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Part 2: Musician/Moviestar

Actors with Bands: The Next Generation

By Solana Hawkenson

In the March issue of Dish, we introduced Actors with Bands: The Veteran Tunesmiths, Part 1! It profiled the very successful Ricky Gervais, Johhny Depp, Ryan Gosling, Zooey Deschanel, and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Now, in April’s Actors with Bands: The Next Generation, Part 2, we’re introducing some of the young, up-and-coming, well, actors with bands! Though fresh faces in the Hollywood scene, they all know a thing or two about making good music. As with the Veterans, some of these artists are still rocking out, and others have moved on to greener pastures. Only time will tell what comes next from these doubly- talented stars.

MICHAEL CERA | Mister Heavenly

MICHAEL CERA | Mister Heavenly

Usually cast in films as the smart, soft-spoken hipster-type, Cera is actually kind of a rock star. Many of us got a good look at his range of musical talents in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but fewer may know he actually had a brief stint with indie rock group Mister Heavenly; the band is comprised of members of indie ensembles Man Man and the Unicorns, and drummer Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse. Mister Heavenly claims to be at the forefront of “doom wop”, which, according to website, “…is born from a shared love of 1950s vocal-based R&B classics by ensembles like the Penguins, the Platters, and the Moonglows, and also a fascination with ill-fated romance.”

Though we love to picture Cera as a love-torn, sensitive musician type, his relationship with the band was not lasting. The band’s publicist told LA Weekly, "[he] did not record nor was he ever a permanent member of the band. Just a friend of the band who was helping them out when they were in need of a bassist."

Mister Heavenly’s Ryan Kattner seconded that statement, "Michael is a buddy, never toured before, good bass player, but he's not playing on the album," he said. "When the band formed a year ago, we thought it would be fun to have him on the road, but it's been kind of a distraction. I hate the girls screaming 'Michael.'"

The Young Rapscallions

Mintz-Plasse became an overnight celebrity after playing geeky high school student McLovin’ in 2007’s Superbad, but like Cera, had more hidden talents. That same year, he formed the band The Young Rapscallions. The actor/drummer still describes the band as a “real garage band”, as they still rehearse in Mintz-Plasse’s parents’ garage. Their first album, “Everything Vibrates”, was released last year and got its strange title from a friend’s story about watching a sex show. “He was just telling me he was up late one night watching some weird sex show where they had a bunch of toys," Mintz-Plasse said in an interview,  "He told me that everything in that show vibrated, and I thought the name Everything Vibrates sounded cool. So lame."

Does Mintz-Plasse’s newfound success in Hollywood bother the other Rapscallions? Not so, said the band in an interview with American Music Press Magazine, “We have been friends for a long time; we’re all best friends so we don’t even think about it.  It is inevitable that people are going to recognize Chris is in the band, but that’s not why we are doing this. We want people to like us for our music and hopefully it will speak for itself.”

DONALD GLOVER Childish Gambino
DONALD GLOVER | Childish Gambino

This comedian wrote for 30 Rock from 2006-2009, but is better known for playing college student Troy Barnes on NBC’s comedy Community. He is also a member of sketch comedy group Derrick Comedy, whose popular YouTube videos helped him gain recognition and success on television. Besides a budding acting career, the 29-year-old has been working hard to break out as both a stand-up comedian and a less expected profession, rap artist. He released two independent albums, Sick Boi in June 2008 and Poindexter in 2009, before signing with Glassnote Records in 2011. He released his first studio album Camp in November of that year, which hit number 2 on the US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and Top Rap Albums charts.  The music video for “Heartbeat” from the album was nominated for Best Hip Hop Video at this year’s VMA Awards, and he sold out two New York shows for his IAMDONALD tour within three hours of tickets being released. It’s clear that this talented entertainer isn’t stopping anytime soon.

Different from most mainstream artists, Glover is very giving, making much of his music available for free online. In early July of this year he finished his second studio album, Royalty, which he released on his website for free digital download. He also DJs and produces music under the name mcDJ (“M-C-D-J”), providing electronic/remix music,  also often available for free download on his official website,

TAYLOR MOMSEN | The Pretty Reckless
TAYLOR MOMSEN | The Pretty Reckless

Momsen became a teen celeb icon for her portrayal of Jenny Humphrey on CW’s hit drama, Gossip Girl. Three years after the show’s debut, this Gossip Girl ditched her prim upper eastside getup for something a bit more... reckless. She made friends with the right people in the music business and started an alternative rock band, The Pretty Reckless! Momsen, who sings and plays rhythm guitar, was quick to show her rebellious side, rocking lingerie and black rimmed eyes onstage at Warped Tour and other notable festivals. The band signed with Interscope records and their debut album, Light Me Up, was released in August 2010 in the UK. The most notable single from the album, “Make Me Wanna Die” topped the UK Rock Charts upon its release and was on the soundtrack for the alternative superhero flick, Kick-Ass. In 2012 they joined The Medicine Tour, appearing as supporting act for Marilyn Manson and Evanescence.

Early this year they released their second EP called “Hit Me Like A Man”, and their song “Only You” was recently included on the Target version of the soundtrack for Frankenweenie. Momsen has stated that music is her first love, confessing, “Music is where I can be me.” Unfortunately, the band’s studio was destroyed by Frankenstorm Hurricane Sandy, so we’ll have to wait in anticipation for their next effort.

Ed Westwick The Filthy YouthED WESTWICK
The Filthy Youth

Westwick is also a cast member on controversial teen drama Gossip Girl, playing sexy bad boy Chuck Bass. Not to be overshadowed by Momsen, Westwick had already formed his own rock group in 2006. Named one of People’s “Sexiest Men Alive” in 2008, the Stevenage, England native also acted as front man for British indie-punk band, The Filthy Youth. Website describes the band as having “the cheeky British attitude of such bands as the Rakes, Razorlight, and the Libertines.” Westwick’s celeb status definitely helped the band, and two of its songs were featured on episodes of Gossip Girl.

He has put the band on hold since he’s been in New York focusing on his acting career, and the other members are still based in the U.K.  But he did tell Teen Vogue that he’s not done with his musical ventures, stating, “You haven’t heard the last of me yet.” You can listen to the band’s music on its Myspace page, where fans are encouraged to share their own “filthy youth” pictures.


When he wasn’t playing 160 year old vampire Jasper Hale in the Twilight Saga,  Rathbone was rocking out with his high school buddies in an independent funk rock band, 100 Monkeys. The Twi-guy played the guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, mandolin, trumpet, harmonica and performed vocals for the band, formed in 2008 in Los Angeles, California. MTV described their unique sound as a mixture of Iggy Pop with The Raconteurs. The group was highly experimental, and their first album, Monster De Lux, was entirely improvised and done in one long take. While touring, the band also performed an improvised song at every gig, which were always real crowd pleasers. They signed with Warrior Records in 2011 and released their second studio album, Liquid Zoo, in June of that year.

In March of 2012 it was announced that Rathbone would be taking a leave of absence, which is now permanent, following the announcement of his girlfriend’s pregnancy. The next month, a link on the band’s Twitter account revealed that Rathbone and his lawyers had informed the band that the name “100 Monkeys” could no longer be used by the remaining members. The official website for 100 Monkeys then had to be closed down and band member Lawrence Abrahms left, leaving just two members from the original line-up remaining. The band has since found replacements for the former band members. We wonder if they saw Rathbone’s latest film, Breaking Dawn: Part 2? / Issue 145 - September 2018
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