Talks to MCN about music, movies, and balancing it all
In today's society, it is not unusual for someone to have two jobs. In fact, most people have more than one job. But very few people have two careers. Two careers that send them all over the world. Two careers that simultaneously allow every household in the country to know your name. Two careers that children grow up dreaming about.
Kevin Costner has not only built two careers that skyrocketed him to world fame, but he has done so the old fashioned way: with hard work, and a lot of balancing. You may know Kevin Costner because of his award-winning performances in movies such as Field of Dreams, Dances with Wolves, Bull Durham, or his most recent work in Draft Day, which just raked in $9.8 million dollars in its opening weekend. Behind Costner's debonair good looks, suave movie rolls, and charismatic charm, is a classic rock and roll soul that thrives on performing.
To feed his hunger for music and with the urging of his wife Christine, Costner reconnected with his life-long friends to form the rock/county group, Kevin Costner & Modern West. With a sound rich with influences from blues, rock and roll, country, and bluegrass, all infused with a modern twang, Costner and his band embarked on a worldwide tour in 2007 and so began his balancing act between movie star and musical sensation.
To balance his two careers, Costner and the band decided to perform shows in intermittent 14 day slices, giving time for the most important role of Costner's life, family man. "I am always writing music," Costner said during his interview with Macon County News about his upcoming performance in Franklin. "Most of everything I do overlaps. When I am working on a movie, I am also writing. And when I am on the road with the band performing, we do it in 14 day tours so I can have time to focus on my family."
Despite having an acting career that amateurs can only dream of, Coster wanted more. "I grew up in a musical home and when I was younger I played classical piano and was a part of traveling choir and did some musical theatre," said Costner. "I never thought I could make a living out of it so it kind of took a backseat. I have always been performance oriented and I really like connecting with my fans so I decided that playing music would be an authentic way to share who I am and really connect with my fans."
With eight other people making up the heart of the group, after performing some small shows in local bars, Costner and his band mates realized they needed a name. "Coming up with a name was probably the worst moment for me, it was hard and I hated it. We just wanted to play," said Costner. "We weren't too concerned about a name at first. But when it was time for a venue to cut us a check, they needed to know who to make it out to. No name really jumped out to us. I have played in a lot of western movies and the group liked that style. And then we wanted to put a modern twist on a lot of things we were playing, so we came up with Modern West and then the guys in the band wanted to add Kevin Costner to the name. I have never really been comfortable with the name."
The band has stayed true to its modern, original roots by doing all of the songwriting for their albums. "We rarely do a cover, maybe one out of 15 or 16 songs will be a song from an artist we know and respect, but the majority of the time we do all of our own music," said Costner.
Costner and his band mates are sure to find songwriting easy as the group channels musical inspiration from different genres over the last couple of decades. "We don't really have just one musical inspiration," said Costner. "I just write what I am feeling at the time. We listen for a specific sound or a melody, and when it matches up, regardless of the influence, we just know it is right for us."
Despite Costner's fame, when he takes the stage, he still gets butterflies. "I always have butterflies," Costner confessed. "I just want the show to go well. I don't have them because I am nervous for myself, because I am always prepared, but I have them because I want the fans to enjoy our performance."
When Kevin Costner and Modern West roll into Franklin on April 24 to perform at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts, it won't be Costner's first trip to western North Carolina. While he has never stopped in Franklin, Costner did spend a lot of time in Asheville in the 80s while filming his movie, Bull Durham.
Costner is looking forward to visiting the mountains again, and said that if he had to pick between a small intimate venue or a sold out arena, it really didn't matter to him. "We perform in all different types of venues," said Costner. "It doesn't really matter where we are, as long as the crowd is into it. There is nothing more that I love than looking out on the crowd and seeing everyone standing up. I like that. It shows that they are committed. When people are sitting down, it makes me feel like they are not moved by the music. I always just want to put on a good show for the fans."