Keanu Reeves knows exactly what you think about his 1990s pseudo-grunge band Dogstar, because he kind of thinks the same thing.
“I guess it would have helped if our band was better,” he tells GQ magazine in the current cover story. The 54 year-old John Wick star spends plenty of time talking about the film franchise’s cold-as-ice, revenge-seeking hero and his release from “movie jail,” but when the subject turns to his short-lived rock star moment, the famously monosyllabic, stone-faced actor gets a bit silly.
He says he felt bad for the rest of the group, who inevitably got painted as those dudes in that actor’s band, but it sounds like they had fun with it while it lasted. Dogstar was famously formed after Reeves — recently the subject of a song bearing his name by Logic — spotted actor Robert Mailhouse in a grocery store in 1991, where the two bonded over the future Dogstar drummer’s Detroit Red Wings sweater. That serendipitous hockey-lovers moment led to the pair jamming together and inviting original singer/guitarist Gregg Miller to join them in 1992.
Miller split before the release of 1996’s Quattro Formaggi EP, which was followed by 1996’s Our Litlte Visionary album and the band’s swan song, 1999’s Happy Ending.
There were numerous tours and a bit of interest from radio, but the story Reeves seems most eager to share is the time they played Milwaukee’s Metal Fest. “Got killed,” he said of the reaction from the crowd. “I think we played close to [New York punk band] Murphy’s Law. Imagine. So we played a Grateful Dead cover, at Milwaukee Metal Fest.” The writer notes that not only did Dogstar play after such revered punk bands as Agnostic Front, but also before metal groups Cannibal Corpse, Deicide and Cancer.
“We were like, ‘They hate us. What are we doing here?’,” Reeves recalls thinking before the band busted into what was likely the adaptaion of a classic folk song from the Dead’s 1967 self-titled debut album. “‘What can we do? Let’s do the Grateful Dead cover.’ They were just like, ‘Fuck you, you suck.’ I had the biggest grin on my face, man.”