Q&A with Drake Bell

You might not think it if you've only seen Drake and Josh, but Drake Bell is a man of old-school taste. When we sat down with the talented musician and actor, we learned that in addition to having an affinity for older music, he also loves classic comedies and books. Check out our conversation below!

GGM: Drake, the new album, Ready, Steady, Go, is a total throwback to a classic, rockabilly sound. Why this sound, right now?

DB: I grew up with this sort of music. I got the chance to work with Brian Setzer, who’s one of my all-time heroes. He got to know me because his kids saw me on TV, so when I started on the record, I shot him an email like “Hey, do you want to work with me?” thinking he’d laugh it off, but he agreed to do it, which was really amazing.

GGM: Is there a Brian Setzer song or album that particularly inspired you?

DB: Not particularly. The whole vibe was really what inspired me. The attitude, the cars, the pompadours, the pin-up girls, it really resonated with me. I want to be that artist who introduces a new generation all this great old rock music, like the Stray Cats were for me. People hear me cover Queen and think I wrote the song. It’s nuts! When I found a song Stray Cats had that was originally written in the fifties, it opened me up to an entire culture and genre I really loved.

Drake RSG full cover

GGM: I can tell! The rockabilly, punk attitude really comes through in “Bitchcraft.” You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that you really like Ariana Grande, who’s also doing a similar throwback style. What are some current pop songs you’re digging?

DB: Ah, I’m a bit out of the loop on current pop because I’ve been so busy doing my own thing, but I got a chance to open for Ariana, and she was great. So talented. It’s really cool that she’s doing an older style like that. With her doing that, and also Bruno Mars, you think, “oh, maybe this kind of old-school pop could really be a thing!”

GGM: You’re the voice of Spider-man on “Ultimate Spiderman.” Is Spiderman your favorite superhero?

DB: (laughs) For Marvel’s sake, I’ll say yes, but I also like Batman.

GGM: So is Batman your favorite superhero movie?

DB: Yes, Michael Keaton’s Batman, the first Tim Burton one.

GGM: You broke through with Drake and Josh. What shows do you watch in your downtime?

DB: I watch mostly DVDs, actually, old stuff. It’s funny, you’ll walk in and see me watching an old Disney documentary or Charlie Chaplin. A lot of old comedies, Abbot and Costello, Marx Brothers.

GGM: What’s your favorite Abbot and Costello?

DB: Gosh, that’s tough. The Naughty Nineties, because it has the “Who’s On First?” sketch, but also Buck Privates, Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein, Abbot and Costello Meet the Invisible Man. That’s what great about those old serial comedies: they’re almost all quality.

GGM: Do you read a lot of old books too?

DB: I read a lot, so I wouldn’t say I confine myself to one era, but I will say I read a lot of beat generation. I really like the beat poets, like Kerouac. Dharma Bums and On the Road are two of my favorite books. Ginsburg, Burroughs. I really like Bukowski too.

GGM: When it's time to grab a bite do you have any favorite restaurants out there in LA that you frequent?

DB: Musso and Frank Grill in Hollywood.

GGM: So after this record and tour, I'm assuming you'll need a little R&R. Are there any particular vacation spots you like to go to‏?

DB: The North Shore in Oahu. It’s just beautiful. If not in LA, I’m there.

Ready, Steady, Go comes out April 22nd.

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