Having seen the first couple episodes of this fine new comedy series, the secret ingredient truly is the chemistry of the cast. TBS struck gold when it tapped to star in WEDDING BAND the talents of Brian Austin Green, Peter Cambor, Harold Perrineau, Derek Miller, Jenny Wade and Melora Hardin. Their layered performances make their characters feel simultaneously hilarious and very real. The show may feature a wedding band, but the genuine musical talent and awesome chemistry that makes this show addictive. Anyone who tunes in will be coming back for more. It is that good – and it is outrageously fun.
Brian Austin Green plays Tommy, the lead singer of the band and is known to be a “bad boy” with a good heart; and Melora Hardin plays Roxie Rutherford, owner of Rutherford Events and reluctant fan of the band. Tommy and Roxie may not agree on much, but they take their jobs of ensuring that joyful young couples and other celebrants have the time of their lives on their special day very seriously. Nothing gets in the way of a great song or the perfect event. In a recent press conference call co-stars Brian Austin Green and Melora Hardin shared what it has been like bringing their characters to life in the colorful world of TBS’ new television show WEDDING BAND.
Brian, as lead singer in WEDDING BAND, were these all songs that you knew ahead of time or did you have to learn some of them?
BRIAN: For the most part I knew the melodies, but most of the songs, I’ve got to be honest, when I got the lyric sheets my first thoughts were, “Oh, those are the words. That’s not what we’ve been singing.” Like when you hear REM’s “End of the World as We Know It” and you go, “What is he talking about?!” I think the only thing anybody ever knew was “it’s the end of the world as we know it” and the rest of the words were completely unknown. So I’ve always had a bad habit of that. Just as I’m a huge music lover, I grew up listening to it. But I’m one of those just because when I play — I play piano and drums — I connect way more with melodies usually than the lyrics. 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. I knew pretty much none of the songs.
Melora, what would you say for you was the most challenging part of preparing for your character?
MELORA: Brian Austin Green! No, my character’s so much fun. I mean, I don’t know if I would say that there was like a challenging part of the character. It’s always exciting. I would put it that it is challenging to kind of get all the different colors running through a character like her because she’s multidimensional and there’s a lot to bite into there, and she’s similar to Jan [of THE OFFICE] in that respect in that she’s rich. So it’s really that she’s very rich.
How is WEDDING BAND different from anything you both have done before in terms of how much work it is or just the way you do it?
MELORA: I think Brian and I both have done sitcom stuff. THE OFFICE isn’t filmed like a sitcom, but I’ve done that traditional sitcom way of making a comedy. And that’s sort of like the crème de la crème is in terms of lifestyle for an actor because 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, what’s nice about the show. One of the 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 enjoyed it. But 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 drama first. I mean, I did do a sitcom and it’s a lot of fun, but I really enjoy — and the comedy I’ve always loved watching even growing up — was I love comedy that are real. Their real dramatic honest moments are in funny situations. I like seeing people struggle through situations that are just absurd and laughing at them, and I feel like our show is written in a very serious way. I mean, we’re honest about the things that we do and our lives are just crazy enough that I think it’s entertaining and it’s funny. But it’s never setup and 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’s like the absolute bar of delivering.
MELORA: Well, it was unique in that it really was the first one to kind of come along, since like CHEERS, 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 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. Truth is always funnier than fiction and trying to get to that truth is always going to make the best joke.
BRIAN: Like how funny this moment has been answering a comedy question in the most dramatic way possible. You see how it rolls and one just lends itself to the other. It really does.
It seems like an important element of the show is that we’re not actually laughing at your guys’ talent, because there is talent really there.
BRIAN: I think the answer lends itself to what we were just talking about. 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 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 they’re at a stadium-style wedding band. I mean, you just never hear or see anything like that, let alone sit at a wedding, and hear these amazing grand songs, and have pyrotechnics and confetti cannons going off, and throwing guitar picks out to the crowd.
MELORA: And they’ve got Rutherford breathing down their neck that it better be damn good, and they are they are. That’s why she takes them on in the first place. They care so much about the event in a whole other way than Roxie cares about the event. I’m glad you recognize that because they are awesome. On the set, when I looked at the episodes I was just like it’s so interesting to me that the show has all this music in it but it feels really fresh. It’s actually kind of fresh because it’s using music in just the way that music is. There’s just it’s just not like we’re breaking into song like GLEE does, like musical style, but it’s just using music in the storyline in a truthful, honest way.
BRIAN: And on top of that, too, Adam Schlesinger who does our music, he’s so gifted at what he does.
MELORA: And Steven Gold.
BRIAN: Yes, and Steven Gold. They have an amazing ability to take something like a KISS song at Oktoberfest 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. I kind of want to hear this version again. It’s really fun. And that’s what music does. I mean, it carries so much emotion to it. 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 sing in the show a couple times and Brian and I do a duet and but 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. I was just like baffled when they sent me 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. Roxie Rutherford in a jazz club singing “Get Ur Freak On.” And then all of a sudden you get the CD from Adam and Steven and you hear it. 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, first thing we would do the next morning is everybody would get to set and every time we ran into each other and say, “Did you hear the version of 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 the music.
What would you say it’s like working with Harold Perrineau?
BRIAN: He’s like a Care Bear with nothing on his shirt. You know what I’m saying? He’s soft and cuddly – I mean, doesn’t he light up a room? That’s for sure.
MELORA: Yes. He needs to work on that. He’s a little dreamboat. And let me tell you, we’re going to get him up there in front of the mic because he’s got a gorgeous singing voice. I have to say, the boys, they all sound great. I mean, they get Derek up at some point — and Brian is being humble and sweet, but he really does sound amazing and he makes a fantastic lead singer, rock star image up there.
BRIAN: I’ll hold the mic stand and sing like I’m the shit, but Harold has a great voice. Harold has honey in his voice.
MELORA: He does. He’s got a great R&B-y thing going and its beautiful and he’s hot. He’s hot. I mean you’ll see in the pilot.
There seemed to be a bit of unspoken tension between Tommy and Rutherford in the first episode. Is there any chance of any romance between them?
BRIAN: I think there’s a chance of anything between Tommy and Rutherford. I wouldn’t take anything off the plate. I think anything is possible.
MELORA: They could kill each other, they could fall in love with each other.
BRIAN: They could. Yes.
MELORA: No, there’s a lot there for sure. It’s an interesting little dynamic.
BRIAN: Yes. I think it’s one of the things that makes the relationship fun. It’s kind of like the MOONLIGHTING aspect of the show. It’s the thing I always loved about that show is you can sort of have that underlying sexual tension, but never even have to go there and it plays really well. And then if we finally do, then it’s explosive and it’s sexy and it’s daring and we win Oscars. I want it to be that good and sexy.
There are some amazing arrangements on the show with the songs. Which ones really stand out for you?
MELORA: Well, Brian has a lot more to choose from, but I did a version of “Get Ur Freak On,” which I think they are going to release on iTunes, which is a pretty phenomenal arrangement and pretty spectacular because it’s a Missy Elliot song which they made into a jazz trio. So that was pretty spectacular. Then the band has some pretty spectacular ones too.
BRIAN: Yes, I honestly don’t want to give any away. I think, though, one that’s really fun and it kind of comes up early on, is we do a very sort of Indian version of “Party Rock,” which is just really an entire dance number like Bollywood kind of dance number that goes along with it and it’s pretty genius.
MELORA: We all were completely decked out. It’s one of those things where they really could just play that whole song and my gut was hurting just watching you guys do that. It was very funny. You’ve got lots of really fun surprises if you like the idea of that because we have two incredible music directors with Adam Schlesinger and Steven Gold and just the work that they’re have done on the music is truly, truly brilliant. It’s so creative, so much fun, and we’re very lucky to have them. We’re all just always chomping at the bit to see what’s coming next.
Melora, will you be performing with the band in upcoming episodes?
MELORA: Yes, I do. I sing a few times on the show. Brian and I do a duet, which I won’t give away and which is pretty funny, and then I told you about “Get Ur Freak On” and I sing one of my own original songs, which if you are a fan of my music, it’s called “A Boy and His Cat.” So that was a pretty fun one too, to have on there. So we have a few times that you get me up singing. I think Roxie will definitely always do that because she is the queen of her world and she does what she wants. At the moment, I think Roxie sort of does what she wants and she could really careless about what anyone thinks about it. She’s gone through life succeeding very well at doing that and being that person. She’s far more shameless than I, so I have lots of fun playing somebody who is that completely unaware or even unconcerned about what anyone else may think.
Melora, can you talk about how your role came about and what attracted you to it in the first place?
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 said, “Please, please come and meet with us and let us talk to you about the character.” And so I did and 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. So everything they were saying was appealing to me and more and more attractive. And then as I heard sort of their thoughts on where Rutherford’s storyline might go and how her character may develop over time, I got more and more excited. Then I started sort of saying, “Well these are some of the things that I’m doing and that I want to be doing and that I’m interested in doing. I’m a singer, I’m a songwriter, I love the music element of the show I’ve made three records, and I directed my first movie and I’ve directed a one-woman show, and I’m a dancer.” 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.” But I swear to god, with everything I said, Mike Tollin leaned in closer and closer and closer and 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. I want to be where I can be all that I can be — 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 the green, but we don’t want the red. We’ll take the black, we don’t want the white.” So I really loved that. And I said to Mike, “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. 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, this is like a dream job!” So there’s my story.
Then how did the collaboration with Megan Fox being on the show come about [in Episode 3]?
BRIAN: Honestly, she kind of stepped in and saved us at the last minute. There were a couple other people that they were discussing bringing into the episode at first and schedule-wise and timing-wise it didn’t work out, and I had already spoken to my wife about the episode and kind of what was going on and she graciously said that if nothing else worked out that she would step in and kind of rescue us and she did. I thought she was great. I thought she kicked ass.
MELORA: She totally kicked ass!
On this teaser note, be sure to tune in for the premiere of WEDDING BAND to see all the great musical numbers and the incredibly funny moments that arise in between. WEDDING BAND premieres Saturday, November 10th at 8PM on TBS.