Some people just take all the talent for themselves, don’t they? Apparently it isn’t enough to just be a fantastic actor these days. Actors have to be musicians TOO. Not that I’m complaining, there’s some great music coming out of our favourite “Hollywood” stars. We all know the obvious ones: Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Cher, Will Smith, Jared Leto, Justin Timberlake…not to mention actors like Russell Crowe showing off their singing and acting abilities in musicals like Les Misérables. However, I think there is a few “double agents” that may have slipped under your radar.
American actor and musician Joe Keery is best known for his character Steve Harrington in the TV show Stranger Things. Keery was also a guitarist in the band Post Animal – a Chicago-based garage and psych rock band – and has also released music under the name “Cool Cool Cool”, which you can still find on bandcamp. The band released their debut album in 2015 and their sophomore album, When I Think Of You In A Castle, came out earlier this year. Keery sings lead vocals on the track “Ralphie” – a personal favourite of mine. Unfortunately, due to scheduling clashes because of Keery’s busy recording schedule for Stranger Things, he has had to leave the band. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Keery thinks it best to “disassociate” his Stranger Things fame from the band as he believes that will inevitably tarnish the band’s success.
You might recognise Mark McKenna from 2016’s Sing Street. He plays Eamon, an awkward teenager with a knack for more than just the guitar – “Eamon can play every instrument known to mankind.” (Fun fact: In real life, Mark’s dad is a musician, also named Eamon). So, we know he’s a talented musician…but not just in movies. McKenna’s band “The Girl Talk” are making waves in Ireland. If you liked the music that The 1975 produced when they were known as Drive Like I Do, you’ll love this band. Their tracks “When I Know” and “Heroin Chic” just scream “Hey we love The 1975” – and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Ironically, but impressively, the band supported Pale Waves when they played The Grand Social back in January and were also crowned one of Whelan’s Ones To Watch 2018.
Anyone who has seen La La Land knows that Ryan Gosling has more than a couple of musical bones in his body. But did you know that he doesn’t just make use of his talents for films? In 2007, Gosling along with his friend Zach Shields founded their band Dead Man’s Bones. Their 2009 self-titled album was met with very mixed reviews from critics but this didn’t stop the pair from embarking on a 13-date North American Tour. The entire album is a collaboration with the Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir. While touring, the pair worked with similar local choirs for each live show – pretty damn impressive. Although possibly not as cool as the original idea for the band. Gosling and Shields wanted to create a “monster themed” musical but because of budget restraints, they settled for forming a band instead. Gosling contributed vocals, piano, guitar, bass and cello to the band and performed under the alias, “Baby Goose.” The band’s song “In The Room Where You Sleep” was even featured in the 2013 horror “The Conjuring” – very on brand.