You could say that Randy Michael has caught a big break in Hollywood, as the former Booze guitarist can be spotted playing drums in the video for David Bowie's "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)." The nearly six-minute mini-movie dropped yesterday and casts Bowie and veteran actress Tilda Swinton as a typical married couple that, instead of obsessing over celebrities, is tormented by the young and beautiful. At times, it comes across as an artsy take on the 2008 Clint Eastwood film Gran Torino.
The video was directed by Floria Sigismondi, whose resume as a director includes two earlier Bowie videos ("Little Wonder" and "Dead Man Walking" in 1997) as well as the 2010 biopic The Runaways. She is also the wife of Lillian Berlin, one of Michaels' band mates in Living Things. According to Michael, he just appears in the video and did not play drums on this song or any of the cuts from Bowie's forthcoming album, The Next Day, which is slated for a March 12 release in the U.S.
Since the Booze split in late 2011, Michael has moved to Los Angeles and is focused on other projects. His new surroundings have opened him up to different opportunities as an actor and musician. In addition to the Bowie video, Michael will soon be seen in a commercial for Heineken's Desperados beer, slated to begin airing March 1, and an episode of the ABC series Revenge, in which he plays guitar for New Zealand-based songwriter Gin Wigmore during a party scene.
Working with Bowie was especially rewarding for Michael, since he was a British rock 'n' roll aficionado long before he took a stab at acting. "I'm having a hard time believing I worked with David Bowie," Michael says. "Just watching him get into his acting zone makes you realize you are watching the best."
This was not Michael's first time working with a major recording act, though, as he spent one summer during high school as Public Enemy's touring bass player before going on to play with Butch Walker. In addition to Living Things, Michael is currently playing in Pyramids alongside OK Go bass player Tim Nordwind and has a solo project, backed by a group called Adult Cinema. With each new musical project, Michael says he is "trying to step out of that Booze shell" and move beyond playing mod-inspired, traditional rock and roll. "What I am working on now is complete indie-pop," Michael says. "There's no throwback about it. It sounds like 2013."
Michael cites the Clash broadening their musical horizons with 1979's London Calling as the biggest influence on his shift in musical direction. Though he is trying new things musically, Michael is not throwing out the mod baby with the bathwater. "I love that music and will always be involved in that culture," he adds. "No matter what."
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