Bill Malik (far left), Patrick Wilson (center) and Mark Wilson (right)
02/24/2012 at 04:00 PM EST
Fans recognize Patrick Wilson
from his CBS drama A Gifted Man
, but his friends know him as a die-hard Van Halen fan – with a family cover band to boot.
"You're defined by your older brothers or sisters' music," explains the actor, 38, who was turned on to the band decades ago by his elder brothers Paul and Mark. "It's always been this hilarious passion."
Driven by their love of music and all things Van Halen (Wilson says that his surgical hat in A Gifted Man
is made from a Van Halen t-shirt!), the brothers formed their own cover band – dubbed, appropriately, Van Wilson – a few years ago, and play gigs whenever they can.
And regardless of his fame, Wilson – who sings and plays the drums (and will showcase his percussion skills on Friday's episode of the show) – says there's nothing like the rush that comes from performing in front of a live audience.
"We open it up to do a couple of originals, Journey stuff, Bon Jovi and even a little bit of country," says the former Broadway performer
. "We're just having a good time."
"There's no ego involved and it feels very natural," adds Wilson, who is dad to sons
Kalin, 5½, and Kassian, 2½, with wife Dagmara Dominczyk. "It's just one of the greatest feelings, being able to play with your brothers."
For more about Patrick Wilson's band – and what his wife and kids think of his rock star hobby – pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.