Q&A: World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade grand marshal John Corbett | Rock Candy

Q&A: World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade grand marshal John Corbett

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John Corbett

Last week, in advance of his appearance in Hot Springs both to serve as grand marshal of the World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade and perform a free concert with his band, The John Corbett Band, I spoke with "Sex in the City" and "Northern Exposure" star John Corbett about life as a rock 'n' roller, having two passionate fan bases who may know nothing about the other and the potential for "Sex in the City 3."

So you’re the celebrity grand marshal of the First Ever Eighth Annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hot Springs. Career highlight?

I try to be a yes man to anything I can that sounds like it’s going to be fun. My gal [Bo Derek] actually did it last year, and she came home talking about it for days, about how cool Hot Springs was, and she said, “I think they might invite you to do it”. And the invite came and I said, “Hell, yeah.”

I was going to ask you about Bo Derek leading the parade in past. Has she given you any pointers?

She knows that I’m a grand marshal always in life. I’m always leading my own parade, so she knows she doesn’t need to give me any tips. But she did say to check out the hot springs. She said they’re supposed to be very special.

Your band, the John Corbett Band, is scheduled to play a concert after the parade.

Yeah, I kind of built a tour around an event. I decided to put together a little tour starting in Phoenix and then going to Las Cruces, New Mexico and Lubbock, Texas and Oklahoma City and to Austin and then to Hot Springs.

In the press release announcing your appearance in Hot Springs, they describe your musical style as “rugged yet sensitive country music.”

Ahh, that’s sweet.

How would you describe it?

We’re a just a good country rockin’ bar band. We do a lot of originals and a lot of covers and we just try to have a good time every night when we play. I’ve been playing guitar since I was seven. My guitar player and I have been playing together for about 25 years. We’re just a tight band. I don’t know what I’m doing in life most of the time, but when we’re on stage I know what I’m doing with the guys

If you had your druthers would you do this full time?

I don’t think so. Because I’ve done it full time — I did it from ’05 to ’07 — and it’s a lot of work, man. Here’s a little taste of what we do: We go on most of these shows at 11:30 at night, which means we get back to the hotel at 4 in the morning. We’re back at the van at 9 a.m. to drive six or seven hours, soundchecking, rushing to the hotel to jump in the shower, playing a show and then meeting all the people after. It can be exhausting. The first year we did 220 shows and then the second year we did 200 shows.

You are one of many actors who also plays music. How do you think you stack up against your peers?

I haven’t heard a lot of them. Name some guys who go out and rock like I do?

Well, Billy Bob comes to mind. I don’t know if he’s touring 200 dates.

Does he play and sing or just play an instrument?

He sings and plays drums.

And how is he?

Not bad.

I want to see another actor out there doing what we’re doing, which is playing these little 400- or 500-seaters and doing it on their own. I book all my own shows. I advance my own shows. It’s easy when you’ve got a bus. But a bus is expensive, man.

I don’t know if Kevin Costner’s out there driving his guys around in a band, but if he is God bless him.

The super fans who especially identified with your character on “Northern Exposure” are probably often male, and then the “Sex in the City” super fans are often female. I wonder how the interactions with fans are with those two groups? It seems like you have super fans who know nothing about “Sex in the City” and likewise you’ve got super fans who missed out with “Northern Exposure.”

From the old “Northern Exposure” days, when that was the only thing I had to base any fame on, I found that I had these really smart, intellectual, artist-type fans. “Northern Exposure” was an interesting show because an oral surgeon could watch it take a lot from it and a guy who never reads a newspaper or a book and just goes to work every day and doesn’t know what’s happening in the world could sit there and laugh, too. Those two guys together wouldn’t have much to talk about, but they each got the show in their own way. I found that my spectrum of fans was really broad but was really passionate.

Sometimes when we play a show it’s dominantly female and some of the guys get dragged out and I’m not even sure they know they’re coming to see “The Northern Exposure” guy, and it’s always cool to see the dudes getting into the music. Because I’m an actor and people know me from 20 years of being on TV they come in to see our show with really low expectations, which is good for us. Since we know what we’re doing up there on stage, after a few songs I think they forget that Chris in the Morning is up there jamming and it’s just a good little house band up there.

I saw somewhere that Sarah Jessica Parker said she’d like to make “Sex in the City 3.” Do you think there’s any room for your character?

I don’t think there’s room for me in it. I’ve seen a lot of movies, man, that’s what I do. They were saying that was one of the worst movies of the year. I’ve been in some really bad movies, and I’ve been in some good ones—I was in “Tombstone. I was in a TV movie once when I had to close the ozone with a bomb because it was melting the earth. It was called “The Sky’s on Fire.” And it was a really bad TV movie. So I know when I’m in a good one and when I’m in a bad one. I thought “Sex in the City 2” was a fun little ride. It makes no promises.

For some reason, the critics really vilified it. I know for a fact it took all the air out of the balloon to make another one. But I think they should because they’re fun for me to watch. I’d go see another one and another after that. It’s going on ten years now with these girls that an audience has kind of grown up with them, and now they’re not young girls in the city, they’re ladies.

You have anything coming out that you can talk about?

I don’t have anything coming up. I just worked on this show “Parenthood.” I got to be a rock ’n’ roller on that and I had my real band with me. That was my last thing. Now I’m out with the guys and hopefully the phone will ring. I should say that I already did work on the third season of “The United States of Tara.” It debuts on March 28 on Showtime. Hopefully people will like that and they’ll pick us up and I’ll go do that again next year.

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