|Real Name: Jared Drake Bell|
|Birthday: June 27, 1986|
|Place of Birth: Orange County, California, U.S.|
Most of us know Drake Bell from the smash hit television show "Drake and Josh" on Nickelodeon. But there is more to this actor and musician than meets the eye.
For a 20-year-old, he is an old character when it comes to the music he listens to and plays on his Universal Motown Records debut, "It's Only Time."
Tracks like the first single, "I Know," which sounds like it could have come off Rubber Soul, and the powerful, Elton John like rocker "Do What You Want" show a smooth sound, with mellow harmonies and lots of clean vocals, which is no wonder considering the Newport Beach, California natives mother is two-time world champion pool player Robin Dodson and grew up on traditional rock of the '60s.
"I'm a huge fan of the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley, everything about them," he comments. "The songs, the way they were as people, their style. I love all those old vinyl albums."
Learning how to play guitar from The Who's Roger Daltrey, whom he worked in the 1998 movie "Changing Destiny", he proved a likely student.
"He was just taken aback, because here was this 12-year-old kid who knew about his band playing the Isle of Wight," says Drake. "He was not your classic rock star. He was just so real and cool. When I began playing guitar and writing songs, I fell in love with it right away. I started putting these little bands together and just kept going."
A child actor who began appearing in commercial and feature films when he was 5, Bell says: "I was always a performer. I loved being the life of the party. I watched all the old television shows, Dick Van Dyke, Bob Newhart, Mary Tyler Moore, and the Osmonds. When I was a kid, I wanted to be Elvis Presley so I could star in movies and television while also playing music."
He was John Cusack's son in the HBO film "The Jack Bull", getting a 2000 Young Artist Award for Best Supporting Young Actor in a Television Movie or Pilot. He also had a impressive role in "Jerry Maguire" (1996) with Renee Zellweger, as the son of a hospitalized hockey player client of Tom Cruise's sports agent who got to tell the superstar to "eff off" because he tried to talk his father out of retiring because of repeated concussions.
He also appeared in roles in the feature films "High Fidelity" (2000) with Jack Black and "Yours, Mine and Ours" (2005) with Rene Russo, as well as the television series "Seinfeld", "The Drew Carey Show", "The Pretender" and "Home Improvement" while appearing in the cast of Nickelodeon's sketch comedy series "The Amanda Show", which led to his starring role on the network's trendy "The Josh and Drake Show".
He says his character Drake Parker is simply an addition of the musical life he has in real life, composing all the songs he plays on the show and developing its theme, "Found a Way."
"The character on the show is pretty much me," he says. The television series just ended its fourth, and final, season on the air, leaving room for the musician to follow his musical career.
"It's really convenient my schedule is working out that way," he says. "Now that the show is over, I have plenty of time to go out and promote the album by performing live."
He put out the independent release "Telegraph" on his own last year, recording it in his home studio with singer songwriter Michael Corcoran, who also worked with him on his major label introduction. "We did this album in the same grass-roots way," he explains. "Playing all the instruments, Paul McCartney style, except its more complex instrumentally and more orchestrated than Telegraph."
That can be heard on the album's four songs "Fallen for You," "Rusted Silhouette," "Break Me Down," and "End It Good", forming a story about the ups and downs in three different relationships, a reverence to the second side of the Beatles' Abbey Road.
"We like to experiment, mess around and see what comes out," he says of the artistic process. "There's not really a lot of planning involved, but doing it as we go along, putting it together like a puzzle. It's a lot of fun."
Much of the enjoyment on "It's Only Time" comes from his survival of a head-on collision late last year in his '66 Mustang on the Pacific Coast Highway as he was sitting at a light, suffering a broken jaw, broken neck, six lost teeth and a six-inch cut to his chin. "That's one of the reasons this album is so upbeat and fun," he says. "I wake up every morning thinking I'm blessed to be alive."
That courage comes through loud and clear during his live shows with his band, which has performed at the House of Blues in Atlanta, Anaheim and San Diego as well as the Roxy in L.A., helping to start a bidding war among labels won by Universal.
"When we play concerts, we have everyone from five and six-year-olds to teenagers to their parents and grandparents," he says. "The older people come up to me and tell me they enjoyed themselves as much as their kids.
"When you come to one of our shows, you can tell at once we're not fake. The way we sing and play our instruments on-stage, no one can say it's manufactured or pre-fabricated. It's real."
He has also decided to pursue a movie and film career as well. In 2008 Drake was cast and hired for the starring role in the action comedy thriller "Superhero Movie" (2008), with an all-star about a send-up of superhero films, from Batman Begins to Fantastic Four. Next, he starred in the comedy "College" (2008), about a wild weekend that is in store for three high school seniors who visit a local college campus as prospective freshmen.
Next, he lent his voice to the animated comedy feature "The Nutty Professor 2: Facing the Fear" (2008), about the grandson of professor Julius Kelp, who creates a potion to transform his personality, gets his hands on his grandfather's secret elixir and unleashes his destructive alter ego. Next was another voice talent project in the animated comedy "Unstable Fables: Tortoise vs. Hare" (2008) with Danny Glover, Jay Leno and Vivica A. Fox.
Hel is also in production on the big screen version of his hit television show in the comedy "Drake & Josh In New York!" (2008) starring Miranda Cosgrove, about a wealthy and naive guy who gets a crash course in life from a slacker.