What do you do at 32 when you've already starred in blockbuster movies, graced the cover of every teen magazine, had your own 900 number, and now find yourself relegated to the status of campy guilty pleasure? Well, Mary Kate and Ashley, take note -- Corey Feldman decided to try music.
The movie-star-turned-musician will be playing the Hi-Tone on Sunday, June 9th, as one of the first stops on a tour to promote his latest album, Former Child Actor. The title song debuted on radio stations nationwide last Friday, and Feldman seems ready and eager to embrace his new role.
"Basically, with this album, I thought, Well, now that I've done my artistic endeavor with the last album, I can totally sell out with this one and utilize my labels and make them work for me instead of against me," Feldman jokes. "So here I'm just putting everything out front. I was like, What's the most exploitative fucking title I can come up with? And so the song and the album became 'Former Child Actor.'"
Feldman describes his sound as a cross between the Red Hot Chili Peppers, No Doubt, and Eminem but with a heavy, straightforward rock-and-roll edge. And with this new album, he's got fresh goals for himself as a musician and as an actor: "On a musical level, I hope this album sells 100,000 copies. On the film side, I'd like to continue doing great films, or return to doing great films, however you want to perceive it."
Feldman says Former Child Actor is about categorizing. "My label is 'former child actor.' That's the label that's been put on me," says Feldman. "That's the box I've been placed in, but the song still works for everyone because everyone has a label that's been placed on them."
After hitting movie stardom young with roles in The Bad News Bears, Goonies, Stand By Me, The Lost Boys, Dream a Little Dream, License to Drive, and other 1980s favorites, Feldman found himself largely disregarded as an adult. Along with Corey Haim, Feldman epitomized mid-'80s film for those just slightly younger than the notorious Brat Pack, and it's a past he's had a hard time shaking. "That label has certainly held me back in many areas of my life. I believe I have a lot more depth than that, folks. I'm not just some teen-schlock guy who happened to be popular during the '80s and has nothing to say anymore and just smiles and looks good for the camera."
He's all too aware that society -- Hollywood in particular -- has a short attention span when it comes to stars. Years ago, Feldman found himself rather cruelly tossed aside as early '90s rebellion made a mockery of all things '80s. After bouts with drug abuse, several arrests, and a divorce, a now 12-years sober Feldman has a perspective on society most people will never share: "Pop culture tends to brush people under the carpet when it gets bored with them. You take the Gary Colemans of the world who are so willing to kind of quietly sit there and allow the world to piss on them. I am not one of those, and I will not be one of those. I'm not going to be one of those guys who is easily swept under the carpet."
But fighting the public desire to marginalize him has occupied much of Feldman's time and thoughts. He becomes ruffled when questions turn to his earlier work and says he wants to be known for what he is doing now, not the movies he made as a child and teenager. "It drives me crazy when people ask me questions about Corey Haim. I get those questions all the time. It's the same mundane questions: 'What's the Goonies sequel going to be about?' or 'Are you still friends with Corey Haim?' or 'What was it like talking with Michael Jackson?' -- just these retarded questions," says Feldman. "Don't get me wrong. I don't frown on fans who appreciate the work I did then, but it's time to grow. We all do what we do when we're little, and then we grow up and we try to do something a little more important, and that's where I am now."
With that in mind, Feldman says he is more particular these days about the types of films he agrees to do. "The only thing that I've done in the past year, filmwise," he says, "is a film called Bikini Bandits Go To Hell. I play myself making fun of myself. If you're all going to make jokes, then I'll make them too. If I have to be the world's clown, then I'll do it. But have a good laugh, and then let's move on to what's next, to something more important."
And that seems to be what he's planning to do Sunday at the Hi-Tone. As much as some of us want to hang on to that kid from Goonies, he's all grown up now.