Sin City Presents Magazine August 2017 Volume 4 Issue 8 - Page 31

restaurant. Seeing my dad do theatre was great because I saw how you could move people on a stage, live, in real time and if you weren't there that night, it never happened. Also, a lot of our "extended family" friends were performers...actors, singers, I didn't feel like I was a total weirdo being a musician kid like I might have if I was the son of a policeman or something.

What was your first professional acting gig, and your first professional gig as a musician?

My first professional music gig was funny. I was 10 years old and sang in my school choir. A singer named Carol Lawrence was recording a song called "Tell All the World About Love.” She was married to Robert Goulet at the time. She wanted four kid singers to back her, but she only had her two sons, Chris and Mike (I think) Goulet and the producer's daughter to sing. She needed a fourth. The producer came to my school and asked my choir teacher to recommend someone and she recommended me. It was my first time in a real studio with real headphones and free food and snacks. We sang into overheard mics. At one point, I leaned in hard and sang one word super loud so you could hear it was me. You can hear it on the record! Later, she was invited to sing it on the "Jerry Lewis Telethon,” so I sang it on there with her. It was my first time on TV. Backstage, there were a lot of handicapped kids. A kid with two hooks for arms showed me how he ate popcorn. There were tables and tables of free McDonald's hamburgers, all wrapped up in the old school blue wrappers. I never saw anything like that in my life. I thought I died and went to heaven.

After that, it was a lot of club shows in New York City. At one point as a teenager, I was in many different bands at the same time. I was in a ska-rasta band in Manhattan and a speed metal band in The Bronx at the same time. My first real professional gig as an adult was playing bass for Susanna Hoffs from "The Bangles" in 1991. We toured with Don Henley. That was my first professional gig.

My first professional acting gig was in a sitcom called "The Marshall Chronicles" that ran on ABC for just a few episodes. I was about 23. I played a fast talking, weird kid from the Bronx who was in detention in high school. I had just moved to LA from New York where I had spent years hanging out in the Bronx and I did talk a lot, so it wasn't a stretch. Adam Sandler was in the guest cast. He was just a club comic then. What freaked me out was that it was at Universal Studios in front of a live, studio audience. It was terrifying. My agents were in the audience as were some friends. On taping day, I blew my first line, but we reset and then it was smooth sailing from there. I got the laughs I needed to get. After we finished, it was 1 a.m. and a buddy took me out to Jerry's Deli for a celebratory pastrami sandwich. It was the last pastrami sandwich I ever ate.

You were cast on two popular television shows "Beverly Hills 90210," and then "The Heights." What was it like being a member of the Spelling empire. Any interesting stories from those days?

It was a great honor to have been part of the Spelling family. Aaron really did consider you part of his extended family when you were working for him. He would invite you to his house all the time. I never took him up on it because it was so intimidating, but he was always very, very nice to me. The auditioning process for "The Heights" took forever. Many callbacks. Very "American Idol"-like. They just keep whittling down people until it winds up you and one other person. It was very stressful. In the middle of the final callbacks, I got a call from Roger Manning who was in the band Jellyfish at the time. He said that they were looking for a replacement guitar player for Jason Falkner and my name came up and would I be interested in flying up to San Francisco to jam with them? Jellyfish were a favorite band then, so it was extremely difficult to tell him that I couldn't because I'm in the final stages of auditioning for a TV series that I may or may not get, but I couldn't quit now. He understood. I said to myself, "I will kick myself if I don't get this show and I passed up Jellyfish" but I got the show. My buddy, Eric Dover got the Jellyfish gig and I saw him play live with them and he was the perfect fit. Doing "The Heights" was my first experience with massive fame. The kind where you can't walk down the street or go to a mall without being mobbed. Being on television every week is powerful.