MOVIES’ MOTLEY CREW: THE 10 BEST, WORST & WEIRDEST ROCK STAR CAMEOS IN HOLLYWOOD FILMS
1. VINCE NEIL
DEJA VU DEBUT: VINCE NEIL IN FORD FAIRLANE
Motley Crue singer Vince Neil didn’t need any acting classes before stepping into the role of heavy metal singer Bobby Black, ill-fated frontman of Black Plague, in Andrew Dice Clay‘s big-screen comedy The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. The Dice Man, an avowed rock ‘n’ roll junkie, also invited a few of his other famous rock star friends to appear in the 1990 flick, including Sunset Strip refugees like legendary Brit bassist Phil Soussan and drummer Randy Castillo, who have both played on some of Ozzy’s greatest albums, and Quiet Riot guitarist Carlos Cavazzo. Neil tapped his real-life band to punch up the film’s soundtrack with the Crue classic “Rock ‘N’ Roll Junkie.”
2. GUNS N’ ROSES
COOLEST SCREEN DEBUT: GUNS N’ ROSES IN THE DEAD POOL
Seemingly possessed by Ozzy, Axl, Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson, Jim Carrey is brilliantly bad but entertaining to watch as a faux Axl Rose covering “Welcome to the Jungle” in the 1988 Clint Eastwood flick The Dead Pool. Fortunately, it’s the original Guns N’ Roses band that steps in to add some credibility to the flick and steal the spotlight with a brief bit in the cop drama. Axl, Duff McKagan, Slash, Steven Adler and Izzy Stradlin are featured in a funeral scene mourning the murder of Carrey’s Axl character.
3. OZZY OSBOURNE & GENE SIMMONS
The only thing scary about the 1986 horror flick Trick or Treat, about a vengeful rock star zombie, is that the film was ever made. Saving the low-budget, bizarrely directed 1986 movie from being a total waste of film are guest appearances by rock legends Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons.
Ozzy’s appearance in Trick or Treat is not as memorable as his stint in the 1997 blockbuster Private Parts, featuring the P.O.F.D. famously calling Howard Stern a “f**king jerk,” but it is worth a watch. Ozzy is in fine comedic form again in a tongue-in-cheek cameo that sees the sometimes Black Sabbath frontman taming his famous locks and adopting a clean-cut persona to play an evangelist ranting about dirty lyrics in heavy metal music. Talk about art imitating life!
Gene Simmons has been moonlighting in Hollywood for awhile, including co-starring alongside Tom Selleck in the 1984 feature film Runaway. However, if you ever thought that Simmons could never make a film worse than the 1978 TV movie KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park, think again. The rock bassist and “God of Thunder” singer puts his famous deep vocals to work in another capacity in Trick or Treat , playing a creepy-cool rock radio DJ. Looking like the bastard offspring of Ted Nugent and Merle Haggard, Simmons sports a leather cowboy hat and Wolfman Jack-like growl as a disc jockey enlisted to help battle a troublesome zombie musician. Where’s the KISS Army when you need it?
4. MARILYN MANSON
MOST FUN FEATURE: MARILYN MANSON IN PARTY MONSTER
Gender-bending shock rocker Marilyn Manson didn’t stray too far from his onstage persona to play pill-popping drag queen Christina Superstar in the crude and campy film adaptation of James St. James‘ true-life club kid crime caper, Disco Bloodbath, which was retitled Party Monster. The result, however, is equal parts hilarious and awesome.
5. DAVE GROHL
Legendary Foo Fighters and Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl transforms into the human interpretation of The Muppets’ wild and crazy drummer Animal in the 2011 comedy-musical revamp flick The Muppets. Sporting Animal’s famous neck chain and wild mane, Grohl clocks in a quick stint as band member Animool, drummer for The Moopets, whose repertoire includes a mash-up of barbershop quartet-renditions of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “The Rainbow Connection.”
6. ANTHONY KIEDIS
BEST AGAINST-TYPE CAMEO: ANTHONY KIEDIS IN ABC AFTER SCHOOL SPECIAL & POINT BREAK
Rocker Anthony Kiedis has been dabbling in Hollywood movies long before he sported his first tube sock fashion statement with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Credited as Cole Dammett, the singer-songwriter made his film debut playing Sylvester Stallone’s son in the 1978 movie F.I.S.T. From then on, it seemed that everytime Kiedis hit the screen again, he was looking to pick a fight.
In the 1978 ABC After School Special It’s a Mile from Here to Glory, the then teen actor gave a credible performance as that unavoidable loudmouth bully that anyone that has ever ridden a bus to school knows all too well.
The RHCP frontman is looking for a fight again in the 1991 surfing-cops thriller Point Break, playing a freaky-styley surf punk who doesn’t like Keanu Reeves showering on his beach. The weird part about Kiedis’ scene is that you’d think it’d be him, not Keanu, being the one harassed by the surfer hooligans just for sporting a wide, Mr. T-like mohawk with pigtails!
MOST SURPRISING HIDDEN TALENT: FLEA IN MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO & BACK TO THE FUTURE II & III
Like his bandmate and best bud Anthony Kiedis, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has also spent a lot of time in front of the camera, from playing a musician alongside Kiedis in 1987’s Less Than Zero and holding his own alongside acting great River Phoenix in Gus Van Sant‘s My Own Private Idaho (pictured) to taking a bowling ball to the gut in the 1998 cult hit The Big Lebowski.
Flea turns in his best–and biggest–role in Back to the Future II and III, as Marty McFly’s high-strung boss from hell, Douglas Needles (top photo). Although we hope he doesn’t quit his day job, Flea isn’t bad as an actor.
Flea and Kiedis also get an honorable mention for their wild and crazy turn in the 1994 cop comedy road picture The Chase (pictured), starring fellow rock icon Henry Rollins. They may rock, but you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near Flea and Kiedis on the freeway. Check out the guys’ flippin’ drive-by cameo in the clip below.
8. NANCY WILSON
SEXIEST CAMEO: NANCY WILSON IN FAST TIMES
Multi-Grammy-winning Heart guitar goddess Nancy Wilson turns heads and makes a memorable drive-by cameo as a gorgeous temptress in one of the greatest teen comedies of all time, 1982’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which was written by the singer-songwriter’s future husband, Cameron Crowe. (Bruce Springsteen‘s little sister, Pamela Springsteen, also has a small role as a Ridgemont cheerleader Dina.)
9. PEARL JAM & CHRIS CORNELL
FUNNIEST CAMEOS: PEARL JAM & CHRIS CORNELL IN SINGLES
In addition to a very cool concert cameo by Alice in Chains, Seattle’s favorite son Eddie Vedder and the original Pearl Jam make memorable cameos as members of Matt Dillon‘s band, Citizen Dick in Cameron Crowe‘s 1992 romantic comedy. Fellow grunge god Chris Cornell of Soundgarden also clocks in a quick and funny bit part before his band makes an appearance in a concert scene.
10. PAT BENATAR
SCENE-STEALER: PAT BENATAR IN UNION CITY
Legendary Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry made her big-screen debut as a frustrated housewife in the noirish indie crime drama Union City in 1980, when her genre-jumping, CBGB-launched band was on the cusp of international superstardom.
And when it came time to cast her character’s newlywed neighbor, Harry enlisted the help of another singer who was fresh on the national music scene, her real-life pal and fellow rock icon Pat Benatar.