It’s not that often when metal creeps its way into mainstream pop culture. So when metal/hard rock acts do actually pop up in beloved sitcoms, dramatic films, cartoons or even reality series, it’s kind of awesome. So in the weekly column Remember When, Metal Insider recalls the most random instances of metal’s elite appearing in front of the camera.
Ok, so if you’ve been watching the HBO series Vinyl on a regular basis, then you probably do remember this cameo, since the appearance occurred during this past weekend’s episode. Then again, there’s also a chance that you didn’t even recognize Toothgrinder’s drummer Wills Weller while watching.
In between chronicling the excessive exploits of a record label in the 70s, Vinyl loves incorporating surreal interludes of actors performing as legendary music acts. This week’s episode included an interlude of the British psychedelic rock band Pink Fairies playing their song “Do It” on a beach, followed by them trashing their gear in the surf. Well, guess who just so happened to portray the Pink Fairies frontman Twink in the interlude? Yup, that’s Wills Weller of Toothgrinder fronting the mic, stepping out from behind the drum kit for his TV debut!
Toothgrinder is currently on tour with Killswitch Engage in support of their latest album Nocturnal Masquerade. However, Weller was able to find some time and chat with us about how he came to appear on the HBO series. Check out what he had to share about his experience appearing on Vinyl, as well as a clip of his TV performance, below.
How did you end up getting a role on Vinyl?
A random email come through to our band one day. They were asking to get in contact with me for some role in a show. We all looked and thought someone was messing with us. So I called the number they left and spoke with nicest lady by the name of Meghan Currier. She was so excited I called and we immediately got to talking. I remember asking her “Is this real?”
The first idea she had was for me to be the drummer in a completely different scene. It ended up falling through and they picked another guy for it. Then a couple weeks later I get an email from Meghan saying she has the perfect role for me. Little did I know I was going to be the lead singer now, as well as the drummer!
What was the filming process like? How long did the shoot on the beach take?
The actual filming of the scene took about 2 hours. We played the song probably 15 times so they could get a million different angles. The hardest part was being in the ocean. When waves would roll in, sometimes they would take out the drums. So we would have to stop and they would reset up the kits and we would do it over.
Any funny stories from shooting the scene?
Just the fact that I was pretending to sing into a mic in the ocean, while wearing boots from the 70’s and super tight bell bottoms. The amount of sand that made it into those boots could fill half of New Jersey’s beaches.
Which do you find more difficult: filming a scene on the beach or playing drums to a packed crowed in a tiny, hole in the wall bar?
Both are difficult but really exciting. I’ve never been in front of such a serious camera like that. It was intimidating at first, but once we got going it was just fun. I’m way more comfortable behind the drums in front of a bunch of people. But it’s also cool to be way, way out of your comfort zone sometimes.
You play the frontman of the Pink Fairies during an interlude on Vinyl. However, if there was one rock star or metal god you could actually portray on the big screen one day, who would it be?
Playing Robert Plant (again, I can’t sing) would be so awesome.
Vinyl covers the music industry’s excess during the 70’s. What’s the craziest thing you’ve witnessed while in Toothgrinder so far?
So many crazy things from nature to human interaction. I was fortunate enough to be able to interview the craziest people I could find recently at South By South West in Austin, TX. And those folks were among the weirdest; from a homeless dude trying to buy weed off me to a guy wearing nothing but tighty whiteys holding a hollowed out boom box in the middle of the street asking for tips just to talk.