Hollywood actors turned musicians are nothing new. It’s not uncommon to see a budding celebrity pull out an acoustic guitar to play rudimentary chords in an effort to swoon their audience. But when it comes to a celebrity playing bass, that’s when we sit up and take notice.
Because bassists are already a breed that generally shuns the spotlight, it’s refreshing (yes, we’re biased) to see a popular A-lister sporting a 4-string for creating grooves, rather than opting for guitar soloing. heartbreaking .
So, to honor actors who prefer the low end, we’ve put together this brief list of some of Hollywood’s best who love the bass guitar.
1. Keanu Reeves
In 1991, Keanu Reeves decided to form a post-grunge alternative band called Dogstar to bring his love of bass to the stage. The band toured for nearly a decade, even opening for Bon Jovi and David Bowie.
Dogstar folded in 2002, but Reeves is still an avid bassist who plays between film shoots and during breaks from his busy schedule. Check out Reeves’ finger work in this footage from their performance on Jay Leno:
2. Ryan Gosling
Turns out, one of Hollywood’s best heartthrobs is actually one of us. In 2005, Gosling formed his Los Angeles-based duo, Dead Man’s Bones, where he plays bass and his friend Zach Shields plays guitar.
Their self-titled debut album was released in 2009 and garnered a lot of attention given the growing fame of Gosling’s film.
3. Gary Sinise
Actor Gary Sinise is an acclaimed actor known for his memorable roles in films such as Forest Gump, Apollo 13, Ransom, Truman and many more. But aside from acting, Sinise’s main passion in life is playing bass.
After playing alone for many years, Sinise decided to turn to bass guru Jeff Berlin for some instruction. Sinise even has its own sponsorship deal with Cort Guitars.
And it’s only fitting that the actor most famous for playing Lt. Dan in Forest Gump has a popular band called, well, Lt. Dan.
4. Michel Cera
When Scott Pilgrim vs the World In theaters, all bass players were thrilled to see that the main protagonist, Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim, was a bass player in the film.
Posters, t-shirts, and even action figures began to emerge of a beautiful cherry-red Rickenbacker 4001 bass that Cera used in the film. But it turns out that Cera is also a passionate bass player off set.
In 2006, Cera formed a band called The Long Goodbye, which was an indie-folk trio with a lo-fi, eclectic sound. In 2010, Cera even joined an independent supergroup called Mister Heavenly with members from Modest Mouse, Man Man and Islands.
5. Malcolm-Jamal Warner
Malcolm-Jamal Warner is best known for his role as Theo Huxstable on The Cosby Show, but in the music world he is known as a respected bassist.
A lifelong bassist, Warner even won a Grammy Award for “Best Traditional R&B Performance” for his work with Robert Glasper and has long performed at major jazz festivals with his band, Miles Long. With two albums under his belt, MJW is still writing material and playing live gigs.
Acclaimed director, producer, actor and writer, Vincent Gallo played bass guitar in a few mid-70s garage bands such as Blue Mood, Zephyr, The Detours and Plastics.
After finding some success with his outfits, Gallo joined a band called Bohack, who recorded an album and played large-scale shows to support him. When this group disbanded, Gallo decided to try his hand at film. Looks like it worked for him.
Gallo even focused on music making music and directing music videos for Jay-Z, Glassjaw, John Frusciante and a few others.
7. Johnny Depp
Heartthrob A-lister Johnny Depp has long been known to be a passionate musician. Contributed slide guitar to a few Oasis songs, played acoustic guitar in the movie Chocolate and on the soundtrack of Once upon a time in Mexico joined Marilyn Manson and other bands on stage and was even part of a band with RHCP bassist Flea called P.
He also formed the supergroup Hollywood Vampires with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry of Aerosmith where Sir Paul McCartney joined their studio session to record bass. A lucky guy.
And while Depp may not be a bassist as much as a guitarist, the actor has a large bass collection and enjoys writing music on it and recording bass tracks in his home studio. That’s enough for us to count him on this list. And besides, we would love to see his collection.