Keanu Rocks!(also published in February 1995 as a longer version under the tile "Keanu: Live & sweaty ')
The time: 9pm on a Friday night. The place: The Troubadour, a hip underground rock club in Los Angeles. The band: Dogstar. What star?: Dogstar. They did a few gigs a while back, decided they were rubbish and packed it in for a bit. But tonight is their big comeback and they've got a bass player called Keanu Reeves, so the show has been sold out for weeks. Lesley O'Toole, as usual, was on the case...
Inside the venue is packed, with a gaggle of teenage girls at the front by Keanu's white bass guitar. The band is due on at 10pm, but don't appear until 11. Keanu shuffles on stage, wearing a brown long-sleeved T-shirt, very ripped jeans and a scruffy old pair of trainers. They say he'll earn $10 million if Speed II goes ahead, but he definitely doesn't blow his money on clothes! He's also unshaven and his hair has grown since that buzz cut.
The band strike up their first song. They sound a bit like a '90s version of '70s/'80s punk band The Clash. They're quite thrashy and punky with oddly-named but catchy songs like Ride, Camp and Cardigan.
The girls scream at the end of each song and Keanu looks mortified. He stands well back on the stage, trying to blend in with the rest of the band.
Ten minutes after the band come on stage, singer Greg announces: "Now, the moment you've all been wating for!" Keanu slopes onto centre stage and - hurrah! - sings one song. While loads of film stars want to be rock stars, Keanu can not only play the bass very expertly, but he's got a great voice too.
After the gig, Dogstar make their way upstairs to The Troubadour's VIP area, The Loft, for a bit of a drink and a party. Unsurprisingly, everyone is rather more interested in the bass player than the rest of the band. Keanu wonders which way to look - there're stunning, scantily-clad girls everywere. Someone gives him a huge bunch of flowers, everyone wants to talk to him.
"You know, I just wanted to talk to my friends", he says to me quietly as people mill around everywhere. "This was the best show we ever played, though," he smiles. In the past, Keanu's only comment on the band was "we suck". Tonight, they certainly didn't.