The line between actor and musician is growing ever more blurry these days. Musicians love to try their hand at acting, and actors can’t seem to help themselves from seeking out the spotlight onstage. Some, like 500 Days of Summer star Zooey Deschanel, have found success by joining a band and keeping their names off the marquee. (Deschanel’s endearing country-tinged indie band She & Him is a critical hit.) Alas, most actors end up releasing awkward genre abominations or embarrassing vanity projects. Read on for a list of Hollywood musicians who should have left the singing to the pros.
Billy Bob Thornton
joined the temperamental-artiste club recently when he went off on a
Canadian radio show host for daring to bring up his acting career
during an appearance with his country rock band The Boxmasters. Billy
Bob rambled nonsensically, took shots at Canadians, and likened himself
to Tom Petty. Bad analogy, Billy Bob: Tom is a pretty solid actor on
his own right, and you could walk all the way to Canada without meeting
a single Boxmasters fan.
It’s hard to hate on Bruce Willis. His harmonica-playing alter ego “Bruno” on the other hand? Fair game! Willis’ 1987 album The Return of Bruno was a modest hit, fueled mostly by his decent cover of “Respect Yourself.” Still, the album in no way warranted follow-ups. But that didn’t stop Willis, er, Bruno, from continuing to pull out his harmonica from time to time. If only he had stopped before that embarrassing Seagrams commercial — John McClane would never be caught dead using a wine cooler as a mic.
where credit is due — what other actor can claim to have performed with
both Rick James and Michael Jackson? Murphy’s singing career dates all
the way back to the novelty song “Boogie in the Butt,” but peaked with
his admittedly catchy “Party All the Time.” Unfortunately subsequent
albums produced the non-hits “Put Your Mouth on Me” and “Whatzupwitu,”
the failures of which apparently led Murphy to stick to soundtrack work
from that moment forth.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Diminutive actress Pinkett Smith’s heavy-metal band Wicked Wisdom is apparently so bad, Ozzfest fans petitioned for them not to
play the music festival in 2005. Nonetheless the persevering actress
and her bandmates are reportedly readying their third album for release
later this year. Perhaps her famous hubby should lend her some “Big
Willie Style” in the recording studio. On second thought, there’s
probably a reason that hasn’t happened yet.
Is it real? Is it fake? Who cares. Was anyone really surprised when the Gladiator star
announced he’s giving up acting for a career as a rapper? The Phoenix
clan isn’t exactly the most normal bunch. But so far his attempts at
hip-hop have consisted of a couple of disastrous club dates and a
monosyllabic appearance on Letterman. Elaborate prank or not, Joaquin seems intent on becoming the next Vanilla Ice, whether the world wants it or not.
Blame Strange Days,
which featured the perennially quirky actress as a rock star from the
far-flung year of 1999, for convincing Lewis that she was the next
Courtney Love. The good news is her rock band, Juliette and the Licks,
broke up earlier this year. The bad news? She’s going solo with help
from Pink songwriter (and prolific producer) Linda Perry. This can’t
possibly end well.
OK, so she may not technically qualify as an “actor,” but since the
spotlight-loving socialite has appeared in movies like House of Wax and
The Hottie and the Nottie, she deserves the same mockery as her
wannabe-musician peers. The most you can say for Paris’ singing career
(which gave us “Stars,” with its ridiculously bad video of Paris
frolicking on the beach) is that it keeps her away from movie sets. For
a little while, at least.
you know the frontman of 30 Odd Foot of Grunts (now going by the even
worse The Ordinary Fear of God) was also an actor? Oh, you’ve never
heard of 30 Odd Foot of Grunts? Well, turns out the singer’s appeared
in a movie or two. Interestingly enough, Crowe borrowed his band’s name
from a sound dubbing term he learned while working on Virtuosity. Which is the only thing even remotely interesting about Crowe’s rock star life.
allows its super-hot actors and actresses to get away with far too
much. This is the only explanation for why anyone thought it was a good
idea to allow Johansson to record an album of Tom Waits covers. Despite
being universally panned, Scarlett is reportedly working on a
follow-up, and she’s also collaborating with Pete Yorn on another
musical project. Will it ever end?