“Rock Star” is the Cannonball Run of metal movies.

What hard rock/metal fan hasn’t seen Mark Wahlberg in the 2001 film “Rock Star”? I will assume most of us have, and I will further surmise that many of us know that much of the cast was comprised of real musicians that we all know.I think it is worth covering however, to those who aren’t aware of the depth of the cast (or have forgotten) just how many prominent rock stars were in this flick. The movie is loosely inspired by the story of Rob Halford’s departure from Judas Priest, and his replacement by Tim “Ripper” Owens. Owens was a relative unknown at the time having been the singer in a Judas Priest cover band. I won’t delve into the plot further, as I find the more interesting aspect the people in the movie both on and off screen.Wahlberg’s first tribute band features prominently at first, and astute observers will notice that the drummer is Blas Elias of the group Slaughter. The bass player is Brian Vander Ark of The Verve Pipe (ok, not very metal but hey it’s a band).Once our main character is recruited to his favorite band, Steel Dragon, we see more familiar faces. Zakk Wylde (Ozzy, Black Label society) is the lead guitarist. Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner) is on bass. Jason Bonham (son of the Bonham, Black Country Communion, etc.) fills the drum seat. Not quite as apparent is the fact that outgoing Steel Dragon singer Bobby Beers voice is supplied by Jeff Scott Soto (Yngwie Malmsteen, Journey, Sons of Apollo), and Mark Wahlberg’s singing is done by Miljenko Matijevic (Steelheart). Matijevic may not be a household name, but everyone remembers his crazy powerful vocals on their hit “I’ll never let you go (Angel Eyes)”.Probably the coolest cameo is a fan who is singing in the audience towards the end of the film is brought onstage to belt out the tunes. This fan is Myles Kennedy who went on to sing for Alter Bridge and Slash.Hence I deem this the Cannonball Run of heavy metal movies. The similarity being a huge cast of stars. The difference being “Rock Star” is actually a good movie that stands up.

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