Jeff Daniels knows full well that most of the audience that comes to hear his music wants the dish on his Hollywood adventures. The star of such films as Terms of Endearment, Dumb and Dumber and The Squid and the Whale, 55, is a pro, though — gigging for about a decade and playing guitar since 1976.
We chatted with Daniels about his other career.
How do audiences receive you? It takes time for people to adjust. I’ve got two strikes against me: I’m known for something other than what I’m about to do. A lot of them walk in because of the movies. I don’t ignore that: the fact that I’ve been in Dumb and Dumber or something they’ve loved or put a smile on their face.
What do you think of other actors who try music?
William Shatner sang, Leonard Nimoy had an album; Telly Savalas, too. That doesn’t help. I address it right away. I have a song, If William Shatner Can, I Can Too.
What can the uninitiated expect?
This evening that I do is very entertaining for those that are willing to take the chance. Once they do, after 15 minutes they realize it’s not just gonna be three chords and songs about As I Gaze Into My Navel.
You have quite a following now.
I think the guitar players see that I can get around. It’s finger picking up and down the neck, and I give them something to look at. A lot of my songs have been worked over. It’s like doing a comedy on Broadway — you know where the laughs are. Then I drop in the songs that move them. That’s just basic theater.