[IMG:L]When you think of music and glamorous awards nights, the Grammys are probably the first thing that comes to mind, but this year it’s TV’s Emmy Awards that are all about rockin’ the house. Justin Timberlake
just won an award for “Dick in a Box,” Kayne West
’s performing, Duran Duran
’s the house band at the Entertainment Tonight/People Magazine afterparty and John Legend
’s headlining the TV Guide bash, but it’s Legend
’s opening act that’s generating the most musical buzz: The Band From TV.
After making its debut at last year’s TV Guide afterparty, the Band From TV has taken Hollywood by storm despite a decided derth of accomplishments on the band mates’ musical resumes. That’s because the group is comprised of an all-star assembly of television stars: House
’s Emmy winning doc Hugh Laurie
’ mind-reading cop Greg Grunberg
(drums), Desperate Housewives
’ hunky plumber James Denton
(guitar), Cashmere Mafia
star Bonnie Somerville
(vocals) and former Bachelor Bob Guiney
Hollywood.com rang up the sort-of-supergroup’s founder, Grunberg
(who got the band together in an effort to raise money for the UCLA Epilepsy wing, where his oldest son Jake has been treated) between takes on the Heroes
set for an exclusive preview of the Band From TV’s much-anticipated performance – even Simon Cowell
’s a fan! Hollywood.com: How ready are you guys? Do you go in there with any nerves at all? – maybe more than going to the Emmys?
Last year I was really, really nervous. The cool thing about that night is it takes all the nerves away from the Emmys and that stuff. I think that's what we all like. Because we're thinking about performing more than we're thinking of actually going to the Emmys. I have the songs in my head. Last year we had different songs than we have this year. We have different guests coming up with us. I'm nervous, but once I get up there, it just all goes away and we just have so much fun. We just don't care whether we're prefect or not. We just have a great time. [IMG:R]HW: What does it feel like to be rocking out on stage, looking down at a sea of celebrity faces in the audience?
It's so funny that you say that. We were actually reminiscing. We just went through a bunch of rehearsals and we were talking about how last year, we looked out at that. I saw the Grey's Anatomy
cast and I saw Simon Cowell
rocking out. It 's weird. It's surreal. Last year was smaller. There was about 500 people, I think. This year is going to be like 1,300 people. Hopefully they'll all wash together in just one big sea of dancing. It was cool. Last year we got off stage, and our guitar player passed by Simon Cowell
, and he said Simon
actually said to him “Man, you guys are really pretty good. That's a lot of fun.” Chris Kelly, our guitar player, said he was really disappointed. He was waiting for Simon
to say “Well, you were little pitchy.” Everybody has a good time that night because no one's expecting us to be even decent. They're expecting it to be original tunes that aren't very good. It just smells like a train wreck when you think about it. We play covers that are fun. We're really pretty good. What we lack in talent, we make up for in just enthusiasm and fun. That's what it's all about. We're raising money for charity. For us, it's rock n' rock fantasy camp, and everybody has a good time. HW: Let's run though the band members, and you tell me how they fit into the classic band archetype.
We definitely have a bunch of different genres of music that are covered. What's cool about each member is they bring a different, eclectic kind of musical taste. Hugh Laurie
– it's kind of predictable he would represent the British invasion and Joe Cocker
and that kind of role. He has such a passion for soul music and rhythm and blues. So he will find music that shocks us. His suggestions are so smart. My idea for a great song for our band is one that makes you feel like you're walking through a party and you know everybody at the party and you're just kind of like “Hey, what's happening?” Just that feeling of “Everything's good. We're celebrating.” That's what every song should represent, in my mind. We have a couple of songs that Hugh
has suggested that are just shockers. “What? He said to play that song?” And then we play it, it's pretty good. So he represents that. Bonnie Somerville
, she brings the Janis Joplin
, soulful, really strong vocal songs for the band. She knocks it out of the park. Jamie Denton
definitely brings the Mellencamp
and country vibe for the songs. He does a couple of Springsteen
tunes, a couple that Springsteen
has covered. Bob Guiney
is a guy that you think of as The Bachelor
but he had a band way before that. He's got a couple of albums out. He has the biggest heart in the world pumping on stage and he's got a great voice and he can play. He's got a great range. He can go high. He loves Journey
. He loves like that kind of stuff, but he can play anything. We're covering a Maroon 5
tune that night. We've pretty much covered the spectrum of fun music. HW: And you have a brand new member this time out?
The newest member of the band is Jesse Spencer
. He's going to be a permanent member of the band. He plays the fiddle and it's great. The guy's unbelievably talented and no one knows. [IMG:L]HW: Where do you see your role?
I bring a lot of these sort of Blues Brothers
, kind of. We definitely have a flavor for the band. It's not that out there on so many different levels. I love the Blues Brothers
' stuff. I'm the heartbeat of the band. I'm on the drums. I try and keep the energy going. I'm in the back…When I'm on the mike, it's mainly just to keep the crowd going and get people fired up. I sing a couple of songs. I don't want to give away what I sing. There's one thing that people are going to be like “What?” They won't believe it, because I'm not a singer, but I fake it pretty good. Then we have a couple of really, really exciting guests that get up with us this year. We've done so many shows. We did the Heroes
wrap party and Shelia E got up with us and the entire cast of Heroes
pretty much took their turn, one at a time, getting up. It's not karaoke. People get up, they're really into it, the band's really tight but not perfect, so we put our own spin on every song and change it just a little bit. It's familiar enough and accurate enough that people are like “Wow, this is pretty great.” It's not a sloppy garage band type of thing. This year we have a couple of guests that people are going to be shocked that they're up there. I mean, it's shocking enough that you see Dr. House jamming on the keyboard. HW: Who's got the best singing chops in the Heroes cast?
Definitely Hayden [Panetierre]
, for sure. She's got a great voice. She played with us. We played the Stadium Gate down in Orange County – James Denton
owns part of a minor league baseball team, so we played in front of 4,000 people. She was just amazing. She was so good and so into it. Of the Heroes
cast, I would say Hayden
, but in the band, it's really a tie between the two: Bonnie
is so good and Bob
is just surprisingly good. HW: How far are you going to take this rock n' roll fantasy camp? Are we going to see an album? Are we going to be downloading anything off iTunes? Where is this going?
Yeah. Here's the problem: I started this thing just to get on stage and raise money for charity. But once you get that machine going and you get the attention that you always hoped for, it suddenly becomes a job. It's something we all fear. This is kind of an escape from our 9 to 5 jobs. We try to just keep it as loose as possible. Meanwhile, there's a guy that came along who I've known my whole life. He's an investment guy. He saw us at the Avalon [in Hollywood] performing. He's like “Oh, my God. I can really do something with this. We can raise a lot of money for charity.” So we do have DVD/CD coming out, we recorded, did live shows for it. It's really an incredible production value, as far as the camera work and stuff. We don't have lasers or anything like that. I just listened to it. It's fantastic. It's called Hoggin’ All The Covers
. It's going to be coming out toward the end of the year, probably November. They're making a deal right now with iTunes, and Vestron, Wal-Mart and Starbucks and all those. BandFromTV.org
has all the information on the band, on MySpace and stuff. But that's real exciting. Then we have two songs in the House
soundtrack that just came out. I don't want to get any crazier than that. HW: What kind of offers have been coming in?
We've been offered all kinds of things. I was just on an Asian tour with Heroes
doing this promotional thing for a week. We were in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore. In each place, I'm not kidding you, no less than two incredibly wealthy people asked me to play at a party for them. I said “Well, we don't perform for less than $200,000.” They didn't even blink. They're like “Okay. I'll send the G5 and we'll pick you up.”' I'm like “What the hell???” It's that kind of stuff we would love to do. I would love to play Vegas. I know the guys would love to play Branson, Missouri or Vegas, something like that, where we can really make a splash and raise a lot of money and awareness for all these charities and then come back home. HW: Have you trashed a hotel room or green room yet?
Fortunately, we're not those guys – but Bonnie
is. We'd be like “Yeah!” and then we go backstage and change a diaper. We're pretty boring. [IMG:R]HW: And just to bring it all full circle in your life, with you and your close pal J.J. Abrams, who’s working on the new Star Trek film: any chance of you performing a musical number with William Shatner?
That would be the coolest thing ever. It's not going to happen. It's not going to happen. I'm going to tell J.J.
you said that. That's funny.