Singer-actor Christian Kane likes Nashville, Alice in Chains and UFC

Christian Kane.
Mark DeLong

by Allison Duck

He’s got the looks, voice, acting skills, stuntman physique and that hair -- oh, that magnificent hair. Christian Kane pulls double duty as an actor and a musician, and his TV and film credits include Angel, Dawson’s Creek, The Broken Hearts Club and the current hit Leverage.

What you might not know is that Kane is a bona-fide country singer. After years in the business as a singer-songwriter in Nashville, he is hitting the road again with his band. Check out behind-the-scenes footage from his music video shoot for “Let Me Go.” Kane performs at Stoney’s on Friday.

To paraphrase Stephen Colbert, “Singing or acting, we’re at war here, pick a side.” Though it is nothing new in the entertainment world, it seems like the singing actor era is coming back. What do you think about this?

I think it’s great. You have to remember 40 years ago, you couldn’t get a studio deal in Hollywood unless you were a singer. Everybody sang. And with me, it’s a little bit different. It’s really not fair. It’s OK if Tim McGraw goes and does a movie, and it’s OK if Justin Timberlake does a movie, but it’s not OK for an actor to become a singer. I never understood that.

So we’re really breaking down some doors, which I am enjoying a lot. At this point, people say he’s lived in Nashville for eight years; he hasn’t lived in Hollywood. I’ve been doing music for 12 years now, and we’re just getting out there to the public. The few who cross over as actors and singers, we value ourselves as entertainers. That’s what we do. We just love to entertain.

How long have you been writing songs? I read that you have a credit on the new Trace Adkins album.

I do. I wrote “Happy Man” with a couple of boys of mine. I have been writing in Nashville for a long time. Of course I was writing songs back in Oklahoma when I was a kid.

Leach Blog Photo

Christian Kane.

What was it like hearing your own music on the radio for the first time?

It was crazy. I was in the car with a good friend of mine, and we were traveling through Florida doing a radio tour. I heard from other people that they were playing it, but I hadn’t heard it myself. It came on when we were driving, and I made him pull off on an exit road and we cranked it up and beat on the dashboard a little bit. It was a very exciting time in my life.

Will this gig at Stoney’s feature your solo music or songs from your band Kane, as well?

We’re bringing the whole band. There’s no real solo career. Kane is Christian Kane. Christian Kane is on the label, but when I say goodnight to everybody after shows, I always say, “Goodnight, we’re Kane.” That’s a good question. Nobody’s ever asked me about that. People either know us as Kane or Christian Kane, but there’s no real difference between the two.

What was it like being able to incorporate your music into your character’s role on Leverage?

It was a gift. It was such an honor. There are three things about that episode that I love. No. 3 is that I got to sing my own songs. I have been writing music and singing for a long time, and for me to get to perform one of my own songs, that was the coolest thing in the world -- and that was only No. 3. No. 2 is John Schneider, a very good friend of mine, sang one of my songs on the show. He’s had four or five No. 1 hits. He’s a bona-fide country star. To have someone like him sing one of your songs on TV is such an honor. And the No. 1 favorite thing about that episode is that I got to fight my all-time idol Bo Duke [Schneider’s character on The Dukes of Hazzard].

Leach Blog Photo

Frank Trigg and Urijah Faber at Palms Pool.

I really enjoyed the episode of Leverage where you fight with UFC star Urijah Faber. Are you a fan of mixed martial arts?

Yeah, I’m a big fan of the UFC and mixed martial arts altogether. Urijah is a dear friend of mine, and I called him and asked him if he would be willing to come in and do an episode, so he did me a favor and came in. I fought Matt Lindland in Season 2 … and I’m hoping to bring in other friends. I am talking to Rich Franklin now about coming in. I grew up in the wrestling world in Oklahoma, so I have a bunch of friends out there who are in the MMA business.

Growing up as a wrestler, did you ever see yourself becoming the action type of guy you are now?

Of course. I grew up with action movies in my head. This was the role I came to Hollywood to play. It’s fun. It’s a guy who has a heart, and it’s a guy who knows how to turn it off.

Your voice is clearly suited to country music. Who are your influences from and outside of the genre?

My influences are Alice in Chains and Elton John.

And you ended up doing country?

Well, I grew up in Oklahoma. I love country. I love Garth Brooks. I’ve watched what Garth did, and he’s mapped out the guidelines for if you want to be successful and how to act and how to treat your fans. We take this to heart when we play. He’s said this before, and this is not verbatim, “No matter where you were in the house, no matter if you were front row or backstage, I have the best time.” When I first heard that, I thought it was really cocky, but then I realized he’s doing it right. And that’s what we do; we try to have the best time because if we’re having a great time, then it will bleed out to you. And I think we incorporate that into Leverage, as well. We’re still the ones having the most fun, so hopefully that bleeds out into the living room. We’re smiling; we’re having fun.

It’s well documented that you have amazing hair. What are your secrets, especially when you do so many action scenes?

Well thank you so much. I have a team of people who help me with that. For home care, it’s usually good food and beer.


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