There are a few actors that are partial to shredding the metaphorical axe. Some are better than others, but here are nine actors that are awesome guitarists.
1. Jack Black
Ok, let’s get one of the most obvious ones out of the way first. Being one half of Tenacious D means Jack is slick on the guitar. Yes, it’s acoustic with Tenacious D, but remember School of Rock? The musical comedy is now iconic. It features Jack as a failed musician who lands a supply teacher job after posing as his teacher friend. He certainly shows off his skills in that film. He got his big break in the Jim Carrey film Cable Guy but has been wowing us with his acting and guitar skills ever since.
2. Tim Robbins
Actor Tim Robbins was one of the main guys in one of the greatest films ever made. In my humble opinion. The Shawshank Redemption was released to critical acclaim in 1994. And along with Morgan Freeman, Robbins delivered a superb performance. In addition to his acting skills, he’s also an accomplished guitarist. In fact, he’s a songwriter and respected folk artist. His band, The Rogues Gallery Band, have played to many sold-out crowds in recent years. Check him out online, it may just surprise you.
3. Hugh Laurie
As one of Britain’s finest actors, there isn’t much that Hugh Laurie hasn’t done. He’s had a professional partnership with Stephen Fry and was part of the comedy series Blackadder. But he’s also famous for the cynical doctor House, and he does it all with aplomb. But he’s also a fantastic singer/songwriter. With two blues albums under his belt, he plays festivals all around the globe. And he has a superb voice to go with it. Not to mention his obvious ability on the guitar. He has quite the collection of guitars as well, including a Gibson Flying V. I bet you weren’t expecting that. He is also competent on piano, drums, and saxophone.
4. Ricky Gervais
The comedian behind The Office, Extras and Afterlife is also an excellent guitarist. Those of you who are fans of his David Brent character would have seen his guitar skills in the recent film. He’s done a host of tutorials on YouTube as David Brent. He also had an early brush with fame in the early 80s in a New Wave pop-duo called Seona Dancing. Releasing two singles that flopped they quickly disbanded. Although one of the tracks became huge in the Philippines. Strange how life goes!
5. Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler has a long history of combining his talents on guitar and vocals with his comedy movies. His guitar has accompanied him on many movies over the years. Even his stand-up routines had a guitar nearby. If you’re not convinced of his six-string abilities, then check out a recent jam on American talk show Conan. He shreds through the solo of Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. Another one worth checking out is a jam session he did with Don Cheadle. He can certainly make both the acoustic and electric guitars sing.
6. Kevin Bacon
Another actor who featured in one of my favourite films of all time, Tremors. He’s had a glittering film career over the past few decades, including many blockbusters. But did you know that he’s in a musical duo with his brother, Michael? They have the rather unoriginal name The Bacon Brothers, but there’s nothing unoriginal about the music they make. It’s a mixture of blues, folk, and bluegrass, and it’s rather good. Not only does Kevin have a great voice, but he also has the chops on the guitar. Check out the myriad of videos that are available online of their gigs. Those boys have talent.
7. Kevin Costner
I must admit, this one was a surprise. Who knew that Robin Hood could play the guitar, and play it very well? He’s won Oscars and has made a host of blockbusting films. But since 2007, he’s fronted his own country-rock band, Kevin Costner and the Modern West. As the genre suggests, its country-influenced soft rock, but don’t let that put you off. It’s rather good. The band have released four albums so far. 2012’s ‘Famous for Killing Each Other’ even made the top fifteen of the Billboard Country charts. Their song ‘Outlaws and Legends’ shows off Kevin’s vocal and guitar abilities perfectly.
8. Johnny Depp
Now, if you were going to pick an actor who would be a guitarist in a hard rock band, it would be Johnny Depp. He certainly looks the part. And who better than to form a band with than Alice Cooper and Joe Perry? They even managed to come up with a suitably evil name – Hollywood Vampires. Unlike Keanu Reeve’s band Dogstar (who were terrible), Hollywood Vampires have released one album since their inception in 2015. They’ve even played the Grammy awards. Apparently, Depp is that good on guitar that Joe Perry asked him for some lessons. Check the video on YouTube of him soloing with Alice Cooper. He’s got the skill on the strings.
9. Steve Martin
Ok, so this one is a bit tenuous as comedy acting legend Steve Martin plays the banjo. They can still have six strings, so he makes our list. Steve’s been making comedy albums for years. He’s also won Grammy awards for his bluegrass albums and co-wrote a musical that ended up on Broadway. That’s no mean feat. Check out the videos of him playing the banjo online. He has some serious picking skills that would be worthy of any guitar.
That’s our list of nine famous actors who are excellent guitarists, did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.
Read about nine drummers who became lead singers HERE.
Nine Underrated Albums That Defined The 1980s
The 1980s. A decade that was musically dominated by synth-pop. The decade had so much more to offer, though. Here are seven underrated albums that defined the 1980s.
9. Nirvana – Bleach (1989)
It wasn’t the success of its monster follow-up Nevermind, but Bleach is Nirvana at its most raw. Although it came at the end of the decade, it wasn’t the start of grunge. The genre had been around for a couple of years, growing around Seattle and Washington. There were a few alt-rock bands around in the 80s, but Nirvana brought the decade to a close with a real bang. The opener ‘Blew’ sets the scene with its unpolished scratchiness. But ‘Negative Creep’ really shows the world what Nirvana are about. Its fusion of punk and sludge metal makes you want to jump into the nearest mosh pit. It may not be their best-known work, but it should be.
8. The Go-Betweens – 16 Lovers Lane (1988)
The Australian indie-rockers formed in the late seventies, but this album dropped in 1988. It was the band’s sixth studio album, and the last one to feature the original line-up. If you’re not familiar with the band then you’re in for a treat. Their unique brand of melody-laden indie is beautiful. This album isn’t perhaps their most well-known, but it’s their most commercially accessible. Rammed full of sun-kissed melancholy, it’s the perfect anecdote to 80s decadence. Great songs combined with intelligent lyrics make for a special listen.
7. Kate Bush – The Dreaming (1982)
By 1982, Kate Bush had already released three albums. Although this offering wasn’t as successful as her previous efforts, it was creatively superb. It also kicked off her more experimental side. Which would be the precursor to her 1985 album Hounds of Love. Tracks like Sat in Your Lap and the title track are brilliant pieces of music, but critics were unsure. This led to poor sales and a low chart position, but it should not be overlooked.
6. Faster Pussycat – Faster Pussycat (1987)
Glam Rock gets a bit of a bad rap sometimes. This is mostly because of the questionable fashion and over-the-top cheesy songs. But Faster Pussycat shouldn’t be overlooked when dipping in for a bit of sleaze. Motley Crue and Poison may have been more successful, but this debut is up there with the best. Cathouse, for example, is the ultimate anthem for driving down the sunset strip with your roof down. Don’t forget Babylon either. It’s a slice of rap-rock that’s up there with the best from the 80s.
5. Badlands – Badlands (1989)
Another band enters our chart with their self-titled debut. Badlands were formed in the mid-80s by former Ozzy guitarist Jake E Lee. It also featured ex-members of Black Sabbath. Despite their supergroup status, album sales didn’t match expectations. The band also disbanded after the untimely death of singer Ray Gillen in 1993. It’s a shame they don’t get more recognition. Lee’s guitar work is sparkling, and Gillen’s vocals are astounding. Every track on the album is a belter, and it winds up the decade with crisp-sounding anthems aplenty.
4. Girlschool – Demolition (1980)
Riding on the waves of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Girlschool arrived with the debut album Demolition in 1980. It only peaked at number 28 in the UK charts, but they certainly made a statement. Opening track Demolition Boys sets the scene. Its punchy riff and punk energy tell you what they are about. The band went on to have greater success in later years, but don’t underestimate this debut. A solid album that showcases a band that know what they want. And you’re not standing in their way.
3. Arthur Russell – World of Echo (1986)
Arthur Russell may not be a name that you recognise, but I strongly suggest you search this album out. The American cellist and composer did many collaborations over his career, but this was entirely his own composition. It may take a few listens to get, but the melding of genres is genius. Tracks like Being It and See Through are haunting and ethereal. It’s a definite departure from the commercial side of 80s music. But it fuses together so many elements from the decade that it deserves your ears.
2. The Blue Nile – A Walk Across the Rooftops (1984)
This debut release from Glaswegian pop-rock experimentalists came out in 1984. Notoriously secretive, they’ve only released four albums from this debut through to the mid-2000s. A Walk Across the Rooftops is quite a work of art. There are pop and synth elements, but also some rockier parts. There are obviously comparisons to David Bowie and various pop bands from the decade, but these guys are special. They have their own unique sound that is beautiful and all-encompassing. What is also surprising is that this album was recorded on an extremely tight budget. You’d never have known.
1. This Kind of Punishment – A Beard of Bees (1984)
New Zealand isn’t an obvious place that comes to mind when you’re thinking about bands. Especially not post-punk. The 80s were awash with post-punk, but nothing was as pleasing as this. The duo of Peter and Graeme Jefferies create a melting pot of gothic overtones with more upbeat guitar tracks. The result is a little confusing on first listen, but it doesn’t take long for the genius to come through. The Horrible Tango will stick in your head for days. And closer An Open Denial is full of ghostly tingles. This is post-punk for the thinking person.
That’s our list of nine underrated albums that defined the 1980s did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out seven underrated rock albums that defined the 1990s HERE.
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