Charley Gallay, Getty Images Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert are stepping up to…
- Posted on Jul 26th 2012 3:00PM by Dan Reilly
"Let's point out the elephant in the room: Actor bands are not notoriously successful enterprises," he says, talking about Corporal, the New York-based rock trio he fronts. "I can't think of any. The closest thing to respectability maybe is Phantom Planet, Jason Schwartzman's band, or maybe Jared Leto's band [30 Seconds to Mars], but are we going to be Pavement? I don't think so."
Not that the "Boardwalk Empire" and "Revolutionary Road" star is going to give up on his lesser-publicized passion. Corporal has been around for years, since Shannon met drummer Ray Rizzo and guitarist Rob Beitzel in a production of Adam Rapp's off-broadway play Finer Noble Gases. In that play, the trio performed as part of the fictional group LESS, and a few years after the performances -- Shannon played bass and got "kicked out of the band" once his stint ended -- they decided to get back together and jam. As for the band name, Shannon says, "It's the rank above private, so that means you've accomplished a little something but not too much."
Shannon has always been interested in music, playing in his school's orchestra and jazz bands, something he started doing after school because he couldn't play sports.
"I know this'll sound obnoxious, but acting was very much an accident for me," he admits. "I didn't have like posters of Marlon Brando in my bedroom when I was growing up. I did have one band in high school but we could only play about four songs. Our band was called Jehovah's Suspects."
Even though he's been nominated for an Oscar and will find even more fame after his portrayal of General Zod in the upcoming Superman reboot, Shannon admits that he still struggles with performing as a musician.
"Honestly, as hard a profession as acting is, I think music is even harder," he says. "Acting, you're like a leech, because someone else does the hard part for you. They write it for you, then the director tells you what to do. You really just need to know how to pay attention, follow instructions. But music you're generating the whole thing. It takes a lot of courage.
"Mostly, I just try to enjoy it. You're living out a dream. You think of all the concerts you go to and you see the people up there, it looks like they're having the time of my life. You just dream, maybe, maybe one day that can be me. Then you go up there and you realize how horrifying it is and all the squawking about monitors over the years is, in fact, accurate. When you're in the audience, you're like, 'Why are they bitching about the monitors? Who cares?' and when you're up there, it's like 'Oh my god. I have no idea what's happening. I don't even know what song this is.' You have to do quite a few concerts before you can open your eyes while singing."
Though the band has finally released its first album, Glory, Shannon says he won't be able to tour behind it, save for a few small gigs. "Unfortunately, I'm pretty lassoed into this right now, the acting thing. Not that that's a bad thing," he says. "I should be so lucky, but it's like I already know what I'm doing for the next year and a half. It would be the type of decision that I would have to make it two years in advance."
While it will have to take a backseat for his other profession, Shannon hopes that the album will get the benefit of the doubt from music fans. "Ray Rizzo is a phenomenal musician and anybody would be lucky to play with that guy. I want people to know about him and to know about Rob and the band as a whole," he says. "I don't want to be Mike Shannon's freaky band that he does while he's not acting."
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