'One Tree Hill' star Michael Grubbs on Wakey!Wakey! and the finale's 'crazy twist'
"Last night I went out with James here in New York, he's visiting, and for the first time ever I got recognized before him," Grubbs tells Zap2it. "These girls came up to me and said they had watched me on 'One Tree Hill' and really liked the band, and James was kind of just standing beside me. I'm talking to these girls for a minute, and then suddenly, they realize James is there and they freaked out. Like, 'Oh my god! You're James Lafferty!' I was like, 'And, we're back to normal.'"
Fame is new to Grubbs, who spent 10 years struggling to succeed as a musician in NYC when "One Tree Hill" creator Mark Schwahn discovered him. "He came down and he saw me play at an open mic and totally got excited about the songs," Grubbs says. "We became buddies and started hanging out.. We would talk about things that were happening in our lives, so when I finished the album, I took it to him. He not only liked it but he was like 'Let's use all these songs on the show! You know what we should do? I'll write you a role!'"
Grubbs' big break story sounds more like a kid's daydream than something that could actually happen. Before joining the Tree Hill gang, he got a degree in theater arts, tended bar and appeared in touring musicals "Brigadoon" and "Camelot."
"I'm a tall, skinny straight guy who can sing. That's basically gold in the musical theater business because there's none of us," Grubbs says. When offered the opportunity for a recurring role on "One Tree Hill," he jumped at the chance. "I didn't really know much about the show," he admits, "so I didn't have any idea what I was getting into."
He didn't worry about losing any indie cred because of his role on the soapy CW drama. "That probably would've been an issue if I've ever in my life been cool, but I've never really been cool. As far as the music goes, I think the music speaks for itself. If people are going to think it's not cool because I'm an actor on a television show, then like... that's okay! Whatever!"
Grubbs didn't have to look far when it came to casting for "Car Crash," the new music video from his band Wakey!Wakey! . "A bunch of the cast members have said they want to be in my videos, so when Lafferty happened to be in New York visiting the day we shot the video, I asked him to come down, and he said 'Absolutely.'"
Lafferty isn't the only friend Grubbs has made from his "One Tree Hill" experience. "The cast was curated very carefully by Mark Schwahn, because he knows we're all locked together in Wilmington most of the year and we have to make sure everyone gets along really well all the time. I keep in touch with everyone in the cast. Every Monday India dfe [Beaufort] and I start texting each other about how much we miss each other."
Despite "One Tree Hill's" uncertain future -- it's one of only 3 scripted shows that The CW hasn't yet picked up for the 2010-2011 season -- Grubbs has high hopes that he'll be reunited with his cast mates. "I have a feeling that Grubbs has become a pretty solid presence around Tree Hill and you would probably see him back. I can't guarantee that, but if the network picks up the show, I have a pretty good feeling about it."
Before we worry about next season, fans of "One Tree Hill" have two more Season 7 episodes to fret about. "When I read the finale the first time, I literally was like 'What?!'" Grubbs says enthusiastically. "I was on the plane flying to Wilmington and I yelled, 'No way!' out loud on the flight. Get ready. It's really, really good."
Earlier this month, James Lafferty revealed to Zap2it that two finale endings were shot. The one that airs on May 17 will depend on whether the network picks up the show -- if they've made a decision before then.
"If there's another season, we'll hit you with a crazy twist," Grubbs tells us. "Look, the ending we'll use if we get another season is just so insane. We could never use it as the series finale, with these twists and turns, because we could never do that to the fans and not wrap it up. It would just be evil."
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Photo credit: Carissa Gatto / Wakeywakeymusic.com