Denis Leary has a number of guest rock stars appearing in his new FX comic Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, which premieres July 16. Lined up are Joan Jett, Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs. But if his series gets a second season, Leary wants David Bowie on the show.
“My three favorite bands are the (Rolling) Stones, the Who and David Bowie,” Leary told the Comic-Con Hall H crowd during the Sex&Drugs panel Sunday. “I grew up in the ’70s when there was shitty music. The songwriters and the musicians were falling asleep, and there were stupid haircuts. Bowie got me through 1970 until the Ramones showed up. He’s funny; I’ve seen him on Ricky Gervais’ show. That’s my message to David Bowie.” Bowie also was Leary’s nickname on the FX show Rescue Me.
He explained to panel moderator Dominic Patten of Deadline that his inspiration for the show came from hanging backstage at musical events and watching rock ‘n’ rollers get in fights then never hold grudges. “You know they’ll never break up,” said Leary, who recalled a Saturday Night Live onstage rivalry between Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.
Sex&Drugs, on which Leary also serves as writer and EP, follows The Heathens, a hot NYC band that was formed in 1988 and get signed. But they waste themselves during their early days, which results in them breaking up on the day their first album comes out. 25 years later, Gigi (Elizabeth Gillies) needs a band in the studio to record a demo, and that’s what brings the band back together.
Leary plays singer Johnny Rock, leader of the band — unless you ask Flash (John Corbett) who thinks he’s the lead singer. Leary tapped Corbett for the role because he needed an actor who could play guitar and also sing. Corbett and Leary have been friends since the ’90s. Leary recalled meeting Corbett at the MTV Music Awards when Howard Stern descended from the rafters as Fartman.
Comedian Robert Kelly, who played Louis C.K.’s brother on FX’s Louie this season, plays Bam Bam the drummer. Kelly didn’t know how to play the drums, but Leary paired him with Ozzy Osbourne’s drummer. “He’s a pretty patient guy,” said Leary about Kelly’s drum teacher. “There was a song we did that by the end of it, Bobby got through the drums in one take.”
So who are other members of the Heathens hoping to land as guest stars? Corbett said he is after Tom Waits, and Kelly said Bon Jovi — in full ’80s garb, of course.
Also appearing on the panel were Gillies, Elaine Hendrix (Rock’s girlfriend Ava) and John Ales (bassist Rehab).
Corbett as an aside reminded the Hall H crowd that today is “25 years to the day when Northern Exposure aired.”
Here is the selfie taken by Patten at the end of the panel.