According to the AFI website, the award's criteria are difficult to meet. "The recipient should be one whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art, whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers, and the general public and whose work has stood the test of time."
Sir Howard Stringer, Chair of the American Film Institute's Board of Trustees, explained why Martin is receiving the honor in a statement.
"Steve Martin is an American original," said Stringer. "From a wild and crazy stand-up comic to one who stands tall among the great figures in this American art form, he is a multi-layered creative force bound by neither convention nor caution. His work is defined by him alone, for he is the author – and a national treasure whose work has stuck with us like an arrow in the head."
Martin will be honored with the 43rd Life Achievement Award on June 4, 2015 at a gala tribute in Los Angeles, and the tribute special will air on TNT and TCM in June 2015.
Steve Martin is not the only actor with his own band. See eight surprising actors with their own bands in the video below.