Picks and Pans Review: Talking With...
MIDAS TOUCHES MUSIC
Sure, it was no blockbuster, but That Thing You Do!, Hanks's evocative film about a fictitious 1960s pop group, the one-hit Wonders, managed to please critics and audiences alike. And besides establishing Hanks, who wrote, directed and starred, as Hollywood's next triple threat, it also reassures us mortals that everything he touches doesn't turn to gold. Still, the film's title song is a bona fide hit (No. 41 with a bullet) on Billboard's pop singles chart, and the soundtrack album, That Thing You Do! (Play-Tone/Epic), for which Hanks cowrote four songs, is currently outselling CDs by R.E.M. and Pearl Jam. The actor, 40, who lives in Los Angeles with Rita Wilson, his wife of eight years, and their two kids, recently spoke about his love of pop music.
Have you written songs before?
Not for professional consumption. I know about six chords on the guitar. Occasionally we pull out one of our big-note, easy-guitar songbooks around Christmas. I play a fake version of "I Want to Hold Your Hand." Also, there's all sorts of riffs you can do on "Twist & Shout" and "La Bamba."
Were you in bands in high school?
Never even came close. That would have required talent and drive. I had none as far as music went. My entire musical history consists of me trying to play the violin for about six weeks in fifth grade. Gave it up. Took choir in junior high school. Sang at church a couple of times. Was in South Pacific in high school. That's about it. Sad.
What music did you like as a kid?
I was always given over to surfing and car songs. There was a lot of really cool stuff—the Hondells and the Rip Chords, the Chartbusters, the Trash-men, of course. Then it all sort of disappeared into some haze.