“Known for living up to their name, the band partied so long and so hard that even Keith Richards thought they needed to slow things down.”
The above quote is from the FX Network’s website as it “Amps up” the promotional volume for the debut of “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll;” starring comedian/actor/musician Dennis Leary and Nickelodeon’s Elizabeth (Liz) Gillies.
The show is based on a fictional ’90’s New York rock band called The Heathens, whose claim to fame is that they fell apart and broke up on the same day their first album was released. Leary plays lead singer “Johnny Rock” who’s on and off stage antics added to the bands reputation as a “Kick ass” live act and hard partying mythical force.
Leary, Gillies and band drummer Bobby Kelly recently held a New York City press conference where members of the media were privy to the first three thirty minute episodes prior to the show’s debut on July 16. Episode 1 provided feedback on the band’s background; minor details such as, the band’s break up ensued because Leary’s character was found in bed with the wife of “Flash,” the band’s lead guitarist (played by John Corbett). We also discover an amazing ironic twist existing between “Gigi” (Gillies) and Leary’s character.
The cast, rounded out by bass player “Rehab” (played by John Ales), Johnny’s longtime girlfriend “Ava” (played by Elaine Hendrix), Leary and crew do an outstanding job at recreating the sometimes drama filled life of a rock band. One particular scene where the band discusses the ground rules on dealing with Gigi and parts of her anatomy stands out in particular, if you’ve ever been in a band you’ll understand; if not you’ll still see the humor.
Episodes 2 and 3 reveal more of the shows subplots involving drug use, egos, shattered and potential dreams. Here again the cast is superb and are a perfect dysfunctional family, a marriage of people who fight for one another; yet will not trust each other one iota. The use of classic rock stars both in name and in cameo appearances is both well done and well timed. The show is fast paced, much like Leary’s old stand-up routines but easy to digest. They mince no words in the script nor in Episode 3 where some strong character development takes place, if you’re not sucked in fully by the end of Episode 1; you’ll be totally addicted by the end of the third.
Post previews; Leary, Gillies and Kelly held an old fashioned Q & A where Leary took the lead and was his classic self. Using expressive, colorful and quite descriptive adjectives; Dennis explained the premise and experiences that led up to the shows concept and development. “I’ve been in the same band for twenty five years,” he started; “This whole thing came very easily to me.”