Last week we published an article about actors who were triple threats. That means they can sing, dance, and act. That got us wondering a bit. How many bands are fronted by famous actors? We knew of a few, but a little research revealed that there are far more actors fronting and playing in bands than even we had assumed. Though there are actresses who play and lead bands, too, we thought we would save them for a future list of their own down the road. For now, here are 12 bands that are fronted by famous actors (or in a few cases, they just play instruments).
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Bruce Willis (The Bruce Willis Blues Band)
Please tell us you remember when Bruce Willis stepped out from in front of the camera to sing instead of act? It happened it the 90’s (like all awesome things) but is still going on today. He plays blues classics and rocks the harmonica on stage. We would also like to go on record and officially say that is one of the most generic band names ever. No offense, Bruce but you couldn’t get a little more creative? How about Bruce Willis and the Die Hards?
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Keanu Reeves (in Dogstar)
We are pushing it a little bit with this entry, solely because Keanu Reeves actually plays bass for Dogstar. The thing is, everyone knows no one would know the band existed were he not in it (during the height of his popularity). The music is a mix between garage rock and alternative rock, but is nothing you haven’t heard before. Still cool to see one of the dudes from Bill and Ted’s rocking out on stage. Very surreal. Sadly, they broke up in 2001 so Keanu could become even more famous.
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Ryan Gosling (in Dead Man’s Bones)
Hey everyone, look at Ryan Gosling. He is all handsome and stuff, a great actor, and can also apparently rock out and sing pretty well, too. So in other words, some people were just born with more gifts than the rest of us. In all seriousness, he keeps his aspect of the band low key so people can focus on the music and not him. Sorry Ryan, but pretty sure they are going to your band’s shows to see you and not your band. Plus we’ve all seen that youtube video of him as a little kid singing all boy band style!
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Kevin Bacon (in The Bacon Brothers)
I am sorry, but the Bacon brothers sounds like a culinary treat. I mean, I know it is a band that plays country and rock standards (and has some originals as well), but the Bacon Brothers sounds like it would be the name of the greatest restaurant of all time. We will give Kevin Bacon some props, though. Music has been a big part of him and his brothers life, and he makes an effort to keep it that way.
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Russell Crowe (in 30 Odd Foot of Grunts)
Of all the bands that are fronted by famous actors, this one might catch the most slack. As cool as Russell Crowe always seems, and as intimidating as his presence can be, his singing voice is not something you would write home about. The band has since been name changed, and recently, Crowe decided to go solo. If you want a taste of his singing, watch Les Mis. Having grunt in the name of the original band was fitting, just saying. But at least Russell has the guts to get on stage again and again.
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Jared Leto (in 30 Seconds to Mars)
Maybe the most well-known of the bands fronted by famous actors, 30 Seconds to Mars has gotten a lot more radio play and a lot more attention than most of these other bands. That could be because, for what they set out to do, they are decent at it. They want to make poppy alternative rock (think Incubus at their height, minus the DJ) and that is just what they do. As with Gosling, we are sure Leto’s looks don’t really hurt when it comes to bringing in teenage girls to fill the seats at their shows.
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Kevin Costner (Kevin Costner and the Modern West)
Did you know Kevin Costner was the front man for a band? Before this list, neither did we. Though most well known for his acting, Costner knew putting his name at the front of the band would help them, and it seems it did. They have toured the world a few times, but have no worthy singles worth mentioning here. Truth is, we imagine it as the blandest country rock, but we may be off. We are too scared to actually listen to any of it.
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Billy Bob Thorton (Billy Bob Thorton and the Boxmasters)
Another band lead by a famous man who felt compelled to put his name at the front, yet gets really mad when you bring up his acting while he is talking about his music. In case you don’t know what we mean, maybe you should watch the most awkward interview ever where Thorton is not the nicest guy when asked about his acting while promoting the band. Of course, he might just be getting defensive because he knows the band would not exist were his name at the front of the bill.
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Steven Seagal (in Steven Seagal and Thunderbox)
First things first, and we mean this. You’re welcome. Don’t even pretend you knew this dude made music. Your day just got 200 times better. Also, the name is Thunderbox. Yes, Thunderbox. We had a math teacher we used to call that when I was in high school. So what does Thunderbox play? Well, of course it is blues (because all these actors play at least a little of that) but it also has rock and new age influences. Seriously. Again, Thunderbox for those keeping notes.
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Jason Schwartzman (in Coconut Records)
Okay, so maybe I have been a little hard on all the bands up to now, but this is the first band who actually make really good music on the list. Sort of a mix between emo and pop and indie rock, the best part is, Schwartzman does not display his name in a banner over the band. He lets the music speak for itself. The best part is, it works. The music is actually really good.
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Adrian Grenier (Kid Friendly and The Honey Brothers)
Yup, that tan dude from Entourage has a band. He has two, actually. Kid Friendly is the Brooklyn based band he leads, and The Honey Brothers are an outfit he actually joined up with a little later. In both cases, people speak highly of the music. Seems when he is not bro’ing out with his boys, dude has some decent musical abilities. Who knew?
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Ricky Gervais (in Seona Dancing)
We had to end the list with the most glorious entry of all. Do you remember that time Ricky Gervais was the front man of a new wave, 80’s band? As much as it seems like a subplot from The Office, this one is a one hundred percent true. You need to look this up, stat. Seeing his gelled hair and eyeliner glazed eyes is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the music. So there you have it. 12 bands that are fronted by famous actors. Some you knew of, some of you didn’t, and some you still just can’t believe (we are looking at you, Steven Seagal).
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