Jeremy Renner got his first taste of performing as a teen, when he played drums in a garage-rock band called Hot Ice. After moving to L.A. in the 1990s, he practically lived at a Sunset Strip karaoke bar, where he and a crew of regulars — including future The Voice winner Alison Porter and fellow aspiring actor Amy Adams (who would later co-star with Renner in American Hustle and Arrival) — would get free drinks in exchange for pulling in crowds with their singing. Renner’s repertoire included Bon Jovi, Queen, and occasionally Carly Simon: “We did it for like a decade — it became a whole community,” he says.
Since then, Renner’s musical side has made it onto the big screen a few times: In the Charlize Theron–starring North Country, he does karaoke to George Thorogood’s “I Drink Alone,” and in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, he performs a Confederate hymn called “Good Ol’ Rebel Soldier.” For his new film, Wind River, Renner did himself one better, writing an original song — an Aerosmith-style power ballad called “Garden of Stone.” “I was sitting at the piano one day watching my daughter pick flowers in the garden, and I realized she never takes notice of this old rock,” he says. “Parenting is not a sexy thing. But when someone has fortitude, they’re always going to be there.” So he’s the rock? “I’m the rock,” he says.
The song was originally supposed to play
over the film’s end credits, but, says Renner,
“it’s a big, sweeping song, and it just felt like
too much.” But you may still hear it
someday: Renner has recorded more than
50 songs in his home studio and says he’s in
the process of whittling them down for a
potential album, maybe even two — one with
a band and one solo. He wants to do it very
organically — release some singles
anonymously or put a few songs in movies.
“I’m open to anything,” he says. “If enough
people want to hear it, I’ll play a show.”