Downey Gets Down On 'The Futurist'

One would think Robert Downey Jr. has a pretty good thing going as an Academy Award-nominated actor.

One would think Robert Downey Jr. has a pretty good thing going as an Academy Award-nominated actor, but a few days after playing a gig in Los Angeles that he calls "possibly the most exciting four hours in my life," he tells Billboard, "nothing would please me more than if I could all but quit my day job and go play the Mint or the Pantages."

Even though Downey has been writing songs for more than 20 years and we heard him sing on "Ally McBeal" and in the movie "The Singing Detective," it is only now that his own efforts are coming to record stores. As previously reported, "The Futurist," which includes eight songs penned by Downey, arrives Nov. 23 on Sony Classical. The track "Broken" goes to U.S. radio outlets in January.

But just as quickly as he declares that he could possibly trade acting for the concert stage, Downey endearingly admits that the world is not waiting for him to come to town. "I do have a real busy film career and I'm a dad, and I don't necessarily see that a tour is beneficial to the public at large or my desires in the music industry," he says.

Music, and the writing of these songs, served in many ways as a "healing factor" for Downey, who sounds remarkably like Peter Gabriel. But he says it would be wrong to believe that all the tunes are confessional. "I'm not necessarily speaking about myself," he says. "I get images in my head."

Furthermore, he admits with a self-deprecating laugh, as nice as the emotional benefits of creating the music have been, he will be watching the sales. "Do I have much of an attachment to its material success?" he asks. "Well, sadly, I do. I'm that shallow."