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.
9 Bands You Forgot Played Themselves In Movies
There are more bands than you think that played themselves on the big screen. Here are nine bands you might’ve forgotten appeared in movies.
1. Alice Cooper – Wayne’s World (1992)
Being a teenager in the nineties was great for many reasons. Two of those being the release of the Wayne’s World movies. The genius that is Mike Myers created one of the best music-based films of all time. Plus, he convinced one of the greatest rock musicians of all time to be in it. If you’re not a geek like me, you may have forgotten that Alice Cooper was featured in the film. It had the iconic scene of Wayne and Garth meeting, Alice, backstage on bent knees. We’re not worthy, indeed. Alice himself pulls off the diva Rockstar brilliantly, even though he’s a genuine, down-to-earth guy who plays a lot of golf.
2. Primus – Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991)
Let’s try and erase the recent Bill & Ted movie from our memory and head back to 1991 for their bogus journey. They come from the future to kill the non-robot versions of themselves and ruin their performance at a Battle of the Bands competition. What’s cool is the band who are playing before them. Californian alt-metal kings Primus. Although the clip is only short, they play themselves and sound as you would expect. Epic.
3. Fall Out Boy – Sex Drive (2008)
You’d be forgiven for forgetting about this one. The teen sex comedy from 2008 is forgettable and won’t really appeal to anyone apart from its teen target audience. If you can sit through all the cringe-inducing moments, you will spot pop-rockers Fall Out Boy. They are performing in a barn in front of some drunk Amish teenagers. There’s a reason for that, but I won’t bore you with it here. What is good, is the soundtrack of the film. As well as Fall Out Boy, it features Airbourne, AC/DC and weirdly, Kenny Loggins.
4. Twisted Sister – Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
Paul Reuben’s character Pee Wee Herman made his big-screen outing in 1985. The children’s show star had a scene where he is being chased through a studio parking lot. Unbeknown to him, glam rockers Twisted Sister are recording a music video on a car. Lead singer Dee Snider is always up for a laugh, so it’s no surprise they’re featured. The clip is brilliant. Pee Wee’s prop-laden bike is just about to crash into Twisted Sister and the look on Dee’s face is genius. Go check out the clip.
5. David Bowie – Zoolander (2001)
Who can forget the brilliant Zoolander? Starring Ben Stiller as the dippy model, it’s one of the funniest comedies ever made. One of the best scenes of the film is the walk-off. This involved Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson’s characters doing a catwalk-off. Of sorts. Can you remember who refereed it? The legend himself, David Bowie. It’s not the first time Bowie was in a movie – remember Labyrinth? But this time, he plays himself. And does it with all the cool swagger you would expect.
6. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Clueless (1995)
I can’t say that I was a massive fan of this teen comedy at the time. The plot revolves around Alicia Silverstone’s character giving her friend a makeover. The premise doesn’t sound like it lends itself to a cool band cameo. You’d be wrong, though. There’s a scene where the lead characters go watch a gig. The band that are playing are The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. The Boston ska-punk legends are only on stage for a moment, but it’s a slick clip. It certainly brings the film up a level on the cool stakes.
7. Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy (2010)
This sequel to the original sci-fi classic is a cracking movie. The visuals and effects are stunning, as is the atmosphere of the film. The music to the film is also rather special. A futuristic and dystopian movie could only have one act doing the score, and that’s Daft Punk. It works a treat. The music is intertwined into the movie and becomes a part of it. The delicious electronica is the perfect complement to the visuals. The French electronic masters also have a cameo at the end of the movie. They’re spinning the decks in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene.
8. Aerosmith – Wayne’s World (1993)
We’ve already had an appearance from the first film further up our list, and the second doesn’t disappoint either. The plot revolves around Wayne and Garth putting on their own music festival. Book them and they will come, is the advice given. And they certainly did. The headline band for the festival were none other than Aerosmith themselves. They do a sterling effort on stage as performers. And Steven Tyler also shows that he can handle his own on the acting front too.
9. Reel Big Fish – BASEketball (1998)
Trey Parker and Matt Stone star in this bizarre and hilarious sports comedy. Written by the king of spoof David Zucker, it’s become a cult classic. The soundtrack heavily features ska-punkers Reel Big Fish. They do a brilliant rendition of A-HA’s Take on Me, which they also perform in the movie. The band are the entertainment at the stadium where Parker and Stone are competing. You can tell by the footage that the band are clearly enjoying themselves. They add a touch more fun to an already hugely funny film.
That’s our list of nine bands who played themselves in movies. Did we miss any of your favourites? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out our list of actors in bands HERE.
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