blazing Saddles was only his third movie in the director’s chair. This 1974 offering takes the proverbial from all the great western movies from the 40s and 50s. The film throws joke after joke at you, along with anachronisms aplenty. Lead actors Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little also deliver comedic gold performances that help make this film great. Brooks also does a clever job of dealing with racism throughout the movie; something that hadn’t really been done before. One of those moments is where Wilder and Little confront two Klan characters, before stealing their white gowns. Clever, and poignant. It’s also interesting to note that execs wanted to pull the plug before release, but soon realised they got it wrong. It was a financial success and has firmly sealed its place in history as an iconic piece of filmmaking. Not only that, but it’s also still rated very highly on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb today. Just goes to show that a classic stands the test of time.

7. Spaceballs

Yep, our old friend Mel Brooks features again in the director’s chair. This time he delves into the world of sci-fi; more specifically, Star Wars. Although it only made a small profit at the time, it’s gone on to become a cult classic and holds a fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The key to its success is it’s genuinely funny. The jokes are good enough to make you belly laugh. And the characters are so close to those on Star Wars, it’s amazing George Lucas gave his blessing for it to be made at all. He even went a step further and sent Mel Brooks a note to say he almost fell apart laughing through it. Praise indeed. Brooks’ other golden touch was casting Rick Moranis as Dark Helmet. I think you’ll struggle to find a funnier bad guy. There are also rumours of a sequel, predicted in the film itself as ‘The search for more Money’, although nothing has been greenlit at the moment. We live in hope.

6. Scary Movie

Ok, so there have been five films in the Scary Movie franchise but the first one from 2000 makes our list of spoof movies. Written by Shawn and Marlon Wayans and directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans, it’s definitely a family affair. Although later films parody a wide range of films, this one heavily relies on Scream, and I Know What You Did Last Summer. This works in the film’s favour as you don’t spend the entire movie wondering what film they’re parodying for each joke. You know that Ghostface from Scream is going to feature a lot. And he does. The scene where he gets stoned with a bunch of guys and prank calls people is still funny today. The later films just feel like a collection of forced jokes as they ran out of horror movies to parody. Although it received mixed reviews, it made a monumental profit at the box office.

5. The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad

No spoof movies list would be complete without at least one that features the brilliant Leslie Nielson. The Naked Gun, released in 1988, was based on the short-lived TV series from 1982. Created by the legend of deadpan comedy David Zucker, it follows Lt Frank Drebin on his escapades. The original Police Squad series was a spoof of 60s police dramas; particularly M Squad, and The Naked Gun follows the same theme. Plus, it ends with one of the best death scenes in film history with Nielson waving his arms and calmly addressing the crowd with “nothing to see here”. With superb writing and acting, The Naked Gun was released to critical acclaim. It also made a healthy profit at the box office and is often listed as one the greatest comedy films ever made.

4. Hot Shots!

Released in 1991 and directed by Jim Abrahams, Hot Shots! keeps things simple by purely being a spoof of Top Gun. And a very good one it is too. Not only is the writing funny and sharp, but it also has a fantastic cast. Playing the lead roles are Charlie Sheen and Cary Elwes as the two feuding pilots. Both actors are masters of comedic timing and they deliver their lines with razorlike sharpness. The plot revolves around a mission to Iraq, with the added love triangle involving Sheen and Elwes’ characters and a female therapist. This sub-plot lends itself to some genuinely hilarious scenes between the two actors. Credit also has to go to the fantastic Lloyd Bridges. He plays a commander who seems to have had every part of his body replaced due to it being blown off in various battles. His lines in the movie are comedy gold. A great film that hits all its spoof targets with absolute aplomb.

3. Monty Python’s Life of Brian

Written and performed by legendary British comedy troupe Monty Python, Life of Brian had a controversial start. Being a satire of Jesus’ life was always going to cause some angst among some religious communities. In fact, some countries including Ireland and Norway banned it from being shown on release. In some cases that ban the latest decades. Life of Brian is often quoted as one of the greatest comedy films ever made. The writing is as good as you would expect from the Monty Python crew, and the jokes keep coming all the way through. Who can forget the immortal line, “he’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy”. It made a modest box office profit at release but has gone on to earn iconic status. Rotten Tomatoes have it as a 95% certified fresh rating and it’s still raved about today.

2. This is Spinal Tap

This is the film that kicked off a new genre of filmmaking – the mockumentary. Parodying band biopics from the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, it follows fictional band Spinal Tap on their debut American tour. If you’ve ever played in a band – as I do – so much of what’s in this film is true. I can personally attest to getting lost in venues and playing shows where no one turns up. Director Rob Reiner was sending up the pretensions of rock and roll bands and he nailed it. What’s also interesting is the majority of the dialogue throughout the film is improvised. Credit to the actors for pulling off some truly iconic lines. Whether it’s the Stonehenge scene or the legendary amp up to eleven scene, this film has embedded itself in our culture forever. It was only a modest success when it was first released, but its impact has left a lasting impression.

1. Airplane!

Well, we’ve flown; shot and rode our way to number one on our list of spoof movies. Once again, we arrive at a film directed by the dream team of the Zucker brothers and Jim Abrahams. Loosely based on air disaster movies of the 50s and 60s, it follows a plane whose crew are taken out with a sickness bug. Cue disgraced former pilot Ted Striker to save the day. Released in 1980, this was the film that set Leslie Nielson on the path of spoof comedy. He only has a fairly minor role as the doctor, but he delivers some of the best lines in the movie. ‘I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley’, is iconic. Lloyd Bridges also features as the man on the ground at air traffic control and turns in a chaotic but brilliant performance. Upon release, it made a whopping $168 million dollars at the box office and received critical acclaim. It’s also certified fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, along with ranking as one of the best on IMDb. It’s one of those films that make you cry with laughter thanks to clever writing and some fantastic performances. A timeless classic.

That’s our list of the nine greatest spoof movies. Did we miss any? Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

Read about movie remakes that should never have happened HERE.

Read IMDb information about Airplane! HERE.

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