Denis Leary Q&A: ‘Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll’
Denis Leary, creator and star of “Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll,” revealed during our recent webcam chat that he will be spoofing the runaway success of the Broadway musical “Hamilton” in the upcoming second season of this hit FX comedy. Leary plays Johnny Rock, the former lead singer of The Heathens, a group that never achieved success due to his selfishness. Then Johnny finds out he has a talented daughter, Gigi (Elizabeth Gillies) whose looking to make it as a musician with his former bandmates. He must walk that line between being a father and exploiting her success to become relevant again.
Leary says that the idea of making merry with “Hamilton” flows from the season one story in which the band’s bassist, Rehab (John Ales), puts together a concept album about the Irish famine. As he explains, “that makes its way to Campbell Scott, playing a version of himself, and he decides that he has to make this into a hip hop musical called ‘Feast.'” He welcomed his old pal — they made the 2002 indie drama “The Secret Lives of Dentists” — who, he says, is doing a very intense version of himself using a lot of improvisation.
Leary let the songwriting team go off on and come up with the tunes to be used. “What they did was a piece of comedic genius. They wrote seven numbers and four of them are pretty good and they’re serious, with a percussion number and a ballad. Then there are three songs that are really riding that satirical edge.” He thinks that the show could be mounted on Broadway. “If the show got canceled, we could do ‘Feast: The Musical’ next year!”
He also teased an emotional storyline. “One of the band’s old backup singers drops dead when she’s only 48 and that sends a rippling midlife crisis through the band except for Gigi, who goes through a quarter-life crisis,” he said. And, he added wryly, “Of course their reaction to the death of their friend is complete selfish vanity and ego.”