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Music and comedy make for a risky formula, easily veering into cheesy, been-there-done-that film territory. But in his new TV series, Wedding Band, actor Brian Austin Green exemplifies how to pull it off with spunk.
Green portrays Tommy, front man of a musical foursome called Mother of the Bride who graces every event from country weddings to birthday parties to bar mitzvahs.
Moonlighting as law-abiding career men Monday to Friday and “weekend rock gods” otherwise, guitarist Eddie (Peter Cambor), drummer Barry (Derek Miller) and bassist Stevie (Harold Perrineau) are a refreshingly down-to-earth troupe — despite critics’ comparison to Adam Sandler’s The Wedding Singer (1998) — who genuinely have one another’s backs.
Only when every wedding guest — “including the nerds,” supplies Green — has as much fun as the bride and groom is their job done.
“Our characters’ motto is: We’re gonna make it the big day for everyone. And if that means the woman that nobody is talking to, that’s sitting in the back corner, we make sure that by the end of the night she’s dancing, she’s having fun and maybe she’s going home with the next future ex,” Green explained in a phone interview with The Jakarta Post.
Pyrotechnics, confetti canons and raining rainbow-colored condoms from the ceiling at a bar mitzvah to symbolize manhood are just a few of the goodies in the band’s bag of party tricks.
The son of country musician George Green and musically inclined since youth, Green, a one-time rapper, perceives his new lead role as a fortuitous second chance to dabble in music following the flop of his sole studio album One Stop Carnival (1996).
Green is adamant about dispelling any notion that Mother of the Bride milks laughs by doing parodied covers
“Our goal as a band is to be the most kick-ass wedding band that has ever existed and to make versions of songs that people would want to buy and listen to. The music side of it is not a joke.”
The band’s infectious remakes of mainstream hits, such as Nelly’s “Hot In Herre”, Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” and Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” are not only surprisingly wedding reception-ready (having been stripped of expletives, of course) but are downloadable on iTunes.
“I think it’s really easy when you’re doing comedy to get caught up in trying to make everybody laugh and you lose track of reality. With this show we push ourselves to be honest and real in every moment,” says Green.
Though proficient in the piano and drums since childhood, Green had some difficulty mastering Tommy’s rhythm guitar.
“We spent about two-and-a-half months in the studio rehearsing and recording,” Green says of Wedding Band’s preproduction. “As a shortcut I tried to figure out how the guitar related to the piano. I realized at one point there is just no similarity; it’s like learning a completely different language.”
As a commitment-phobic serial dater, Green’s character, Tommy, is only too happy to take his pick of nubile bridesmaids at each gig he plays; however, at no point does this detract from his focus as a musician.
“This is somebody’s big day; this is the day that somebody will remember for the rest of their lives. So to him, it’s a really huge responsibility to make sure that it truly is that day. It’s the one thing that he actually takes seriously in life,” Green says of the happy-go-lucky Tommy. “Aside from that, hopefully the drinks are free and there are a bunch of wedding party guests that he can hang out with after.”
Green earned his acting stripes portraying David Silver on Beverly Hills 90210 (1990), the archetypal misfit grappling with adolescent permutations in an elitist high school where social standing is dictated by clothing labels and sports cars.
Of his own North Hollywood high school experience, Green shares: “I was a nerd. I didn’t have any friends. I was in band — marching band to be even more specific. I was in jazz band also — but marching band?!” Green laughs good-naturedly. “I was 5’4” for most of high school and I played the quads, which probably weighed half of my own body weight at the time. But I was pretty popular,” he quips sarcastically. “Ladies love jazz band and marching band guys.”
Despite no silver screen credits, Green’s résumé lists roles as varied as any actor could hope for. Green starred as Resistance fighter Derek Reese in the sci-fi TV series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, as a protégé for protagonist John Connor (Thomas Dekker), a young boy who spearheads a time-traveling crusade to annihilate supercomputers that will one day declare war on humankind.
Fox did not renew the show for a third season; however, cross-country fan campaigns inveigled Syfy channel to obtain rights for all 31 episodes in 2011.
In 2010, Green appeared in Season 7 of Desperate Housewives as the (mostly shirtless) love interest of Bree Van De Kamp (Marcia Cross).
“I think age and having children have made me more honest, which I think people like to see,” Green remarks of his growth as an actor. “I’m happy that I have made family the most important [thing] and really kept this as just my career. At the end of the day it’s a character on a TV show, and TV shows come and go.”
When asked if Wedding Band ever reminds him of his own 2010 nuptials to Transformers star Megan Fox, Green confesses, “We didn’t have a wedding band. We had the ocean. And ocean is the best wedding band ever. Nothing can put you to sleep quite like the ocean.”
The pair wed in a hush-hush sunset ceremony on a Hawaiian beach, with Green’s son, Kassius, from a former relationship with actress Vanessa Marcil, as sole witness.
“It was sort of us and the ocean and a man with a conch shell. That was our entire wedding party.”
Despite no soundtrack at his own ceremony, Green cites “(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life” from Dirty Dancing (1987) as his favorite wedding song.
“It’s nice to not have to be single and date and hope to find somebody that maybe I’ll connect with,” Green says of getting hitched. “It’s nice that I have somebody to share everything with.”
Green’s wife, screen siren Megan Fox, makes a cameo appearance in Episode 2 of Wedding Band. The new series is aired every Friday at 8:30 p.m. first and exclusively on beTV.
“It was a really good time, surprisingly. We didn’t kill each other and we laughed about it afterward,” Green confides with respect to sharing the screen with his spouse.
— Photos courtesy of beTV