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Award-Winning Actor Turned Rock Star Damian Lewis Reveals His Backstage Demands

“A Small Towel, Some Water and a Bottle of Tequila”

by Simon Gage | Metro SixtySeconds | July 7, 2023

You’ll know Damian Lewis, 52, from award-winning roles in shows like Homeland, Band Of Brothers and Billions, but you won’t know him in his new incarnation as a singer/songwriter about to do shows with his own band. When his wife, actress Helen McCrory, died he turned to music and came up with a bluesy, rocky, self-penned album called Mission Creep and – with the support of his children – he’s getting it out there.

Were people surprised when they heard you were releasing an album?
Er, yes…is the short answer. My close friends and people I’ve grown up with know that I play the guitar and sing.

I have a history of busking in London and I used to go round Europe on my motorbike with my tent and play the market squares of the south of France and Spain, but I’ve been a professional actor and very focused on that for many years and I think it will be a big leap in people’s imaginations.

When you were busking, what songs would you do?
Old classics. I loved listening to 50s rock ‘n’ roll when I was a teenager sandwiched in amongst all the 80s synth pop.

I was down Kensington Market buying my drainpipe jeans and my paisley shirts and winklepickers with a quiff that was about three storeys high, because I thought I just might be Elvis and no one had noticed.

Busking, it was jeans and leathers because of the motorbike.

Recent busking endeavor:

You’ve written the songs yourself?
I have. There are three covers on it but the majority of the album is mine.

I had attempted to write songs before when I was younger and busking but they were frankly appalling and none of them have seen the light of day.

Maybe that was a confidence thing, or maybe I was right and they were just rubbish.

You can’t come in at the top…
You definitely can’t. I want to be a proper gigging band. I want us to play smaller venues, get better, practice, learn what it’s like to be in front of a live audience.

Is it more nerve-racking to be out there as yourself?
Weirdly, I don’t feel more exposed as myself than I do sublimating myself to a role. When I’m on stage, I feel totally exposed.

I’ve been on the end of one or two reviews when the critics aren’t always kind so being out there as myself, I don’t feel more vulnerable. I might be lacking nerve endings.

Are you going to have a rock ‘n’ roll rider when you play Union Chapel in Islington?
Who was it that asked for everything to be white backstage?

No. We know our place.

A small towel, some water and a bottle of tequila and I’m very happy.

What do your kids think of this latest venture?
The first thing to say when you’re a performer is they much prefer you just being dad.

They don’t particularly want to watch me on TV and there was quite a lot of teasing when I first said I was going to start writing songs and make an album and be in a band.

But now they can see that I’m taking it seriously they’ve been very supportive. Skepticism and outright mockery has turned to something a little more sweetly supportive.

And what’s the music like? A Kylie euro-pop disco thing?
Yes. Kylie and Harry Styles should be very worried because this is going to the top of the pop charts [laughs].

No, this is not pop music, this is what came out of me.

I think it’s quite rootsy because there’s a lot of storytelling in it and it’s quite bluesy and quite rock ‘n’ roll-y.

We’re influenced by JJ Cale, Neil Young… I would say Bowie and T Rex and obviously Elvis and Led Zeppelin.

If it’s a storytelling album, what are the stories?
There’s one about spies, there’s another one about meeting someone for the very first time and chatting her up on the streets of Soho and thinking I’d closed the deal and she got in the taxi and went home.

Is that based on a real experience?
Yeah, totally true story. And it makes me laugh to this day.

The album was written at a particular point in my life.

There will be people who know my history, so there are some tender personal songs in there as well, as you would expect.

It definitely reflects a period in my life. I don’t think you’d need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure that out.

But there’s a fun rock ‘n’ roll bluesy element in there that I hope people like.

And you’re coming back to Billions?
It’s out in August.

Acting’s not gone. I’m on my way to a film set right now.

I’m filming a comedy vampire movie called The Radleys, which is a lot of fun.

So, you’re keeping it fresh.
Sure. We’re not here for very long.

Damian’s debut album Mission Creep was released June 16, 2023 and can be ordered from several outlets here. Upcoming shows include Union Chapel on July 11 in London and Mercury Lounge NYC on July 19. Additionally, Damian just announced new September/October UK Tour dates here. Don’t miss out, get your tickets now!

‘Mission Creep’ Album – Damian Lewis Music Store (UK) here
‘Mission Creep’ Album – Damian Lewis Music Store (US) here
‘Mission Creep’ Album – Several music services here or Target
‘Down on the Bowery’ – Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, Amazon and more here
‘Zaragoza’ – Pandora, Tidal, Spotify, YouTube, Amazon and more here
‘Makin’ Plans’ – Napster, Pandora, Tidal, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon and more here
‘She Comes’ – Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and iTunes here

Read the rest of the original article at Metro