Keanu Reeves is a legend. Star of Bill and Ted, My Own Private Idaho, The Matrix and more recently, John Wick, he’s an all-round nice guy that’s long been regarded as the “internet’s boyfriend”. He has a penchant for striking up a rapport like no other, he’s as casual as his onscreen character Ted and duly, is one of Hollywood’s coolest figures. From Fugazi to Joy Division.
He exists in the same orbit as characters such as Christopher Walken, Bill Murray and the late Harry Dean Stanton, owning an effortless sort of personality that is far more endearing than the botox and kale charged regulars of the movie industry.
Another key facet of Reeves’ persona is how much of a massive music fan he is. Much like with Ted, music has played a key part in Reeves’ life since he was born. Aside from acting, he also made a foray into the world of music with his band Dogstar in the mid-1990s. Active between 1991 and 2002, the band actually found moderate success.
In 2017, he told Jimmy Fallon: “You know, we started in a garage, and then you end up starting to write songs, and then you’re like “Let’s go out and play them!”, and then you’re like “Let’s go on tour!”, and then…you’re playing.”
Dogstar, named after the brightest luminary in the sky, didn’t always have such a run of the mill name. They were originally called Small Fecal Matter, before changing their name to BFS, which stood interchangeably as Big Fucking Shit or Big Fucking Sound, depending on time and place, which is the most Bill and Ted name you could possibly imagine. However, they finally settled on Dogstar after reading Sexus by Henry Miller.
“Keanu just loves playing bass,” said guitarist Gregg Miller to The Orlando Sentinel in 1995. “He’s not the frontman of the band, although he’s the focus of the band. We’re faced with that, but I’ve been doing (music) my whole life and Rob and Bret have been doing it for a while. We’ve had this opportunity, but it’s not like we have this break and we don’t deserve it. We feel that we can put on an entertaining show. Otherwise, we’d just play in the garage for our friends.”
The band released two albums over their career, 1996’s Our Little Visionary and 2000’s Happy Ending, which were both received to moderate fanfare. Even more interestingly, the band had a handful of opening acts that went on to become huge, including Rancid and Weezer. In fact, Weezer’s first show was opening for Dogstar.
Back in 1996, before the release of Our Little Visionary, Reeves sat down with EW to discuss all things music. ”Our songs are kind of deceiving. They have a pop aspect to them, but the lyrics are not poppy,” he said. ”We’re not trying to copy anyone’s sound: We’re doing our own thing. Hopefully, people will like it.”
After the discussions of Dogstar had ended, it then moved onto Reeves’ music taste. Asked which bands he liked at that moment in time, he explained: “I like this band Plexi I’ve seen in L.A. And Lifter — I just got their album (Melinda (Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt)) a few weeks ago.”
Then it got super juicy. The interviewer asked Reeves who his favourite bands of all time were. He said: “I’d say Fugazi, The Ramones, Exploited, Discharge early Elvis Costello, The Clash, Violent Femmes, Joy Division, Minor Threat, and Bad Brains. That’s definitely what I cut my teeth on.”
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