With a popular TV show on the air and a new album hitting stores, you might think Drake Bell has it all, but when TVGuide.com sat down with the 20-year-old star, we found out he's only just begun. While preparing to tape a super-sized TEENick (airing Sunday at 3 pm/ET, as the conclusion to Nickelodeon's "Nicksgiving Weekend" marathon) inside NYC's Classic Car Club, Drake took a break from rehearsal to tell us about the new season of Drake & Josh (Sundays at 7 pm), his new sound, and his love for old cars, TV shows and music.
TVGuide.com: You sounded great in there just now.
Drake Bell: Oh, thank you.
TVGuide.com: You must be a big Beatles fan. I can hear the inspiration a little bit.
Bell: Yeah, a huge Beatles fan.
TVGuide.com: Which other musicians/actors do you look up to?
Bell: John Lennon, Harold Lloyd, Charlie Chaplin, Bob Dylan, Rufus Wainwright, Elliott Smith...
TVGuide.com: What do you think of being here at the Classic Car Club?
Bell: I didn't even know this is where it was going to happen, but I'm a huge classic-car freak. I had a '66 Mustang and I have a '61 Galaxy.... It's so awesome that we're doing this here.
TVGuide.com: You're taping a super-sized TEENick as part of "Nicksgiving Weekend." Where will you celebrate Thanksgiving this year?
Bell: My brother's going to be in Hawaii and my other brother's going to be in Florida, so my mom called us up and was like, "We're not having Thanksgiving at home, so just do whatever you want." A lot of other friends [of mine] aren't going to be able to get out to where they're from, so we're just going to have a big Thanksgiving together.
TVGuide.com: What's your favorite food to eat on the holiday?
Bell: Pumpkin pie.
TVGuide.com: You'll be performing live during the TEENick marathon, and a behind-the-scenes look at your video for "I Know" will air as well. Tell me about the new album.
Bell: The album is called It's Only Time, it comes out Dec. 5, and the video has basically a retro vibe. There are two characters, and I play both. One is Bob Dylan-esque and really in it for the art, and the other character is this guy who just loves the grand lifestyle with all the models and the cool Sergeant Pepper coats, and the video shows the difference between the lifestyles. There are a lot of set pieces with a '60s parties [feel], cool clothes, cool hairdos and everything.
TVGuide.com: How is this album different from your first?
Bell: Telegraph was a bit more dark, while this is a very, very positive record. It's upbeat and happy and all the songs have messages like, "Do what you want to do, live how you want to live, be how you want to be." There's this tune that is sort of like the B-side of "Abbey Road," where we took four songs and made them into one, so at the end of each song, it transitions into the next song. It's kind of a fun puzzle piece.
TVGuide.com: You write all of the music that your character, Drake Parker, performs on Drake & Josh. Do you like performing more than acting?
Bell: [I] probably [prefer] playing music live. The instant gratification and the feeling you get when you're playing your music on stage and people are digging it, there's nothing like it. Instead of doing, "Take 18!"
TVGuide.com: How's the new season of Drake & Josh going?
Bell: We just finished [filming], and it went great. The writing, to me, was so much smarter. Josh [Peck] and I would read the scripts and go, "Wow, the dialogue!" We're getting excited to go and perform it. The episodes are getting funnier, they look better the way they're shot.... We really found our own, and this season is going to be the best.
TVGuide.com: What can fans expect in the upcoming episodes?
Bell: It's really great because what we did this season is take[Drake and Josh] outside what kids are used to seeing. They're used to seeing our bedroom, the movie theater, the living room.... There's not much going [on] outside other than "Drake and Josh Go Hollywood." In the new episodes, we're in a tree house outside and the set's really cool, and in another one we're stranded on the side of the road with our El Camino. It's putting us in places that kids haven't seen before, and that's going to be exciting for them. One episode is in a helicopter — we can't stand up, so the whole episode is us hunched over trying to figure out what to do.
TVGuide.com: What are some of your favorite shows?
Bell: I grew up on classic TV, so I'm obsessed with Leave It to Beaver, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart Show, Taxi, The Dick Van Dyke Show. Of the shows on now, I love Curb Your Enthusiasm and Trailer Park Boys, which nobody's ever heard of, but it's Canadian and it's awesome.
TVGuide.com: Where do you hope your music and acting career goes from here? Will you focus on one or the other in the future?
Bell: I hope that I get the opportunity and I am able to go and perform music a lot. That's what I'd love to be doing a year from now: be on a tour bus.
TVGuide.com: Are you going to be performing songs from the album anywhere else?
Bell: The last episode [of Drake & Josh] that I directed has one of the songs on it, "Makes Me Happy." I think that's the only one that made it to the show from this record, but we do have a new, really cool, acoustic version of "Found a Way," the theme song to the show, on this record.
TVGuide.com: I didn't know that you directed some of the episodes.
Bell: Yeah, I directed "The Really Big Shrimp." I can't remember what [Josh] directed.... Something about space invaders.
TVGuide.com: Do you like that side of it?
Bell: Oh, it's awesome, but it's also a trip, because being the actor you're so used to getting there and hearing, "Go here, go here, go here," and you just do it. Then you get there as the director and go, "Oh, man, I need to tell every single person where to go, what to do, how to make this bit funny," while every prop guy and set dresser is going, "Do you like green or blue or red or yellow for the curtain? Do you like this prop the way this looks, or this the way this looks?" I'm like, "I'm just trying to figure out my blocking right now guys, hold on!" But by the time we got to camera day, it was so much fun, I loved it.
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