Actress Juliette Lewis has enjoyed a 16-year career as an actor in movies like “Old School” and “Cape Fear,” and now she hopes to be as consistent with a budding music career.
“I always wanted to do this when I was younger,” Lewis said recently. “My whole frame of mind was that I was going to be a singer. Then I went through my 20s and that was not the time where I was going to form a band.”
But now, she said, “I’ve shaped a point of view, I have something to say and I know what I like musically.”
The 31-year-old actress put her musical aspirations on fast-forward a year ago, during a break between films. She assembled a band, called Juliette and the Licks, and began practicing around Los Angeles clubs.
“It’s hard to find a group of talented people who all don’t do drugs — that’s really important to me,” she said. “But the personalities all get along and we can do music together. We put on a ferocious show, and I’m all about raw energy.”
Juliette and the Licks are currently on the road with the Vans Warped Tour (see “New Found Glory, Bad Religion Get Warped; Itinerary Set” ), and their debut album, … Like a Bolt of Lightning, is due in October. Lewis has manicured a simple, energetic rock sound that draws on influences like Iggy & the Stooges, Blondie and Patti Smith. She wrote most of the songs herself but had additional help from songwriter Linda Perry (Christina Aguilera, Pink).
Lewis doesn’t want her other occupation to affect her musical agenda, for better or for worse. “In my other career I’ve never been ‘the favorite.’ I’m used to being the underdog,” she said. “I like that in music, too, having to work my ass off and prove myself.”
And proving herself is what she does every time she takes the stage. “This is what I tell people who are skeptical: Come to the live show. It’ll answer all your questions.”
Juliette and the Licks end their run on the Warped Tour July 7 in Ventura, California. Lewis has plans for a club tour around the country at the end of summer.
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