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.
Jungle Cruise – Review
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt swing in with force in Disney’s new Jungle Cruise. And while the movie has fun callbacks to the Disney Park ride and a clever plot, if this movie is trying to be the next Pirates of the Caribbean, it falls short. Here’s our review of Jungle Cruise.
SPOILERS: Warning there are spoilers ahead.
To be honest, I was expecting a much less creative plot from this movie. Following suit with typical adventure movies, I was expecting this film to be a less-funny version of the Jumanji reboot. But the plot has an unexpected emotional centre and a clever twist. And while the film suffers from CGI villain goopiness, it gives the CGI villains actual heart and motivations.
The film centres on Lilly (Emily Blunt), a botanist in search of a healing petal. The petal is said to be able to cure any illness and resides deep in the Amazon Rainforest. She is accompanied by her little brother, McGregor (Jack Whitehall) and their hired skipper, Frank (Dwayne Johnson).
But a curse resides around the petal. Spanish conquistador Aguirre (Edgar Ramirez) and his crew went in search of the petal four hundred years ago. The petal can only be found with an arrowhead sacred to the Umbala or Headhunter tribe of the region. When Aguirre and his crew are on the brink of death, the Umbala tribe saves them. But Aguirre betrays them to get his hands on the arrowhead, and the chief of the Umbala tribe curses Aguirre and his party. They can never stray from the river, or the rainforest will take them. For four hundred years, they’ve lain dormant, having strayed too far from the banks of the river. They cannot die.
Now the arrowhead rests with a sexist scientific community. Lilly steals the arrowhead, just before it was set to be sold to Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons). Joachim works for the German government during the height of World War One. He believes that the petal will not only bring victory to Germany, but will make him a world ruler. (How he thinks it will do that is unclear).
As Lilly, McGregor, and Frank make their way down the Amazon in search of the Petal, Joachim follows and occasionally attacks them in his submarine. Deciding he needs more help, he wakes up Aguirre, now a monster of the Amazon, and his crew. Aguirre, who is now made out of snakes, and his two colleagues, one of which is made out of honey and bees and the other mud and tee frogs, are sent on Lilly’s trail.
What happens next is the usual adventure. White water rapids, a run-in with the Umbala tribe (who become allies), submarine fights, swinging on jungle vines; you name it.
But after a run-in with Aguirre, Lilly learns the truth about Frank. In a plot twist I absolutely did not see coming, it turns out that Frank is actually Francisco, Aguirre’s cartographer. We learn that Aguirre was not looking for the petal for glory or gold, but to save his deeply ill daughter. Aguirre and Francisco grew up together, and they were willing to do anything to save his daughter. But when Aguirre betrays the Umbala tribe, Francisco tries to stop Aguirre. Francisco was also cursed to be unable to leave the riverbank, but Aguirre kept returning to fight and defeat (stab) Francisco.
Tired of constantly getting stabbed, Francisco traps Aguirre in a cave. Letting the Amazon have him and turn him into the monster he is today. Francisco then built a town on the river banks, built a boat in search of the petal, gave up, and now runs river cruises.
While the plot is very complicated, it’s easy enough to follow while watching the film. I will say that the motivations of Joachim are a little hard to follow. But the plot twist with Frank was very clever. It gives a CGI-heavy Aguirre a human heart. Now all he wants to do is break the curse and be allowed to die. To do so he needs a petal. The plot in and of itself was much more clever than I expected.
Characters and performances
One character that pleasantly surprised me was McGregor. At first, I thought he was merely queer-coded. He definitely fell into some gay stereotypes, but I thought that was all it was going to be. A guy who was subtly a little queer. But, when Frank asks him why follows Lilly, even through a jungle, he gives a surprisingly candid answer. He explains to Frank that he is gay and that Lilly is the only one who supports him.
When the world turned his back on him, she stood with him, and for that, he would “follow her into a volcano.” This is the first time I can remember that a Disney character was very, clearly openly gay. Disney has had about a dozen “first gay characters,” but all of them have been off to the side. None of them has stated their sexuality or been open about it. McGregor not only states it outright but is not ashamed of it and it is not his only character trait. He becomes brave and capable and is a good friend to both Frank and Lilly. It was really surprising to see good representation from Disney in this film.
Emily Blunt also gives a wonderful performance (as she always does). She’s headstrong and stubborn, but kind. The sexism was a little on the nose, with a tired bit about how she wears pants, but she was delightful.
And Dwayne Johnson was… okay. He plays the exact same character in every movie he’s in. And while his performance was good in this movie, I can’t help but think that another actor could have done better. He and Emily Blunt have a romance in this movie, but they have absolutely no chemistry. It was hard to believe their romance. I think another actor could have added a little more to Frank’s character. Frank is an interesting character, and another actor could have done more with him. This movie might have been better without Dwayne Johnson.
This movie also might have been better without Joachim. His motivations were really hard to follow. At the end of the day, he was just another stereotype of a German general who only complicated the plot.
It feels as though Jungle Cruise might be Disney’s attempt to re-make the magic of Pirates of the Caribbean. But I can’t see this film becoming a franchise. The first Pirates movie is masterful, with amazing rewatchability. But Jungle Cruise, while fun, is forgettable. It’s not a movie I see myself rewatching anytime soon. If this is an attempt to create a new franchise for Disney; it falls short. But, the film was fun to watch and was a good movie theatre experience.
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 5/10
Thank you for reading our review of Jungle Cruise. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Read our review of Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place Part Two HERE.
Read IMDB information about Jungle Cruise HERE.
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