Music History

Looking Back at the Music Career of Actor Bill Paxton

Because he was such a prolific actor, Bill Paxton’s past as a musician has largely been forgotten. If you go here, you’ll learn about how as a young filmmaker he directed and appeared in the ultra-weird video for Barnes & Barnes’ uber-weird song, “Fish Heads.” But that wasn’t his only music project.

In 1984, he joined a New Wave-ish group called Martini Ranch who released two EPs and an album. I remember playing some of their stuff on CFNY in the old Spirit of Radio days. I just looked in my basement (that’s where a lot of the old Spirit library now resides) and I found a couple of “Reach.” The video was directed by James Cameron (yes, him) and features cameos from fellow director Kathleen Bigelow as well as Paul Reiser, Lance Henricksen and Jenette Goldstein, all fellow cast members in Aliens. Look out for Judge Reinhold and Bud Cort, too.

Paxton can also be seen in the video for New Order’s “Touched by the Hand of God.”

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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