In “Rock of Ages,” opening June 15, Tom Cruise plays Stacee Jaxx, the fictitious former lead singer of Arsenal, the biggest rock band in the world. For the role, Cruise trained with renowned vocal coach Ron Anderson, whose list of clients reads like a Who’s Who of the entertainment industry.
While Cruise gets the chance to rock out in the film, it’s highly unlikely that the “Mission Impossible” star will trade in his illustrious Hollywood career for a recording contract anytime soon. However, several stars have ventured into music after establishing themselves in “The Entertainment Capital of the World.” Here’s a look at just a few of the A-listers who had success away from the silver screen.
Even though he played a teenager in search of rock stardom in “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey,” Keanu Reeves found moderate success as bass guitarist for Dogstar – a band he formed with fellow actor Robert Mailhouse (who played drums) in the mid-1990s. After several lineup changes, Bret Domrose joined the band on vocals/guitar in 1994, and Dogstar opened for major acts such as Bon Jovi and David Bowie. The band released two full length albums and one extended play during their decade of activity, as well as playing to audiences worldwide.
Before he topped the list as Hollywood’s highest paid actor, Johnny Depp followed his dream of becoming a musician. Although his hopes were dashed when his band The Kids relocated to Los Angeles and split up before receiving a record contract in the early 1980s, a meeting with Nicholas Cage set Depp on a new career path. Since achieving success in film and television, Depp has appeared on albums with Oasis and Marilyn Manson, performing with the latter at Revolver Magazine’s 2012 Golden Gods Awards. Depp was also a member of P, an alternative rock band formed in 1993, which released one self-titled album before calling it quits in 1995.
Best remembered as Jenny Humphrey on the WB series “Gossip Girl,” Taylor Momsen has seemingly left the glitz and glamor of Tinseltown behind in favor of arena stages across the globe. Formed in 2009, the 18 year-old vocalist/guitarist’s band, The Pretty Reckless, has already built quite a reputation for themselves. With one full length album and two extended plays under their belt, the band have embarked on two headlining tours, as well as performances on “The David Letterman Show,” the Download Festival, Lollapalooza, Rock Am Ring, and other festival bills in America and Europe. They have also supported music industry heavyweights such as Guns N’ Roses, Marilyn Manson, and Evanescence on tours throughout 2011-2012.
Like Johnny Depp a decade earlier, Jared Leto moved to Los Angeles in 1992 to pursue a musical career. While he only intended to take film roles on the side, acting soon became Leto’s full time occupation. In 1998, Leto formed the band 30 Seconds to Mars with his brother, Shannon. On August 27, 2002, 30 Seconds to Mars released their self-titled debut album, which received mostly positive reviews. The band has released two more full length albums and three extended plays, and have toured the world extensively, earning a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for “Most Shows Performed During a Single Album Cycle.” Although rumors of the band’s breakup began after they wrapped up their last tour in December 2011, Leto recently told Rolling Stone that they have begun work on their next full length album.