Johnny Depp has promised he's not making music a second career -- in fact, he hates the idea that people want to see him play guitar just because they like his movies -- but his latest move feels very much like he's taking on the role of a rockstar.
When the Mortdecai star isn't busy making movies of questionable quality, he's been playing guitar with his new band, a super group called Hollywood Vampires that features Depp, his Dark Shadows co-star, rocker Alice Cooper, and Aerosmith's Joe Perry. They formed as a tribute to the original Hollywood Vampires, who formed at the Los Angeles' famed Rainbow Bar & Grill in the early '70s.
Even though the new Hollywood Vampires are already loaded with an all-star lineup, Depp and company managed to add to their entourage with even more famous guests for their first real album, which is currently available for pre-order on iTunes. (Just promise you won't buy it simply because you like Edward Scissorhands.)
The album, mostly comprised of covers from The Doors, Pink Floyd and -- shockingly -- Alice Cooper, features guest appearances from the Foo Fighter's Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Slash, Perry Farrell, Kip Winger and AC/DC's Brian Johnson. There’s even a spoken word section narrated by the recently deceased Christopher Lee.
Sales from the release are being donated to charity, so we won't share our honest review of the music itself, but let’s just say a lot of Depp's original compositions revolve around vampire stories.
And unlike Depp, there are a few bands that are fronted by actors, and those stars are probably A-OK with you coming out to watch them play shows. In fact, here are five actor-musicians whose tunes are slightly less about covering cool songs with famous friends and more about, you know, the music, man.
1. Jared Leto -- Thirty Seconds to Mars
Leto and his brother Shannon formed the band back in 1998. It originally started as a collaboration between the two, before they expanded to a four-piece and settled on their current name. They've blown up so much that the actor now alternates between major tours and big superhero turns. We just hope they don’t cover the Steve Miller Band's "The Joker" anytime soon.
2. Zooey Deschanel -- She & Him
We all know Zooey Deschanel loves to sing, so it came as no surprise when she and M. Ward formed She & Him in 2006 after Ward heard the actress croon in the movie Elf. They've done three albums of original compositions, an album of classic covers and a Christmas album. Yes, really. Elf forever!
3. Hugh Laurie -- Hugh Laurie and the Copper Bottom Band
The House actor moonlights as a pianist with a New Orleans-style blues group that tours the world. Since 2006, he's also appeared in Band From TV, which is a super group of actor-musicians who perform only for charity. See, Depp, maybe if you announce that charity aspect first, we’d have more patience for your vampire indulgences.
4. Steve Martin -- Steep Canyon Rangers
Comedian Steve Martin has been strumming the banjo since he was 17-years-old. He originally used the instrument as part of his standup, but the routine later evolved into Martin's very own bluegrass hits with the band Steep Canyon Rangers. In fact, he’s been nominated for six Grammy Awards and has taken home five. Another notable bluegrass musician-slash-comedian is Ed Helms from The Office, whose group The Lonesome Trio released their debut album back in April.
5. Ryan Gosling -- Dead Man's Bones
He's handsome, he's a good actor and, yes, we can even add musician to the list. Gosling and his friend Zach Shields -- who met when Gosling was dating McAdams and Shields was dating her sister Kayleen -- formed the indie-rock band Dead Man's Bones in 2007. The track "My Body's A Zombie For You" features the Silverlake Conservatory of Music’s Children's Choir – and it is a way better song than any actor-band deserves to churn out.
So that's a whole set of actor-musicians who aren't annoyed by you enjoying their work! Then again, Depp has always seemed to have a distaste for Hollywood. See what we mean in the flashback video below.