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.”
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