Michael Des Barres

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Michael Des Barres
Born (1948-01-24) 24 January 1948 (age 67)
London, England, United Kingdom
Years active 1960-present
Spouse(s) Pamela Des Barres (1977–1991)
Wendy Hamilton (1974)

Lord Michael Philip Des Barres (born 24 January 1948) is a British actor and rock singer. He is known for playing the recurring role of Murdoc on the television show MacGyver and for replacing Robert Palmer in the band Power Station, fronting the band at the 1985 Live Aid concert.[1] He is also the ex-husband of groupie, actress and author Pamela Des Barres and is written about extensively in two of her books, I'm with the Band: Confessions of a Groupie and Take Another Little Piece of My Heart.

Early life[edit]

The only child of Marquis Philip and Marchioness Irene Des Barres, Lord Marquis Michael Philip Des Barres was born in Hove, on 24th January 1948 and grew up in the Sussex area, then attended boarding school (Repton). He later attended the Corona Academy drama school in London and appeared in several plays.[1]

Career[edit]

Music[edit]

Des Barres formed his first teenage band the Orange Illusion with Nicholas Young, Darryl Read, and Kit Williams, whilst they were all attending Corona Academy Stage School studying to be actors. The lineup, despite being broken up by the school's agent Hazel Malone, all went on to do greater things individually. Des Barres then formed Silverhead in England in 1972.[1] They recorded two albums and toured the US, Europe, and Japan, before disbanding in 1974.

After moving to Los Angeles, he formed the band Detective in 1975. They recorded two albums that were released on Led Zeppelin's Swan Song Records label, before breaking up in 1978.

A solo album, I'm Only Human, followed in 1980, with a solo tour of the US and UK. The album was recorded on Dreamland Records and produced by Mike Chapman (composer of "Mickey" and producer of "My Sharona"). His musicians at this time were the session band Zoo Drive featuring John Goodsall (guitars), Paul Delph (keyboards), Doug Lunn (bass), and Ric Parnell (drums). On the recording and in significant gigs Nigel Harrison (of Blondie) replaced Doug Lunn on bass.

He was part of the band Chequered Past from 1982 to 1985, which included Steve Jones from [The] Sex Pistols, Clem Burke and Nigel Harrison from Blondie, and Tony Sales of Todd Rundgren (Runt) and Tin Machine fame.[1]

In 1983, he wrote and recorded the song "Obsession" together with Holly Knight, which later became a No.6 Billboard Top 40 hit when covered by Animotion in 1985.

Des Barres met the members of Duran Duran when Chequered Past opened for a few shows during their 1984 tour. In 1985, when Robert Palmer withdrew from the Duran Duran side project Power Station just before their American summer tour, Des Barres was chosen to take his place as lead vocalist.[1] He performed live with them for several months before they disbanded, including a set broadcast to millions at the 1985 Live Aid charity concert in Philadelphia. Des Barres' friendship with actor Don Johnson got Power Station a guest appearance on Johnson's TV show Miami Vice. He wrote one song with the band, "We Fight For Love" which appears on the soundtrack to the film Commando.

He released a second solo album called Somebody Up There Likes Me in 1986, which featured contributions by former bandmates Steve Jones (Sex Pistols) and Andy Taylor (Duran Duran).

Although focusing more on his acting career in the following years, Des Barres continued to write music and perform live with various bands in the Los Angeles area. In 1996 - 1997, he played in Vince Lightning and the Spectaculars, which included Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom. From 1998 - 2000, he had a band called The Usual Susspects with Steve Jones and Mick Rossi.

In 2001, Des Barres formed Down Boy together with Paul McCartney's guitarist Brian Ray. In 2006 - 2007, he fronted a 10-piece soul band called Michael Des Barres and Free Love Foundation.

In 2011, he formed The Michael Des Barres Band which includes Jebin Bruni, David Goodstein, Paul Ill, and Eric Schermerhorn and released a new album entitled Carnaby Street, in June 2012.

On November 5, 2013, The Michael Des Barres Band released a live album "Hot n Sticky Live, which was recorded at the Viper Room in Los Angeles, in November 2012. The album is available as high quality mp3 downloads.[1]

On April 7, 2015, Des Barres released a solo, full-length album "The Key to the Universe". Produced by Bob Rose at The Forum Music Village in Rome, the album reunites Des Barres with Nigel Harrison (former bassist of Blondie and Silverhead) on bass and guitar, in addition to Clive Deamer (Portishead, Robert Plant) on drums, and Dani Robinson on guitar.[2]

Acting[edit]

Des Barres has appeared in over 100 different TV shows and almost 30 movies in his career. He first started acting at 8 years old as 'The Nux Bar Kid' on posters all over England. He appeared (uncredited) in the 1966 film starring Tony Curtis, "Drop Dead Darling". His first credited film role was as a supporting cast member in the classic 1967 film To Sir, with Love playing an East End pupil who always wears dark sunglasses indoors and out,[1] followed by a few other minor roles before he decided to pursue a career in music instead. He later concentrated his energies on acting again and was quickly cast in Ghoulies (1984) as cult leader Malcolm Graves,[3] and Nightflyers (1987) as a charismatic empath. He worked opposite Clint Eastwood in 1989's Pink Cadillac. His other film roles have included Midnight Cabaret (1990), Under Siege (1992), Waxwork II: Lost in Time (1992), A Simple Twist of Fate (1994), and Sugar Town (1999). He also appeared in the 2004 film Catch That Kid and had a brief part in David Lynch's classic 2001 film Mulholland Drive.[4]

On television, besides the role of Murdoc in MacGyver, Des Barres was also a lead cast member of The New WKRP in Cincinnati during the 1991-92 season as part of a husband-and-wife morning team. He had previously appeared on the original WKRP in Cincinnati as the lead singer of a punk band, Scum of the Earth. During this same time, he played a gay man (Leon's boyfriend) in two episodes of Roseanne. He also played one of Darlene's baby's doctors on one of the final episodes of the series. Some of his dozens of television appearances include Seinfeld, Renegade, ALF, Ellen, Nip/Tuck, Just Shoot Me!, Hart To Hart, My Sister Sam, Lois & Clark (which reunited him with another MacGyver recurring-character alumna, Teri Hatcher - the two had even appeared together in two MacGyver episodes), JAG, Melrose Place, Nash Bridges, Northern Exposure, Rockford Files, Sledge Hammer!, Sliders, St. Elsewhere, 21 Jump Street,[1] The Pretender, Dead Like Me, Frasier, Hawaii, Bones, and NCIS in the Season 10 episode, "Phoenix".

He played a role as an eccentric record producer in Four Kings. He has also done voice work for several animated television series.

On October 23, 2013, Michael joined the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the world premiere of 200 Motels – The Suites by Frank Zappa, where he appeared as "Rance", the narrator.[1]

Radio[edit]

Des Barres hosts "The Michael Des Barres Program" on SiriusXM Radio Channel 21 every weekday morning as part of nationally syndicated “Little Steven’s Underground Garage."

Personal life[edit]

A heavy alcohol and drug abuser during the 1970s,[5] Des Barres has been sober since June 1981. In the mid-80s he was one of the founding members of Rock Against Drugs.[6] He later did volunteer addiction counseling and worked with homeless teens. Des Barres has also organised and hosted the annual Don't Knock the Rock Film Festival, which first took place in 2003.[7] Married in England, he divorced his first wife - Wendy - after meeting Pamela in 1974. He married Pamela on 29 October 1977; the couple were divorced in 1991, remaining friends. Their son, Nicholas Dean Des Barres, was a contributor to the video game magazine GameFan, writing many of his articles under the pseudonym "Nick Rox,"; Nick also designed the Resident Evil film poster, and is currently a game writer at video game developer PlatinumGames.

Discography[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

  • I'm Only Human (1980)
  • Somebody Up There Likes Me (1986)
  • The Key to the Universe (2015)

with Silverhead[edit]

  • Silverhead (1972)
  • 16 and Savaged (1973)
  • Live at the Rainbow (1975)

with Detective[edit]

  • Detective (1977)
  • It Takes One To Know One (1977)
  • Live from the Atlantic Studios (1978)

with Chequered Past[edit]

  • Chequered Past (1984)

with The Michael Des Barres Band[edit]

  • Carnaby Street (2012)
  • Hot n Sticky Live (2013)

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes ref
1971 I, Monster Boy in Alley Released in the U.S. in 1973 [8]
1985 Ghoulies Malcolm Graves The original Ghoulies originated in 1983 under the title Beasties and was to be directed by Charles Band. [8]
1989 Pink Cadillac Alex American action-comedy film [8]
1992 Waxwork II: Lost in Time George Horror-comedy film directed and written by Anthony Hickox and a sequel to the 1988 film, Waxwork. [8]
1997 Poison Ivy: The New Seduction Ivan Greer American erotic thriller drama film and a sequel to Poison Ivy (1992) and Poison Ivy II: Lily (1995). [8]
1999 The Hungry Bachelors Club Mr. Spinner American film directed by Gregory Ruzzin, based on the novel of the same name by Lynn Scott Myers. The film was retitled Food for the Heart for its DVD release. [8]
Sugar Town Nick An independent film written and directed by Allison Anders and Kurt Voss, concerning a tangled web of characters coping with ambition, fame, and the aftermath of fame. The film was named after the 1966 hit single Sugar Town by Nancy Sinatra. [8]
2001 Mulholland Drive Billy Stylized onscreen as Mulholland Dr. American neo-noir mystery film written and directed by David Lynch. [8]
The Man from Elysian Fields Nigel Halsey [8]
2002 Ocean Park Gower [8]
2004 Catch That Kid Brisbane American adventure comedy film directed by Bart Freundlich. [8]
2012 California Solo Wendell American independent feature film [8]

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes ref
1987–91 MacGyver Murdoc Recurring [8]
1996–97 Melrose Place Arthur Field Recurring [8]
2002 My Guide to Becoming a Rock Star Eric Darnell [8][9][10]
2012 NCIS Del Finney Episode: "Phoenix" (S 10:Ep 3) [8]
2014 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Marty ‘The Cat’ Kirch Episode: "Long Road Home" (S 14:Ep 17) [8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Michael Des Barres Interview". Guitarhoo!. Guitarhoo.com. December 8, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ https://www.yahoo.com/music/first-listen-michael-des-barress-album-the-key-115040755661.html
  3. ^ Ghoulies / Ghoulies 2 Blu-ray Details
  4. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0166924/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast
  5. ^ "Rocker Michael Des Barres, once part of the problem, now fighting drug abuse". Google News archive. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  6. ^ "Rock stars deliver anti-drug messages". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  7. ^ "Don't Knock The Rock 2012". cinefamily.org. Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Michael Des Barres : Credit Listings". TV.com. Retrieved August 11, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Tuned In: British 'Office' crosses the pond, but will it work?". Old.post-gazette.com. January 22, 2003. Retrieved August 11, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Wanna-Be Comedy: Almost Infamous". NY Daily News. March 14, 2002. Retrieved August 11, 2015. 

External links[edit]