A Star Is Born

B-Sides explores whether actors can really sing, downloads some Pixies goodness and has some devilish words for Bleeding Through

Actor-turned-singer phenomenon

In the wake of Jamie Foxx's Billboard-chart-topping Unpredictable, it's oh-so-easy to forget where the actor-turned-singer phenomenon truly began: Jack freakin' Wagner! Here, B-Sides pits him against the poseurs.

Jack Wagner
Choice acting gig: Melrose Place (Dr. Peter Burns)
Music: Solo artist, four albums
eBay value: Lighting Up The Night (import CD), $110
Wagnerism: Originally tied to his General Hospital band, Riff Raff, Wagner broke free with that consummate '80s hit single, "All I Need."

Robert Downey Jr.
Choice acting gig: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Harry Lockhart)
Music: Solo artist, one album
eBay value: The Futurist (CD), $5
Wagnerism: Between his liberal replacement of s's with z's ("Little Clownz") and his Phil Collins-ish emoting, I've gotta wonder if dude's been speedballin' again.

Jared Leto
Choice acting gig: My So-Called Life (Jordan Catalano)
Music: Vocals/guitar, 30 Seconds to Mars, two albums
eBay value: A Beautiful Lie (CD), $11.26
Wagnerism: Maybe if Jordan Catalano had fronted this cookie-cutter distortion band at Liberty High, Angela would have fallen for Brian Krakow instead.

Jennifer Love Hewitt
Choice acting gig: Party of Five (Sarah Reeves)
Music: Solo artist, four albums
eBay value: Barenaked (CD), $5.72
Wagnerism: Why bother ripping on her nasal voice when there are lyrics like this: "There were lasers and computers and living in space/The '90s kids' dream is for the whole human race/My dream for the '90s/We'll make it come true/This world will be a better place/For me and you."

Billy Bob Thornton
Choice acting gig: Bad Santa (Willie)
Music: Solo artist, three albums
eBay value: Hobo (CD), $7.54
Wagnerism: Sounds just like Tom Waits — although I'm not sure that's a compliment when you're not Tom Waits.

John Corbett
Choice acting gig: Sex and the City (Aidan Shaw)
Music: Solo artist, two albums
eBay value: "Ain't No Trouble To Me" (mp3), $0.99
Wagnerism: For the first time ever, I'm OK with Carrie dumping this Toby Keith disciple.

Marla Sokoloff
Choice acting gig: Full House (Gia Mahan)
Music: Solo artist, MySpace (www.myspace.com/marlasokoloff)
eBay value: N/A
Wagnerism: I've believed in this girl's musical talents since she and Stephanie formed the band Girl Talk and played Ace of Base at the talent show.

William Shatner
Choice acting gig: Star Trek (Captain Kirk)
Music: Solo artist, two albums
eBay value: Has Been (CD) for $12.34
Wagnerism: None! Shatner is the shit-ner!

Juliette Lewis
Choice acting gig: Natural Born Killers (Mallory Knox)
Music: Vocalist, Juliette & the Licks, two albums
eBay value: You're Speaking My Language (CD), $3.54
Wagnerism: She's trying so desperately to be hardcore like Joan Jett or Karen O. But it's like, hey, remember when she guest-starred on The Wonder Years?

Eddie Murphy
Choice acting gig: Coming to America (Prince Akeem)
Music: Solo artist, three music albums
eBay value: How Could It Be (CD), $36.01
Wagnerism: My. Girl. Wants. To. Party all the time! Party all the ti-i-ime!

Minnie Driver
Choice acting gig: Good Will Hunting (Skylar)
Music: Solo artist, one album
eBay value: Everything I've Got in My Pocket (CD), $11
Wagnerism: Once, my brother thought he was going to see a band called Minnie Driver, but then, it was actually Minnie Driver. He was refused a refund.

Patrick Swayze
Choice acting gig: Dirty Dancing (Johnny Castle)
Music: Solo artist, three songs
eBay value: "She's Like the Wind" (7") for $1.76
Wagnerism: With a single like this, no wonder his Ghost attacker took him to be a cream puff.


Cheers to Frank Black. Songs by this solo artist and Pixies frontman were the first anywhere to be sold legally on the Internet. That was eight years ago on eMusic.com, which now boasts the largest collection of independent music on the Web. To celebrate the sale of its millionth mp3, the site has released Hey-Live Pixies, an exclusive collection of highlights from the band's recent reunion tour. Along with the usual fan favorites, including "Where Is My Mind?" and both versions of "Wave of Mutilation," the digital double album includes a few tracks that likely didn't make it to the Pixies show you might have seen, making it well worth signing up for eMusic's free trial.

To: Bleeding Through
From: The Grim Reaper
cc: Between the Buried and Me, Everytime I Die, Haste the Day
Subject: Setting the Record Straight

Hey, Bleeding Through — I wanted to make sure you received this in advance of your show at Pop's. Look, I know you assume that I love your music, that I swoon over lyrics like "You're the angel with the perfect wings that I'll fucking break and take you with me. " And while those words would look pretty sweet embossed onto my business cards, I've got to break it to you, boys: The Grim Reaper's just not into all that angst . Death's what I do, sure, but I don't let my work define me. I don't like mausoleums, shards of glass or vengeance killings. I like backgammon, sangria and those puppies with the wrinkly faces! In your 2003 song "Mutilation," you sing, "I've felt your grip of eternity." Um, correction: I don't believe we've ever met. In fact, you're much more likely to find me cracking a Corona at a Buffett show than smearing on eyeliner for a night of songs like "Hemlock Society" and "Love in a Hail of Gunfire." I thought about getting my lawyers involved, but really, that's not how G-Reaps does things. I'd rather spend my time listening to Barry Manilow, and lately I've been insisting that, in order to avoid the icy hand of Me, other folks do the same. Yeah, that's right — how'd you think Manilow got to the No. 1 Billboard spot?

Well, I digress. Have a good show, guys. Consider singing about those wrinkly puppies sometime, or else I'll — aw, just playin'. Later!

Attached: Pics of me in Cancun! :)

7 p.m. Tuesday, February 28, at Pop's (1403 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, Illinois). $15. Call 618-274-6720 for more information.

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