Actors have long tried traditional routes to crossover rock superstardom and been met with derision (Russell Crowe, Keanu Reeves, Jared Leto), modest respect (Scarlett Johansen, Idris Elba, Juliette Lewis, Zooey Deschanel) and being upstaged by Dave Grohl (Jack Black). Then there are some, like William Shatner, who’s spent almost 50 years enunciating popular songs like Shakespearean verse, and in doing so has shown that a decent way for an actor to be taken seriously as a musician is to be as weird as possible. Here are five actors we’re tipping to be collaborating with Aphex Twin and scooping Best Seriously Mad Shit Grammys come 2066.
You listening to me? After Dirty Grandpa, DeNiro clearly feels his reputation is tattered enough to branch out into Shatner territory. Okay, so ‘Ellis’, DeNiro’s spoken-word collaboration with Woodkid & Nils Frahm, isn’t quite as frivolous as Captain Kirk trilling “I! Want to live! With co-mmon peee-ple like. You!” – it has Bobby narrating the story of an immigrant to the US and the death and hardship they witness there, with proceeds from the mini-album going to refugee charity Sea Watch. But you’d still love to hear him have a crack at reciting ‘Seven Nation Army’ like he’s auditioning for Kenneth Brannagh.
“Compli-motherfuckin’-cation! It’s so fuckin’ complicated that my mind can’t even say it!” It was pretty tricky to take Joaquin Phoenix seriously when he appeared in 2010, heavily-bearded and declaring his true calling to be hip-hop. And it’s lucky we didn’t – the project was all part of a mockumentary movie called I’m Still Here, in which Phoenix played himself having a breakdown. Still, he raps better than Shatner sings, so…
As a man who knew the dangers of prescription pills, having been drugged every time someone needed him to go on an aeroplane since 1983, The A Team’s least ‘undercover’ agent Mr T made several educational rap albums in the mid-’80s warning children against drug use, urging them to stay in school and insisting they show their parents respect – “Mother! There is no other! So treat her right!“. Ironically, this video is vastly improved by drugs.
The oldest ever metal performer? Only The Saruman With The Golden Fangs himself Sir Christopher Lee. Since 1986, Lee turned his hand to a variety of operatic and musical works, but becoming a symphonic metal icon over the course of two albums telling the story of the first Holy Roman Emperor – ‘Charlemagne: By The Sword And The Cross’ (2010) and ‘Charlemagne: The Omens Of Death’ (2013) – and working with the likes of Judas Priest and Manowar. Metal Hammer magazine awarded him their Spirit Of Metal award for his work on such unforgettable tunes as ‘The Bloody Verdict Of Verden’ and ‘Massacre Of The Saxons’.
“In the test of our love I’ve gotta mark ‘none of the above’”. “I can’t turn this shit-storm we’re in into some rainbow sunshower of holy red wine”. If David Duchovny’s 2015 debut album ‘Hell Or Highwater’ sounded like an alien plot to bore the human race to death with retro country rock resembling Wilco having a stroke, its lyrics blasted it into a whole new dimension of batshit. They’re lyrics Jim, but not as we know them…