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Stars with musical talent

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Fueling The Commitments is that classic teenage dream (usually fantasized during third-period algebra) of playing in a ginchy rock band. But why did Alan Parker cast unknowns when he could have hired stars who really have played in garage combos? Here are just a few of the celebrities who once sang ”Brown Sugar” off-key on a semiprofessional basis.

Diane Keaton (Actress) * Rock & Roll Gig: Lead singer for the Roadrunners, New York City area, late ’67 and early ’68. * Repertoire: Aretha Franklin and Jefferson Airplane. * Memory: According to Roadrunner bassist Guy Gillette, Keaton ”could really belt back in those days.”

Bobcat Goldthwait (Actor-comedian) * Rock & Roll Gig: 16-year-old lead singer of the Dead Ducks, Syracuse, N.Y., circa 1978. * Band Influences: Ramones, early Who, Charlie Daniels. * Band Career: High school dances. * Memory: ”I was using pretty much the same delivery as today. A lot of angst.”

Pat O’Brien (Sportscaster) * Rock & Roll Gig: Keyboard player, Dale Gregory and the Shouters, Sioux Falls, S.D., circa 1963-66. * Band High Points: Topped Sioux Falls charts with 45 of ”Did Ya Need to Know”; opened for the Hollies and hung out with them at bass player’s father’s pool. * Memory: ”Basically, I’m still in the same business now.”

Chevy Chase (Actor-comedian) * Rock & Roll Gig: Drummer and keyboard player for the Chamaeleon Church — one album on MGM Records, 1968. * Other Band Members: ”I don’t remember their names.” * Earlier Musical Experience: College band with Donald Fagen and Walter Becker of Steely Dan. * Memory: ”We sounded a little like the Association. We wore Nehru jackets and sang faggy little tunes.”

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