John C. Reilly is making a go of a music career and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Even when they’re decent, actors-turned-musicians generally manage to embarrass themselves … with the exceptions of Jared Leto and Johnny Depp … and it’s strangely off-putting when they even try.
And I want everything to work for John C. because I love him. He’s funny, a good actor, always pleasant and unpretentious in interviews. He’s tall, he seems kind, and he won my heart completely when he played the future Mike D in the Beastie Boys “Make Some Noise” video. And, yes, he’s goofy-looking, but that’s OK. If he wasn’t married, then who knows?
John also has a healthy attitude about how his celebrity inevitably factors into potential musical success.
“You could use [celebrity] to sell cologne, or good dental hygiene, or you could use it to turn people on to music that they forgot about, or never knew. We go on tour and I’m like the chum in the fishing boat, using my name to get people to come to the show. You might come to see me, but you leave awed by Tom, Becky, Seb, and the band.”
You see? He’s lovely. The bandmates he’s referring to are Tom Brosseau, Becky Stark, Sebastian Steinberg, Willie Watson, and Dan Bern. In 2011, they recorded and released two singles with Jack White’s label. They plan to record more this summer and hopefully put out a full album.
Evidently, John and Jack White are buddies, which is a cool and unexpected celebrity pairing, like Ricky Gervais and David Bowie. According to John, his pal Jack encouraged him to pursue music.
“[Jack] said, ‘Well, if you ever want to do anything and want it to be recorded, you should come down to Nashville. I have this recording studio. You can stay at my house and we can have a record out in 24 hours. I thought, ‘This is an opportunity I should not pass up.’ “
Here’s the problem, though: the actual music. The songs John and his band recorded are folksy covers of relatively obscure Americana classics … and that is not my cup of tea by a long shot. I truly did try to listen to this with an open mind. It was no use though. I don’t like it. Not being familiar with the originals, to me these sounded pure classic country with the female harmony and that fucking lap steel guitar. Doesn’t appeal to me at all.
Overall, though, while I don’t love it … even like it, to be honest … John is not embarrassing himself, like say Eddie Murphy or Russell Crowe. He appears to be a respectable musician and singer. I just wish he covered a different, less jangly, style of music.