Ten Movie Stars Who Tried to Be Rock Stars
Tonight's headliner at Hard Rock Live is Steven Seagal. Yes, that's Steven Seagal, the ponytailed 1990s action star who was Hard to Kill, Under Siege, and Marked for Death, and, no, he will not be onstage performing martial arts moves or dispensing hair care advice.
He'll be playing guitar backed by a blues band he dubbed Thunderbox, which may or may not be the name of an unfilmed action script he planned to star in. But Steven Seagal is not the only movie star to have looked for further fame and fortune in the world of music. Here are ten other famous actors who longed to be rock stars.
10. Eddie Murphy
Back when he was funny, it seemed Eddie Murphy could do no wrong. Trading Places, 48 Hours, Beverly Hills Cop, Coming to America. That Golden Child touch continued in the recording studio as "Party All The Time" produced by Rick James had a convincing 1980s funky groove and hit number two on the Billboard charts. Things were much more awkward and terrible in his 1992 duet with Michael Jackson, "Whatzupwitu."
9. Keanu Reeves
While not quite having the impact of Wyld Stallyns, from his Bill and Ted movies (which according to the mythos was not only the greatest band in the world but also facilitated contact with aliens), Keanu's band Dogstar -- for which he played bass and provided backup vocals -- did get opening gigs for David Bowie, Weezer, and Bon Jovi.
8. Bruce Willis
Flying high from becoming a star from the television show Moonlighting, Willis released the album The Return of Bruno in 1987 featuring the talents of Booker T and the Temptations wasted on awful covers of "Under the Boardwalk" and "Secret Agent Man."
7. Scarlett Johansson
Before she joined the Avengers, ScarJo released an album of Tom Waits covers called Anywhere I Lay My Head. Produced by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek and featuring guest spots by David Bowie and the Yeah Yeah Yeah's Nick Zinner, the understated 2008 record is surprisingly good.
6. Jared Leto
Probably the most musically successful on the list is the onetime Jordan Catalano and reigning Oscar winner for best supporting actor, Jared Leto. In his role as frontman of emo band Thirty Seconds to Mars, he'll perform August 8 at Cruzan Amphitheatre.
5. William Shatner
Captain Kirk brought his insane self-serious method acting to rock 'n' roll with his 1968 album, The Transformed Man, on which he mixes ridiculous covers of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and "Mr. Tambourine Man" with readings from Shakespeare. It is as insane as you might imagine; perhaps more so.
4. Jason Schwartzman
Wes Anderson's muse in Rushmore was the onetime drummer for Phantom Planet (best-known for its song "California," which was the intro for the TV series The OC). He later released music as Coconut Records, whose best-known song is the well-done tearjerker "West Coast."
3. Juliette Lewis
After Natural Born Killers and Cape Fear, Lewis' acting career stalled, and she turned to music, first with the band Juliette and the Licks and later with a solo record that provided generic punk-influenced barroom rock.
2. Russell Crowe
The star of Gladiator and Noah never goes small, so it should be no surprise that he would give his band the outlandish egocentric name of Russell Crowe and the Ordinary Fear of God. His previous band was dubbed 30 Odd Foot of Grunts. Both outfits are as forgettable and boring as their names would lead you to believe.
1. Brigitte Bardot
Though her right-wing xenophobia might disgust you, the French movie star redeemed any political incorrectness with her sultry, timeless duets with Serge Gainsbourg, most notably on their 1968 song "Bonnie and Clyde."
Steven Seagal and Thunderbox, 8 p.m. Monday, June 16, at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost $30 plus fees. Visit hardrocklivehollywoodfl.com.
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