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The Sound Board #7: Musicians Who Want to Act & Actors Who Want to Make Music

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This podcast generally covers music and other transgressions and is co-hosted by Rob Levy, Tuffley and myself. Let us know what you think.

This episode’s central topic is musicians who think they’re actors and actors who think they’re musicians. Some people can pull off one or the other–some can do both. And why is it easy for some musicians to naturally make the transition over?

Other topics include Billy Joel vs. his drummer, Paul McCartney jumps ship from EMI, Primus returns–and sucks, Cirque announces their Michael Jackson show and even more.


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  • Before even listening, I’m thinking of Harry Connick Jr. Back in the old days though, you had to be able to sing and dance and act. Properly, not like High School Musical. There’ll never be another Sammy Davis Jr or Gene Kelly.
    I was quite impressed by Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer, but I have a soft spot for her anyway. Okay, onto listening!

  • Having now listened, really enjoyed the show and wanted to add a few things to the discussion. Promise to make it as short and painless as a chronic waffler can. Apologies if I bring up things that you did speak about, I was walking about 10 miles while listening.

    It’s been well documented with comedians and musicians that both want to have the other’s job. That’s why some frontmen will stand there between songs in the middle of a gig trying to be a racconteur while the audience looks bored. Rick Wakeman had a long and painful tenure as the Compere of Jongleurs. I can personally only think of a few good comedians that do music that have made it into movies, being Flight of the Conchords and Bill Bailey. Dan Ackroyd fits into that category as well I suppose. UHF by Weird Al was great at the time, not sure how it holds up. Comedy, music and acting seem to all mix in if you really think about it.
    Perhaps there’s a whole episode’s worth of discussion, if not on this but on comedy records?

    Harpo and Chico Marx were really accomplished musicians. I can’t think of many films that just stop and let the actors perform instruental solos but you see it in just about all the Marx Bros movies.

    Speaking of Queen Latifah movies, she was in The Secret Life of Bees with Alicia Keys. Keys only had a supporting role but it was an excellent one.

    Beyonce was great in The Fighting Temptations and Dream Girls.

    Bruce Willis always wanted to be a musician and he had a couple records. I loved Secret Agent Man from Bruno when I was a kid, it’s a guilty pleasure.

    Jack Black’s charisma and presence is one big factor in why Tenacious D became a stadium filler, apart from some really catchy songs. Johnny Depp and Keanu Reeves meanwhile have bands that nobody has heard of. Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow would make a great rock band front man, /real/ Johnny Depp… well have you seen interviews with him?

    David Bowie’s… package in Labyrinth apparently brought around the puberty of many girls in the 80s, ha!

    Prince’s Purple Rain perhaps wasn’t that great a vehicle but the album is stellar.

    Honorable mention for Natalie Portman’s rap song with Lonely Island.

    Mila Jovovich falls into the same musical category and pitfalls as Scarlett Johansson. Not only that, but I always have to look up the spelling of both of their names, that’s another connection.

    I’ll end it there.

  • Dan: Thanks for listening and for the comment.

    Yes, Aykroyd would count. The man was a Blues Brother!

    We didn’t mention Jack Black but yes, he’s also a good one.

    And I had forgotten about Milla Jovovich’s musical career, frankly. But yes, can never remember how to spell Scarlett’s name. Weird how that works. Thanks again.