Band From TV: Greg Grunberg, Hugh Laurie and more sing for charity
It all began when " Heroes'" Greg Grunberg performed at a House of Blues celebrity show. "I was there with all these great musicians," Grunberg tells Zap2it. " Macy Gray was there, all these people - but the press was so focused on me. I realized that people were interested in me, as a celebrity or an actor or whatever, playing music. Whether they wanted to hear me play or wanted to see me fall on my face, they were interested. I thought it could be a good fund-raising tool."
Grunberg brought Laurie and Jesse Spencer into the fold when he starred in a 2006 episode of "House." He says that they started off just "jamming," but ultimately the band grew, absorbing Denton, "The Bachelor's" Bob Guiney, "Heroes'" Adrian Pasdar, and "American Dad's" Scott Grimes in addition to many guest stars over the years.
Grunberg chuckles, recalling Laurie's reaction to their first gig. "Hugh was like, 'You want us to play in front of a live audience?!'" he laughs, voice high and shrill in imitation of Laurie's accent.
It goes without saying that these guys won't be playing your Bar Mitzvah any time soon. "We only play for big, big money," Grunberg admits. It's for a good cause -- actually, for several good causes.
"Hugh's charity is Save the Children," Grunberg says. "His sister sits on the board, so that's close to his heart. Mine is a very personal one. My oldest song Jake has epilepsy, and I'm the spokesperson."
Grunberg has started a website called TalkAboutIt.org with his wife and son. The site, partially funded by Band from TV, features celebrities like Grunberg, Jennifer Garner, Dr. Drew, Chris Pine, and Milo Ventimiglia talking about epilepsy.
"People don't want to talk about epilepsy and seizures because it's scary, and there's a stigma attached," Grunberg says. "It's about awareness. There are a couple messages that we're trying to get out - what to do if someone has a seizure, things like that.."
Other charities supported by Band From TV are the Art of Elysium, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, The Conservation Fund, The Indiana University-Kenya Partnership, and more.
So what's next for this rag-tag group of actor-musicians? They've got a three-day gig coming up in Chicago that includes several appearances and performances. First up is a free show at James Denton's restaurant, Harry Caray, on June 25. They'll sing the national anthem and throw out the first pitch at the Chicago Cubs - White Sox game on Sunday, June 27.
"Our big show is at the Vic on June 26, and we're going to sell out! Everybody's going to be there," Grunberg says. "We haven't officially announced Hugh yet, but he will be there." Oops. The cat's out of the bag, now, so don't miss out, Chi-town fans! It's a benefit concert for the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago, and there are bound to be a few surprises.
Hopefully, fans won't be able to tell that the band hasn't had much opportunity to rehearse together. Stand-ins for Grunberg and Laurie have been used during rehearsals, as they've been out of town working on other projects. Grunberg says that finding time in everyone's schedule for rehearsal has been Band from TV's biggest obstacle.
Band From TV is known for bringing famous friends on stage to perform with them. They've played with "Desperate Housewives'" Teri Hatcher, John Mayer, and more. " Hayden Panettiere came on and played with us for a while," Grunberg says. "She's amazing."
On their list of dream collaborators are Grunberg's "Heroes" co-stars Kristen Bell and Zachary Quinto. "They've both agreed to come on and jam with us," Grunberg says. "They're so excited about it. It's just a matter of working out the schedules. It'll happen; it'll happen very soon."
Grunberg has spent his summer up in Canada, filming a movie in Victoria. "I didn't even have time to mourn," he says when we ask about the demise of "Heroes." He got the news of the cancellation along with some other news.
"Literally in one phone call I found out that 'Heroes' had been canceled, that I'd been bumped up to series regular on 'Love Bites,' and that I'd been cast in this movie," Grunberg laughs. "I thought I was going to get some time off, but no!"
Keep an eye on Zap2it for more from Greg Grunberg, including details about the potential "Heroes" movie and the scoop on getting up close and personal with Jennifer Love Hewitt in an airport bathroom.
In the mean time, don't miss the band's version of Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" with Teri Hatcher on the 2008 "Idol Gives Back" special. Band from TV's debut album, "Hoggin' All the Covers" is available on Amazon now.
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