Brian Austin Green (Desperate Housewives, Beverly Hills 90210) and Melora Hardin (The Office), two of the stars of Wedding Band, recently spoke to the press about their new show, how their roles came about, and whether or not they always wanted to be singers.
The series follows four friends—three single, one married, all with day jobs—who escape their daily stress and responsibilities by playing “weekend rock gods” in Seattle’s premier wedding and events band, Mother of the Bride. This hour-long comedy series also stars Harold Perrineau (Lost, Oz), Peter Cambor (NCIS: LA), Derek Miller (Secret Girlfriend), Jenny Wade (The Good Guys), and Kathryn Fiore (MADtv).
Jump with me to read what Brian and Melora had to say.
On whether or not he knew all the songs before starting the show
Brian Austin Green: For the most part, I knew the melodies, but the…most of the songs, I got to be honest, I…when I got the lyric sheets, my first thoughts were, oh, those are the words… [That’s not what] we’ve been singing. When you have, you know, REM’s, you know, End of the World as We Know It, and you go what is he talking about? You know, you have—I think the only thing anybody ever knew was, you know, it’s the end of the world as we know it and the rest of the words were completely unknown. So…
Melora Hardin: Da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da.
Brian: Yes. I – and you know what, I’ve always had a bad habit of that. I’m a huge music lover—I grew up listening to it—but I’m one of those…just because I play, I play piano and drums, I connect way more with melodies usually than the lyrics. And so the lyrics are usually the last thing that I learn, whereas a lot of other people I know really sit and study the lyrics first and the melody is kind of the last thing. So I didn’t know any of them. That’s – if that answers the question. I knew pretty much none of them.
Melora: Well, it’s – the [short answer is] I didn’t know any of the songs. Yes.
Brian: None of them but the chords.
On how an hour-long comedy is different than a drama and normal half-hour comedy
Melora: I think Brian and I both have done sort of sitcom stuff. You know, The Office isn’t filmed like a sitcom, but I’ve done that traditional sitcom way of making a comedy. And that’s, you know, that’s sort of like the crème de la crème is in terms of lifestyle for an actor because, you know, you kind of do all these rehearsal days and then you have one long day. When you’re making a drama, an hour-long drama, you have very long days and but you also have to be funny.
So I think it, to me, it – what’s nice about the show, and one of the really, really wonderful elements in it being an hour, is that you get the comedy, but you also get that fabulous arc of the dramatic arc. You have time to get into the characters, you have time to get into the storyline, and it doesn’t just have to be (joke, hit, joke, hit, joke, hit, joke, hit). So I really like that a lot and I – and I enjoyed it. But you do get – you do have that drama schedule of having to be there for very long days.
Brian: Yes, the thing though that I really enjoy about our show especially is that coming from dramas first, I mean, I did do a sitcom and it’s a lot of fun, but there’s – I really enjoy, and the comedy I’ve always loved watching even growing up, was I love comedy that are real, their real dramatic, you know, honest moments in funny situations. I mean, I like seeing people struggle through situations that are just absurd and laughing at them, you know.
And I feel like our show is written in a very serious way. I mean, we – we’re honest about the things that we do and our lives are just crazy enough that it’s – I think it’s entertaining and it’s funny. But it’s never setup, punch line, which is hard to do.
Melora: Yes, and it’s a whole different style of comedy.
Brian: It’s a hard thing to do for an hour especially.
Melora: Yes. Exactly. No, it’s all based on truth.
Brian: And you guys were the best at it on The Office. That was like the absolute, you know, that’s kind of the bar of delivering.
Melora: Well, that is, I mean, but it also is – it was unique in that it really was the first one to kind of come along that was really, I mean, since like Cheers, you know, that was sort of like really based in reality and sort of that mockumentary style.
And that really worked well for me, too. I mean, Brian and I have had similar backgrounds in that we – I think we both really believe that great comedy, just as great drama, definitely comes from the truth of the moment and it’s always funny, you know, truth is always funnier than fiction and trying to get to that truth is always going to make the best joke, you know.
Brian: Like how funny this moment has been answering a comedy question in the most dramatic way possible. You see how it rolls, you know, it’s very – one just lends itself to the other. It really does.
On the fact that the band is actually good so the comedy is not laughing at lack of talent
Brian: Well, I, again, I think the answer lends itself to what we were just talking about. You know, we can play comedy songs, which only kind of last for so long, or we can stick with the element of what the show is, which is that, you know, our job is to make this believable, our job is to make this band honestly the most kickass wedding band anybody has ever seen.
And I’m just saying that alone there’s comedy in that. Like yes, it’s, you know, they’re the – they’re a stadium style wedding band. I mean, you just never – you never hear or see anything like that, let alone sit at a wedding, hear a – hear these amazing grand songs, and have pyrotechnics and, you know, and confetti cannons going off. And throwing guitar picks out to the crowd.
Melora: Right, and they’ve got Rutherford breathing down their neck that it better be damn good. And they are, you know, they are. And that’s why she takes them on in the first place. And they care so much about the event in a whole other way than Roxie cares about the event, so I think, you know, but I’m glad you recognize that because they are awesome.
And when I looked at the – I mean, obviously on the set, but when I looked at the episodes I was just like, you know, there’s – it’s so interesting to me that the show has all this music in it but it feels really fresh and it’s actually kind of fresh because it’s using music in just the way that music is. There’s just a – it’s just not like – it’s not like we’re breaking into song, you know, like Glee does, like musical style, but it’s just using music, you know, in the storyline in a truthful, honest way. So yes, anyway.
Brian: And on top of that, too, Adam Schlesinger who does our music is…he’s so gifted at what he does.
Melora: Amazing. And Steven Gold.
Brian: Yes, and Steven Gold. They have an amazing ability to take something like a KISS song at Oktoberfest, you know, so you’re singing these party anthems but with a kick drum and a trombone and an accordion, but still doing it in a serious enough way as a musician that aside from laughing because we’re wearing lederhosen and you’re still thinking this song is awesome.
This is really – I kind of want to hear this version again. It’s really fun, you know. And that’s what music does. I mean, music is – it carries so much emotion to it. And when it’s done by people that really enjoy doing it, I think it comes across just in watching and listening to it. And that’s what we strive for.
Melora: Right. And the way they recreate it, too, because they’re so skilled at that. I mean, I don’t know which episodes you guys have seen, but I sing in the show a couple times and Brian and I do a duet and but they did a – I did a version of “Get Ur Freak On,” which is a Missy Elliot song, which is basically kind of rap song when she does it, and they turned it into a jazz trio for me, which is extraordinary. And I just – I was just like baffled when they sent me the, you know, the guide track. I was like oh my god, I just could have never thought of what they did. It was so brilliant.
Brian: It’s scary when you pick up a script and you see something worded that way. You know, Roxie Rutherford in a jazz club singing “Get Ur Freak On.” And then all of a sudden you get the CD from Adam and Steve and you hear it. And it was really a nice experience to put in a CD for every episode and hear what they had been working on because it really kept the excitement going. I mean, we would the first thing we would do the next morning is everybody would get to set and every time we ran into each other, oh my – did you hear the version of, you know, “Hollaback Girl?” Did you hear your version of “Get Ur Freak On?” Oh my god, it’s so funny, it’s so good.
And it’s nice for us because we love music.
On whether or not they grew up wanting to be a singer
Melora: Oh good god. Absolutely. I mean, please. I mean, I was – I started singing and writing songs from the time I was, you know, I think my mom says I wrote my first song when I was two. I, you know, I do remember sitting in front of their big plate glass window in Santa Monica and strumming my brother’s guitar until I had a huge blood blister on my thumb and did not even stop. I just continued on in my little diaper singing about a girl named coughing (Jeannie) was the title of the song and it was like coughing (Jeannie) sits by the window, and, you know, she’s so sick, she coughs.
So I have had the fantasy of that and me becoming Judy Garland or Barbara Streisand many times and became good at imitating them and of course the hairbrush did a very good job of substituting for the microphone.
And yes, no, I mean, I did. I don’t know about Brian. But if Brian did, I think it would have been fun for us to do it together in the mirror as little, like, little kids.
Brian: Yes. I…the last thing I ever in a million years thought of doing was being the lead singer of something. I’ve always been, like, really insecure in doing it and never – I’ve never really sang with, you know, had a singing coach or I – I grew up playing drums and piano and so I always kind of assumed when I was little that I would grow up being a drummer in somebody’s band.
But I think there’s always that part of everyone that sees rock stars on stage and thinks that must be really cool.
So in coming in and doing the show, I got to say it was really intimidating at first the thought of – I was excited that I booked the show, but at the same time I was thinking, man, I’m going to have to go in a studio. I mean, I’m going to have to actually sing and do it and, you know, am I ready for it? I don’t know if I am.
And Adam and Steve were really helpful in the studio and I think the more I kind of went in under the – sort of in with the thought in mind of it’s not me singing, it’s the character singing and Tommy is the greatest wedding band singer of all time.
So that’s how I have to step in the vocal booth and do it, like, you know, with all of that kind of confidence. And I think once I sort of found that groove it became a lot easier and a lot more fun. And I actually enjoy doing it now because I – I’m not judging myself because I don’t go in and sing as myself. If I did, I would probably…I’d shit myself.
On how their roles came about
Melora: Well, for me, they sent me the script and I actually thought it was very funny, but I was not completely certain that it was the right thing for me to do next. I actually then had a meeting, Mike Tollin and Bryan Gordon, our director of the pilot, you know, said please, please come and meet with us and let us talk to you about the character.
And so I did and, you know, just sort of really let them kind of unfold for me the picture of what they thought she was going to be and the shoes she was going to fill in the larger scheme of things. And so everything they were saying was appealing to me and more and more, you know, attractive. And then as I heard sort of their thoughts on where her storyline might go and how her character may develop over time, I got more and more excited.
And then I started sort of saying, well, you know, these are some of the things that I’m doing and that I want to be doing and that I, you know, I’m interested in doing. I’m a singer, I’m a songwriter, I love the music element of the show, you know, I’ve made three records, and, you know, I directed my first movie and I’ve directed a one-woman show and I have, like, you know. And I was sort of saying these things thinking and I’m a dancer and, you know, and I was sort of like I don’t know how much of that could work into the show, but these are things that I pursue actively all the time and they’re passions of mine.
And I even commented to Mike Tollin, our exec producer, on the set and I said, you know, so many times you bring up stuff like that and people kind of just sit back in their chair like with each thing like I’m a singer, oh, I’m a songwriter, ugh, I’m a director, ugh, oh I’m a dancer, ah, you know, and it gets worse and worse and worse. But I swear to god, with everything I said Mike Tollin leaned in closer and closer and closer and with everything thing I said he just was more and more excited and fully embraced all the things that I have to bring to the party.
And for me that’s really a place I want to be. You know, I want to be where I can be all that I can be, you know, to make a pun on the Army, but it’s really true. I really do. And I don’t want to be in a place where they’re saying, well, we’ll just take, you know, we’ll just take the green, but we don’t want the red, you know. We’ll take the, you know, we’ll take the black, we don’t want the white. So I just – I really loved that.
And I said to Mike, “Why did you, you know, why wasn’t that overwhelming to you or intimidating to you?” And he said, “Because I just figured that was absolutely perfect for Roxie Rutherford. And I loved it all and you’re extremely talented and I want to use all those things you’ve got to give.” And I was like, well, see, this is like a dream job, so there’s my story.
[Brian had accidentally dropped off the call, so Melora answered for him.]
Melora: I’m going to tell you how Brian got to the show really quickly because I know the story. No, I just – I will just tell you that I know that Brian – that they pursued him. He came to the thing. I think he loved Tommy, but then he read with a few different groups. I think they paired him up with a couple groups. And he said he came home and he was like that’s the group. Like if it’s that, you know, those are the guys. And I remember him saying that. Like if they don’t – if it’s not me and those guys, I don’t think I want to do the show because that is, you know, he could just feel the chemistry in the room, which I think is pretty cool.
That, you know, that always speaks to a show being really great. And I felt that too. We all felt that on the set. It just – it has a great chemistry between all the cast members and the band really has a great guy band feeling. So yes, I can just give you that little bit – much. I don’t know the rest of his story, but…