The latest in our Anyone Can Play Guitar series - when celebrities give music a go
In true ACPG spirit, we turn to Hollywood (once again) for unlikely (or now likely) music inspiration. Compared to Gosling, Crowe, Reeves, Willis, Cera and Bacon, with just one album to his name, Michael Chiklis is a relative newcomer to the club of Hollywood-luminaries-turned-Almost Famous. His debut album, ‘Influence’, only dropped late in 2016. A “classic rock album” in the familiar way most white, male, 40+ actors seem to create music, MCB (the Michael Chiklis Band, obviously) expectedly tip a deferential cap to old-school icons like Queen, Zeppelin and Bowie.
So far, so what, but ever the consummate actor, Chiklis marries those traditional influences with a bit of silver screen sparkle as he channels his inner William “D-Fens” Foster on ‘My Gun’ – a track that combines Chiklis portraying a character that’s about to embark on a shooting spree. Of course, this isn’t a concept track without a purpose – there’s an admirable aim of starting discourse around the connection between mental illness and gun violence in America – but it gets a little lost in the try-hard backdrop of shooting news reports and the tabbed guitar lines you’d expect to hear at any Thursday open mic night.
There’s also no little sense of irony in the fact that Chiklis has made an award-winning career of portraying the kind of hard-nosed, gun-toting, and often corrupt, cop you see littering those same social media and local US news reports, but the positive intent is there. That intent on the unabashed Stars ‘n’ Stripes patriotism of ‘Til I Come Home’ – an ode to the US Armed Forces currently serving around the world – is no less subtle, nor is the album’s first single, ‘In Front of Your Eye’, where Chiklis’ briefly morphs into one-time Creed frontman Scott Stapp.
Elsewhere, his enthusiasm is endearing with his liner notes speaking of stories about the time he was so enamoured with watching The Boss for the first time, he rushed home to write the Springsteen-inspired ‘Run To You’, or his burning desire to pay tribute to “the British rockers!” like Peter Gabriel, The Police and David Bowie with ‘The Show’.
None of it makes ‘Influence’ memorable by any means but one look at Chiklis’ beaming face on his live rendition of ‘Til I Come Home’ also shows that it’s not a vanity project either – ultimately, Chiklis just wants you to give MCB a chance. “There’s been a number of actors, let’s face it, who have put out records that aren’t very good.” He’s right.