Dead Man’s Bones, the gothic-folk band of actors Ryan Gosling and Zach Shields, have signed to Anti- records. The band will be release their self-titled debut, Dead Man’s Bones, on October 6. Gosling tells Pitchfork about his inspiration for the making of the album: “You know when you’re a kid and you get crayons and papers and just draw whatever you want and it’s just a bunch of messy lines, but to you it makes sense, and then they put it on the fridge? From that point on, you’re always trying to get back on the fridge, you start drawing things that look like something, like, the more it looks like a horse, the more chance you have of getting it on the fridge. We wanted to get back to that place before we were trying to make the fridge. We wanted to work with people who hadn’t been affected in that way yet.”
Gosling is best known for his role in the tearjerker film The Notebook, and established his dramatic bona fides with his Oscar-nominated turn in Half-Nelson, while Shields’ career has so far been limited to indie flicks. Outside of the band, the two share a common bond in that they date another Hollywood duo, actor sisters Rachel and Kayleen McAdams. Gosling is a multi-instrumentalist while Shields handles percussion, and the two have so far shared vocal duties that have hinted at a flair for the macabre.
Actors who foray into music have always been subject to scrutiny; Bruce Willis and his pop-blues band and Russell Crowe with 30 Odd Foot of Grunts have are laughable extensions of acting ego. However, as Zooey Deschanel proves with She & Him, her acclaimed collaboration with M. Ward, there is still hope for the actor who makes music. With a respected label (other acts signed to Anti- include Neko Case, Joe Henry, and Justin Lytle) and a unique sound that could be described as Simon and Garfunkel on Halloween night, Dead Man’s Bones have a good shot of shedding the actor stigma and earning the respect of music lovers.