By Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times –
LOS ANGELES — Brian Austin Green pokes at a bowl of chicken and rice soup at the 101 Coffee Shop in Hollywood. The 39-year-old actor has a cold that he doesn’t want to pass on to his 6-week-old baby son, Noah.
“I’m too old for this sleeping three or four hours a night thing,” says Green of having a newborn in his life. Noah is his son with wife Megan Fox, but Green also has a 9-year-old son with former girlfriend Vanessa Marcil.
These days Green, who admits that he was quite the party guy in the past, says his priorities are to take it easy and to care for his family. This adult attitude is a far cry from the character, Tommy, that he plays on the new TV show “Wedding Band,” which premieres Saturday on TBS.
“He never evolved, he’s a permanent 17-year-old,” Green says of Tommy, who is 35 on the show and the lead singer of a wedding band called Mother of the Bride. “He’s the guy who — even though it hurts the next day — will never stop.”
Tommy is the perma-bachelor who anchors the four-piece band, which appears each episode to play well-executed cover songs. Joining Green in the band are actors Harold Perrineau (“Lost,” “Oz”), Peter Cambor (“NCIS: Los Angeles”) and Derek Miller (“Secret Girlfriend”).
The show’s premise falls squarely between the Adam Sandler movie “The Wedding Singer” and the Vince Vaughn-Owen Wilson bromance “Wedding Crashers,” with the biggest difference being an earnestness when it comes to the music on the part of “Wedding Band.” Mother of the Bride is not a joke band — they are bringing arena-rock to Holiday Inns and bland convention-center ballrooms across Seattle.
“It’s a genius idea,” says Green of the concept. “I don’t know why it hasn’t been done yet.”
Perhaps because pulling off a show like “Wedding Band” is more difficult than one might think.
For starters, it’s on basic cable, so the sex, boozing and faux obscenity-laced dialogue that lines the script has to be cleverly insinuated. And then there’s the task of making the musical moments authentic and not cheesy.
“We play the show as a drama,” explains Green. “When you try to yuck it up and make it funny, you’re breaking that fourth wall.”
It’s true that the funny moments in “Wedding Band” come from the drama arising from a sticky situation. For example, when Tommy takes his band mate’s young children to a strip club where strippers baby-sit them backstage while Tommy attends a bachelor party.
Or the time Tommy accidentally pops the breast implant of a bride, who happens to be his ex-girlfriend, right before she is due to walk down the aisle.
“When you tell stories to your friends, it’s always the worst possible situation or relationship that gets people laughing the hardest,” says Green. “Stuff like that is never funny when it’s happening, but you always know it will be later.”
Also responsible for a good portion of the show’s laughs are its female stars, Melora Hardin (“The Office”) and Jenny Wade (“The Good Guys”).
Hardin plays Roxie Rutherford, the hard-nosed owner of Seattle’s largest wedding planning company, and Wade is her nervous young employee. Hardin lends her character a cougar-like sexuality that borders on predatory, and she pulls no punches. Her devotion is infectious and hilarious and it seems to genuinely make the men on the show nervous.
Green is particularly proud of the ensemble nature of the cast and goes to great lengths to express his appreciation for everyone, including the bit players who serve as background in party scenes.
Green also has respect for composer and Fountains of Wayne bassist Adam Schlesinger, who pretty much plays all the instruments for the recordings of the songs that Mother of the Bride appears to play on the show.
Even though he never considered himself a singer, Green performs the vocals himself. He plays drums and piano and was raised in a musical family (his father, George Green, was a country musician). Green always thought he would end up becoming a drummer in a rock ‘n’ roll band, and he even went to school for music before acting became his full-time gig.
In 1996, when he was still starring on the hit show “Beverly Hills: 90210,” he released a hip-hop album called “One Stop Carnival” that met with harsh reviews.
“I think if I wasn’t on ‘90210’ it would have been looked at differently,” says Green of the album, adding that the experience was a tough one at the time.
Now, however, he’s just happy to be combining his two great loves in one show, but with a distinct bonus.
“I get to do music, but I get paid as an actor,” he says. “It’s not the hope of a check if all goes well.”