If your fantasies involve being serenaded by a vampire, you're in luck. James Marsters — beloved as toothsome Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel — has just released his first solo CD, Civilized Man. If only he could have produced the album without leaving a trail of carnage in his wake....
You see, before entering the studio on his own, the actor went on a highly successful tour of Europe with his band, Ghost of the Robot. "I believe it was our third time over there, and we'd gone from playing houses of hundreds of people to playing for thousands of people. Not tens of thousands," he clarifies quickly for TVGuide.com, "but you know, three, four, five."
Nonetheless, the lead vocalist saw the blood... er, the writing on the wall. "The chemistry of the band changed," he says. "I think we started taking ourselves too seriously, frankly, and it stopped being fun for me." What's more, he adds, "The songwriting coming from the other members of the band was way too high for my voice. So I broke up the band after a very successful tour!"
Marsters laughs at the irony, but he's dead serious. "We were just about to finish up our second album, which was sounding really good compared to our first, but I pulled the plug."
Afterward, the frontman who no longer had anyone behind him returned to Europe. "Just me and a guitar, man, which was terrifying!" he exclaims. "I'm not Woody Guthrie! I didn't believe that I could stand up in front of 500 to 1000 people with one instrument and bring enough different kinds of sounds to pretend that I was really entertaining people for a whole hour.
"But it went really well," he adds, relieved. "People responded that they liked that set better than the band's. I'm sure not everybody felt that way...."
Yeah, his ex-bandmates from Ghost of the Robot, for instance. "Probably not," he admits with a laugh. "But they're all good people, and we're on good terms. It's just, stuff for [the band], I was a little reluctant to let people hear, because a lot of it was beyond my range [vocally], and I didn't feel as if it was good enough to be called professional. But now [with my new material], I do. Some of it you'll probably like, some if it you won't.
"I guess at the end of the day," he concludes, "the best thing about the whole process is that I feel more confident about myself as a musician, which is probably what you're looking for when you do something like this in the first place."To order Civilized Man, visit James Marsters' website.