One of the more fun and interesting things about following music in LA is that a significant number of film and TV stars are also musicians and perform either solo or with their bands around town. Plus, they are often very accessible in their music mode. It is also fascinating to watch beautiful, multi-talented people cross over from one entertainment world to another, sometimes with ease, sometimes not so much.
Among those that we know through screens large and small who also record and perform, either currently or at some point in their careers, are Bruce Willis, Kevin Bacon (7 albums!), Ryan Gosling (2009 album Dead Man’s Bones), Scarlett Johansson, Jamie Foxx. Robert Downey Jr., and Johnny Deep and his Hollywood Vampires band. Jeff Goldblum and his band The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra will release their debut album, The Capitol Studios Sessions, on Nov. 9 and have played jazz clubs around LA and at the group’s variety shows at LA’s Rockwell Table and Stage for years. Rob Morrow and his RMB blues band rocks out in small clubs and charity events in LA when Morrow’s film and TV career allow it. He is a hell of a guitar player and always gracious to fans who talk to him after his gigs.
But along with all the music, the entertainment industry – both music and film/TV – is still infamous for eating people alive through drugs, alcohol, breakups, and industry shifts that can leave high-flyers sitting beside the road, sometimes literally. I was recently reminded of this in an interview with a young film/TV star/musician, Zach Callison, who is currently the voice of Steven Universe and has acted or voiced in film and TV since he was 7, including stints in Sofia the First, the Goldbergs, Justice League and many more.
Callison lived with the pressure of young Hollywood from childhood and saw many of his contemporaries go down and he himself had some very rough times. His therapy is songwriting, singing and producing which has led to a concept album about one of those rough times, The Picture Perfect Hollywood Breakup. I have heard the same story from others in “the biz” who live with the pressure of getting and perfecting roles – changing who they are, sometimes daily – and tolerate that pressure by writing songs and recording or performing.
I am always amazed at how they are often different people when performing; gone are the entourage (or at least a lot of it), the press guardians, the rabid fans, the ego, the insecurity. I have seen Morrow and the RMB in a small theater in Santa Monica, where he had loved every second he was laying and the took the time to just talk to regular folks afterward. No rush for autographs, no giant hall or heavy security. Just friendly people enjoying the blues. Callison will likely be playing locally in the near future, introducing audiences to the album, although nothing has been announced yet. I will do my best to be there (and tell you about it). In the meantime, I am going to check on one of the Jeff Goldblum concerts.