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The 11 Best (and Worst) Actors Who Moonlight as Rock Stars

Tenacious D

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There comes a time for all of us when the world makes us grow up. We aren’t going to make the NBA with our one-inch vertical. Our garage band probably isn’t going to open for Bon Jovi, unless we learn what a C chord is. But for Hollywood superstars, no one ever says no. Just look at Keanu Reeves, whose band Dogstar did just that, performing as the opening act for the “Wanted Dead or Alive” rockers on their 1995 World Tour. Join us below for a look at a few actors’ musical projects, and help us determine which are legit, and which get by on a big name and an even bigger ego.

11. Worst: Corey Feldman, Corey Feldman’s Truth Movement

Oh boy. It’s hard to criticize a band when it’s clearly the result of some disturbing childhood traumas. Lord knows what made Mr. Feldman want to become a second rate Michael Jackson impersonator, vamping his way through a rental house in the Valley, with ads for an off-brand energy drink hanging in the background. Whatever it is, we wish him luck in his recovery so we never have to see anything like this again.

10. Best: Zoey Deschanel, She & Him

Love her or hate her, Zoey Deschanel is much more than her adorkable persona suggests. Singer-songwriter M. Ward met Deschanel on the set of The Go-Getter, and quickly discovered a kindred spirit. Deschanel admitted she loved to write music, but was embarrassed to share it because of her acting career. He encouraged her to do just that, and She & Him, a charming band that combines elements of indie pop, doo-wop and R&B, was born.

9. Worst: Jim Belushi, The New Blues Brothers

On a certain level, you’ve got to respect the hustle. I mean, a brother’s got to work. But aren’t we all a little uncomfortable that Jim Belushi has basically become a professional impersonator of his late, great brother? Sure, it looks like he’s having fun up there, but doesn’t he have enough According to Jim checks in the bank to just front his own band and not tarnish John’s legacy?

8. Worst: Bruce Willis and the Accelerators

Hey, if you were drunk in a South Jersey bar at one in the morning, maybe this is the type of music you’d want to hear. But this band, which is made up of one superstar, and a group of studio musicians who like money, goes on nationwide tours and headlines Netflix concerts. If there isn’t a dartboard within five feet of Bruce’s hip shaking harmonica moves, something is very wrong.

7. Best: Maya Rudolph, The Rentals

The Rentals is a rock band fronted by Weezer bassist Matt Sharp. It’s had a revolving door of musicians over the years, but one of the most popular was Maya Rudolph, who played keyboard and sang backing vocals on tour with the band before she broke out on Saturday Night Live. Since then, we’ve all gotten a taste of her powerhouse talents, but it just goes to show you, this was no vanity project. She’s the real deal.

6. Worst: Johnny Depp, The Hollywood Vampires

Before Johnny Depp put on pancake makeup and turned into a living pile of scarves, he was a musician in bands The Kids and Rock City Angels. 21 Jump Street would change that, to the point that he complained earlier this year about actors moonlighting in bands, saying it “made [him] sick.” He then immediately went and formed a new band, the aptly named Hollywood Vampires, with Alice Cooper and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry.

5. Best: Donald Glover, Childish Gambino

Few would have thought that Troy from Community would become one of the most interesting rappers working today. While many of us with too much time on our hands may have plugged our names into an online Wu-Tang rap name generator, Donald somehow turned his results into a flourishing career in hip hop. Somehow, in a few short years, he’s written for 30 Rock, starred on Community, had his own Comedy Central stand-up special, and been the focus of an online campaign to make him the next Spider-Man. But his rap career has increasingly become the thing he’s known for, and with good reason. Renaissance man, meet the Internet.

4. Worst: Billy Bob Thornton, The Boxmasters

Oh Billy, maybe just lighten up a bit, and you’d be left alone to play your rockabilly music in peace. The actor, who can most recently be seen blowing the lid off the joint on FX’s Fargo, is clearly passionate about his band. Maybe a little too passionate. When an interviewer deigned to ask him about his acting career, and not his tour with Willie Nelson, Thornton shut down, but not before insulting his Canadian audience, calling them “mashed potatoes without gravy.” The band ended up canceling shows rather than being booed off the stage.

3. Best: Steve Martin, Steep Canyon Rangers

Steve Martin first burst onto the American comedy scene with a banjo in his hand and an arrow through his head. The arrow was long ago retired, but the banjo has become a prominent part of his life. No longer in the service of a laugh, Martin is a two-time Grammy winner, and even set up the “Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass,” an award established to reward artistry and bring greater visibility to bluegrass performers.

2. Worst: Russell Crowe, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts

Another misfire, at least in terms of the music. If Russell Crowe wants to throw back a few pints and belt out a song with some friends, then more power to him. But if he stuck to karaoke night at the local pub, we might all be better off for it. (It might’ve spared us his tone deaf turn in Les Miserables.)

1. Best: Jack Black, Tenacious D

Jack Black’s whole identity is tied up in his comedy/rock band Tenacious D,  which he rocks out in with his band mate Kyle Gass. The two made their names by rocking as hard as any metal band ever, while also managing to make us laugh. It’s no easy feat. The band has fronted its own TV show, its own music and comedy festival, and its own movie. They even won a Grammy for Best Metal Performance at the 2015 Grammys which puts them in the same category as such luminaries as Metallica and Jethro Tull.

On the Fence: Jared Leto, Thirty Seconds to Mars

Despite their critics, there are many people (particularly 12-year-old girls wearing too much eyeliner) who legitimately love this band. You have to admit, what probably started out as a vanity project has become the real thing. Hit records. Sold out tours. They were so successful, Mr. Leto seems to have forgotten he was an actor for a few years there until Dallas Buyers Club brought him back to the big screen. We’ll call this band a Rorschach test. Good or bad is in the eye of the beholder.


Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at


Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.


Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…