A dif­fer­ent stage

Kiefer Suther­land lets loose his in­ner rocker.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Showbiz - By CHRISSIE DICK­IN­SON

KIEFER Suther­land has built a no­table ca­reer as an ac­tor whose work in­cludes his crit­i­cally ac­claimed stint as counter-ter­ror­ist agent Jack Bauer on the TV se­ries 24. But Suther­land has re­cently stepped onto a dif­fer­ent stage as a roots-rock­ing singer-song­writer.

He re­leased his de­but al­bum Down In A Hole last Au­gust. It’s an im­pres­sive collection fea­tur­ing coun­try-rock tunes (the crunchy Rolling Stones meets Sh­eryl Crow num­ber Go­ing Home) and plain­tive bal­lads (the soul-bar­ing Call­ing Out Your Name). He’s a fine vo­cal­ist with an in­ti­mate, weather-beaten tone.

His foray into mu­sic has given new inspiration to his act­ing life. “On a cre­ative level, it’s af­fected me in such a pos­i­tive way,” Suther­land says in a phone in­ter­view. “It’s af­fected my ex­cite in ment how I look at my work as an ac­tor.”

Suther­land’s songs are res­o­nant and per The sonal. bit­ter­sweet My Best Friend is about mov­ing for­ward in life and be­liev­ing in your­self. “Good-bye to the past / it’s time to start again,” he sings. “I’ll find a way to make me my best friend.”

“There was a point in my life where I real that ised you can’t ex­pect any­one to love you if you can’t love your­self,” he says. “It took me a long time to learn that. Life is a work in progress for ev­ery­body. I wrote My Best Friend as much as a re­minder to my­self as I wrote it for any­one else who might be go­ing through a sim­i­lar thing.”

The touch­ing Call­ing Out Your Name is a beau­ti­fully per­formed heart­breaker.

The lyrics ex­ca­vate the de­tails of a dev­as­tat­ing breakup. “You never said good­bye / and I never got to cry,” he sings.

“Ev­ery­body has that first big heart­break that re­ally changes your life,” he says. “All of the in­no­cence and naivete is de­stroyed. You are much more guarded the next time you be­come in­ti­mate with some­one. You’re scared that it’s go­ing to end.”

The song was in­spired by a youth­ful re­la­tion­ship that ended badly. Writ­ing it al­lowed Suther­land to sort through old emo­tions and put a piece of his past to rest.

“It’s some­thing that had been in the back of my head for 30 years,” he says. “It wasn’t un­til I wrote the song that I re­alised I wasn’t mad at the per­son. I didn’t hold any­thing against them. It was just that thing we all un­for­tu­nately go through. We were both very young at the time. It ended in a way where there was no dis­cus­sion about it. Writ­ing the song ended up be­ing re­ally cathar­tic. It put the ex­pe­ri­ence into proper per­spec­tive in my life. It wasn’t this big thing in

the back of my head any­more. In that way, writ­ing the song was re­ally help­ful for me.”

The al­bum fea­tures a soul­fully lay­ered mix of acous­tic and elec­tric gui­tars, pedal steel, or­gan, bass and drums. Mu­si­cally, Suther­land was drawn to the coun­try genre be­cause of its strong lyri­cal nar­ra­tives.

“It goes back to the sto­ry­telling,” he says. “When you lis­ten to Merle Hag­gard, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristof­fer­son, they tell lin­ear sto­ries. There’s a be­gin­ning, mid­dle and end, very much like a film. So just from a writ­ing style, I love the genre. I think my voice lends it­self to that kind of mu­sic.

It doesn’t mean you can’t rock out a bit with it, be­cause you can. There are so many great coun­try-rock songs.”

Suther­land, 50, is the son of Cana­dian ac­tors Don­ald Suther­land and Shirley Dou­glas, who di­vorced in 1970. His fa­ther is a bona fide movie star who has ap­peared in a plethora of films in­clud­ing Klute, Or­di­nary Peo­ple and The Hunger Games fran­chise. Fol­low­ing in his par­ents’ thes­pian foot­steps, the young Suther­land made his movie de­but in 1983 and went on to star in The Lost Boys, Young Guns, Flat­lin­ers and A Few Good Men.

In 2001 he was cast in the TV drama 24. That gritty role earned him an Emmy in 2006.

Al­though he’s only re­cently gone public with his mu­sic, Suther­land be­gan tak­ing vi­o­lin lessons at the age of four. “For some fan­tas­tic rea­son, my mum de­cided I was go­ing to be a vi­o­lin player,” he re­calls. “When I was seven, I re­ally wanted a gui­tar. She said, ‘If you play the vi­o­lin un­til you’re 10, I’ll let you get a gui­tar.’ So I played vi­o­lin un­til I was 10. Then I got a gui­tar and never picked up the vi­o­lin again. I played that gui­tar un­til it fell apart. I’ve been play­ing ever since.”

Over the years, as his act­ing ca­reer blos­somed, he al­ways kept the in­stru­ment close by. “When­ever I was work­ing on a set, I’d go back to my trailer and play my gui­tar. It was a way for me to clear my head and un­wind. In that re­gard, it was one of my best friends.”

Suther­land has lived an eclec­tic life. Be­gin­ning in the early 1990s, he owned a ranch for nearly a decade. It was dur­ing that time that he worked as a cow­boy and comon pe­ted as a cat­tle roper the United States Team Rop­ing Cham­pi­onships cir­cuit.

In 2002 he started the small in­die mu­sic la­bel Iron­works with his friend Jude Cole, a singer-song­writer, mu­si­cian and pro­ducer. The la­bel’s ros­ter in­cluded in­die-rock out­fit Rocco DeLuca and the Bur­den and the Amer­i­cana duo Honey-Honey. In­spired by the artists on his la­bel, Suther­land over the years got se­ri­ous about his own song writ­ing. But he had no plans for a ca­reer as a mu­sic per­former him­self.

“I never re­ally wanted to make an al­bum,” he says. “I had writ­ten a lot of songs and they were start­ing to pile up. I liked them. My idea was that I’d record a cou­ple and see if any other artist wanted to cover them. I went to Jude, who is an in­cred­i­ble pro­ducer and mu­si­cian. We recorded a cou­ple of songs and Jude said, ‘These are clearly your songs. I think you should do an al­bum.’ I said, ‘Ab­so­lutely not.’ I was acutely aware of the stigma of an ac­tor do­ing mu­sic.”

Al­though Suther­land was hes­i­tant to take the plunge into a full-blown mu­sic project of his own, Cole en­cour­aged him.

“Jude knows me well, so he took me to a bar and we had a cou­ple of drinks,” Suther­land says with a laugh. “All of a sud-like den it started to sound a bet­ter idea. We struck a deal. We would record a cou­ple of songs at a time. If we got to a place where we thought we had an al­bum, we would talk about that. Some­where around the sixth or sev­enth song, I had my mo­ment. The truth was that I loved the songs and I loved how Jude made them sound. We went for­ward with the al­bum. We didn’t feel rushed about it. I’m so glad Jude pushed me to do a record be­cause it’s been one of the best ex­pe­ri­ences of my life.”

— Tri­bune News Ser­vice

Acutely aware of the stigma of an ac­tor do­ing mu­sic, Suther­land was ini­tially re­luc­tant to record an al­bum.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.