Keanu's excellent adventure: A band!
(Previously published on July 25 under the title ''Speed' metal: Keanu Reeves heats up Bohager's')
by Jean Marbella
Two seminal moments in rock 'n' roll history:
The Beatles. On the Ed Sullivan Show. Feb. 9, 1964.
Dogstar. At Bohager's Bar & Grill. July 24, 1995.
Maybe you had to be there. It's not just the way the band sounds, which is basically loud and, well, loud. It's also the way it looks. Or, more specifically, the way its bass player looks.
Just like Keanu Reeves.
Which he is. Which is why some 600 people jammed into the cavernous club to see a band that has yet to record its first album.
"Oh, I'm in love!" screamed Heather Steward, 23, before Reeves had sung a note.
Earsplitting yells and sailing items of clothing greeted Dogstar as it took the stage, led by an all-black-clad Reeves. Even more noise when -- omigod -- he took his knitted watch cap off. And then, utter chaos when, several songs into the show, the heretofore silent bass player actually sang.
"He's hot," cried Greta Morgan, 27, adding the finger-wetting, "ssssss" thing.
"It's his butt," said Donna Lyons, 23, getting right to the bottom of Reeves' appeal.
"Everybody in our office was jealous we had tickets," said her friend Erica Anderson, 23, an accountant. "So if I'm late to my 7:30 meeting (tomorrow), I think they'll understand.
The darkly handsome Reeves, sporting a mustache and more of a 5 o'clock shadow than he does on the August cover of Vanity Fair, seemed neither pleased nor annoyed to be the subject of all this nonmusical adulation. Grinning occasionally, sipping a beer, sometimes waving to a crowd that was separated from the stage by some very big men, he mostly played his bass. He didn't even rate his own microphone.
Dogstar members acknowledge that Reeves is the draw, but hope after the initial celebrity-swoon subsides, they'll be taken more seriously. Yeah, right.
In the meantime, the band is selling out as it tours this summer, aboard a customized bus once used by Pearl Jam. Next stop: The Ritz in Roseville, Friday night.
For Reeves, it is yet another fascinating twist in an already interesting career, one that has taken the actor from the utterly vapid duditude of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure in 1989 to the buffed-up Speed demon of last year's action flick. With, it should be noted, stops along the way as a Shakespearean actor: He was in Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing and played the title role of Hamlet on stage.
"I just do it because it's fun," Reeves told the Houston Chronicle at an earlier stop on the tour. "I'm getting to see a lot of America and drink free beer. It's la dolce vita."
Dogstar started out like many bands, in a garage. It might have stayed there without the star power of the 30-year-old Reeves. The band got its start in 1990, when Reeves, who is a big hockey fan, saw Rob Mailhouse, wearing a Washington Capitals jersey in an L.A. supermarket, and got to talking. Turns out Rob played keyboards and Keanu played bass and, hey, Keanu had a garage they could play in.
Well, one thing led to another as it often does in Hollywood.
So, how do they sound?
"Who cares?" says Jennifer Joyner, 25. "I just want to look at Keanu."