In the usual media scrum that accompanies awards season, one story of magnitude threatened to get lost last week concerning someone who would look as at home walking down the red carpet at the Oscars as hanging out at the NME Awards 2013... actress Scarlett Johansson. The supercool Lost In Translation star announced she’s formed an all-girl group called The One And Only Singles, which she says will be in the style of The Go-Gos.
I know what you’re probably thinking - actor turned musician is never a good idea, and that's the dodgiest of names right there (fair point). It could be worse though, Johansson released a 2008 Tom Waits covers album - 'Anywhere I Lay My Head' - recorded with Dave Sitek, and lo and behold it was quite decent actually.
In fact bands with actors in them don’t always have to be shit you know, just occasionally they cross that chasm that separates the vanity project from true cultural significance. In the interests of balance, here are some culturally significant ones and some to file under ‘lamentable’.
And as if to prove she’s the real deal, she’s already sacked off one band and got another one in with the seamless continuity of an old stager. The Cape Fear star’s Juliette And The Licks released three pretty well received albums, and so serious was she that she didn’t even make any movies during that period. Now forging ahead with Juliette And The New Romantiques, the talented actress has thankfully returned to the day job as well.
Say what you will about 30 Seconds To Mars but they’ve certainly garnered a fan base that extends far beyond Jared Leto’s own celebrity. Emo kids flock to see them the world over and they suck less than Black Veiled Brides, so they must be doing something right, right? Stop jeering and making that wanker sign at me. I can tell you’re having none of this. In fact you might be responsible for this YouTube compilation of Leto death scenes and that infamous Fight Club mauling from the fists of Edward Norton. Say it after me, “I felt like destroying something beautiful”.
He's annoying isn’t he? Not only is he handsome, talented and desired by women (and men) the world over, his country folk duo Dead Man’s Bones ain’t half bad either. Is there anything he can’t do? Did I hear someone at the back say “act”?
Not a rockstar per se, but Johnny Depp gets a mention because, you know, he’s Johnny fucking Depp! “You know Johnny’s a killer guitar player,” said Alice Cooper, “he could play with anyone.” And he does. The actor, who based Cptn Jack Sparrow on Keith Richards has often popped up with the Black Keys, Marilyn Manson, with Alice and Keith and Shane MacGowan... if you need more qualification, he had a band called P with Gibby Haynes of Butthole Surfers fame, and even supposing he was embarrassingly bad on the axe you’d still want him in your band ahead of that bass player in Alt-J wouldn’t you...
Not strictly a band, but a good story anyway. Lou Doillon, actress, model and daughter of Jane Birkin decided the last thing she’d want to be was a singer, what with her more or less coming from French musical royalty and everyone around her being uber talented (Serge Gainsbourg could sometimes be found at the piano when she was a toddler). Strumming songs to herself as a form of release in her bedroom, she was eventually coaxed into the studio and voila! her album ‘Places’ won her best female artist at Le Victories de la Musique (The French equivalent of the BRITS), the first artist to do so with a debut record in nearly three decades. It’s rather smashing too.
Paddy Considine is arguably the finest actor of his generation and the transition to director was made with devastating effect when Tyrannosaur was lapped up by critics and audiences alike. The same can’t be said for his endeavours in audio unfortunately. Riding The Low are as musically perfunctory as they are lacking in style, a meat and potatoes beat combo who’d probably struggle to get into double figures audience wise in any spit and sawdust toilet nationwide, were it not for their frontman’s notoriety elsewhere. Sorry Paddy.
Rhys Ifans looks like he should be in a band, and he is! It’s a shame they’re shite. Imagine the Super Furries if they took three times as many drugs as they do already rendering them incapable of actually having any decent ideas. At all. And you’ve sort of got The Peth.
The man of 1,000 faces that all look slightly cross has been peddling his comedy prog rock outfit Tenacious D for many years now in the quest, one presumes, to one day actually write a song that might be classified as funny. Good luck with that chaps.
He can perhaps be forgiven for his sibling side project The Bacon Brothers, but we’re still traumatised by those creepy fucking EE cinema ads. And one question, has he reprised the lead character from Footloose among those old roles he’s playing or is the Iggy Pop story in production?
Maverick genius or four foot tall pretentious knobhead? You decide!