In Defense of Hollywood Actor Rock-Star Wannabes

Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard once said (about 30 Seconds to Mars’ Jared Leto), “He’s a professional actor in music; so there’s no way to feel any sincerity about his position as a musician… Because he makes a living playing characters.. [he’s] also acting what you think a rock star should act like.”

What’s most amusing about this is the fact that Gibbard was, at that time, engaged to be married to successful actress/successful singer Zooey Deschanel. They were then married for fifteen years (Hah! In Hollywood years. It was actually two).

It’s curious, to me, that people are regularly surprised when talented folk in the spotlight not only have other interests, but are really good at them. Just look at the rotating cast of Saturday Night Live: they’re hired to bring the funny, but have you ever noticed how many of them can sing? Like.. well? Both Jimmy Fallon and Adam Sandler regularly grabbed guitars to rock hilarious tunes at every chance. And The Lonely Island? Well, uh, you know

Just like everything else, there are:

The Good: Zooey (She and Him), Jason Schwartzman (Coconut Records)
The Popular: Leto
and The Bad: Shaq (still the only human ever to rap “What the heck”)

I myself both write humorous articles about things (sometimes) and play in a band (sometimes). You, too, most likely have multiple hidden talents, like knowing where the best blogs are (among other things they can’t show on TV). Yet we get away with it because we’re not quite as famous (yet, man, yet, don’t freak out).

For this reason it surprises me that people still judge one-another solely by their day jobs. Sure, Aristotle — “We are what we repeatedly do.” But the days are long…

There’s time to practice the things you dig after doing the things you need.

I’m penning this argument, by the way, in response to a sort of snarky writeup of James Franco’s new project by the AVClub (who I normally love). The band is called Daddy. They, of course, hold themselves up for ridicule by claiming to be doing some sort of high-end auditory research project, but I thought the song was pretty good, laid back fun.

Here’s the vid for “Love in the Old Days,” by Daddy…


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  • You know, i look at this a little while later and think, 'It could be a bit of jealousy.' Not that I'm immune. Just after this i was reading an article in Playboy (for the article) and noticed that James Franco is also a "contributing editor" there. Wtf, right?

    Look: when life awards you one good thing, that doesn't necessarily preclude you from other good things. Same works for the bad -- I am a cancer survivor, currently undergoing two hip replacements due to unexplained avascular necrosis. They say it might have been the chemo (mine was very minor -- two months -- and it prolly didn't help with the hip thing (though my cancer is gone)), BUT, my hips were falling asleep after extended periods of sitting as early as 25 yrs old (my cancer surgery was at 28 and I'm now 32).

    Just because you get one thing (bad or good) doesn't mean you're in the clear to not get hit with another (bad or good). It's just nature. WE are nature. Our bodies AND our big-ass brains.

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