Today (August 28, 2020) Bill and Ted Face the Music opens in theaters and VOD (video on-demand). In Face the Music, Bill S. Preston Esquire (Alex Winter) and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Keanu Reeves) have a mere 78 minutes to create the song that will save the entire universe.
Of course, when Complex caught up with Reeves and Winter this was the first question that we had to ask. If faced with a similar scenario of getting into a time-traveling phone booth in order to put together a super band to write a song to save mankind, who would they assemble?
“(Jimi) Hendrix, is an absolute, right? Kind of all starts with Hendrix.” said, Reeves.
In truth, Bill and Ted Face the Music is just the latest installment in careers for both Reeves and Winter of music-related films and projects. Both actors have a deep love of music and their dizzying array of creative projects have influenced the music cultural landscape almost as much as their films have the cinematic landscape. As for Reeves, the original Matrix score and film has been influencing film scores and DJ culture for over twenty years.
As the Hollywood Reporter noted: “The Matrix opened on March 31, 1999, and is a high watermark for Don Davis (composer), and for film scores of the era. The barrage of French horns, lush string work, piano, percussion and waterphone amplified the heady concepts and dizzying action that the Wachowskis offered audiences.”
On a related note, where would Reeves’ more recent franchise, John Wick, be without the varied yet unrelenting original scores from Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard?
And, as a purely closing credits song choice, has there ever been a more magical pairing than Reeves nonchalantly walking off the beach and discarding his badge at the end of Point Break and Ratt’s “Nobody Rides for Free?”
“Little hand says it’s time to rock and roll.”
Alex Winter has had both a direct and indirect influence on the popular musical landscape as well. His first major Hollywood studio movie role was as the vampire Marco in one of the most MTV, music video era, influenced films of all time The Lost Boys. The Lost Boys also just also happens to be one of Generation X’s most beloved soundtracks. On the hip hop-front, Winter has never been immortalized in a song like Reeves was in Logic’s 2019 track: “Keanu Reeves.”
Truth be told, Winter’s hip hop connection may be even a little cooler. Ice Cube recently revealed on Twitter that Winter directed Cube’s video for “Who’s the Mack” from the rapper’s solo debut AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted.
These days, when he’s not making Bill and Ted’s 3, Winter is primarily a documentary filmmaker. His 2013 VH1 Rock Doc Downloaded chronicled the early days of Napster and was “a vigorous retelling of Shawn Fanning’s and Sean Parker’s wildfire achievement and its ethical pitfalls,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
In addition, both Reeves and Winter have several ties to one of the most beloved bands of their generation, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Reeves appeared in the film My Own Private Idaho alongside Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea. RHCP lead singer Anthony Kiedis was part of the crew that confronted Reeves in a local surfers-only territorial dispute in Point Break.
Winter’s Chili Peppers’ connection include large ties to the Peppers’ album Mother’s Milk. This is the album that brought the Chilis into the mainstream. More specifically, Winter has a connection to the first three music videos released from Mother’s Milk. He first makes an appearance in the video for the Chili Peppers’ first single off the album—the video for their amazing cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” Soon thereafter, he appeared as the star (other than the Peppers themselves) in the video for the second single, “Knock Me Down.” To complete the Alex Winter and Red Hot Chili Peppers video trilogy, Winter then gets behind the camera for the third single directing the video for, “Feel the Pain.” All of these songs, of course, held together by Chad Smith’s steadying drum backbeat. Which is the perfect transition to the beats portion of Reeves’ and Winter’s ongoing musical journey and the casting of Kid Cudi in Bill and Ted Face the Music.
Cudi plays an omnipotent and all-knowing almost Christ-like version of himself in the film. This is perfect casting considering Cudi’s vast music knowledge and his all-encompassing musical tastes, which we outlined back in 2012.
On Cudi’s performance Alex Winter stated: “I was a fan of Scott's and my kids were into him and I actually ran into him somewhere a long time ago and he told me how big a Bill & Ted fan he was. I can't say I was the reason he ended up in the movie. Everyone wanted him. He did a great job.”
Kid Cudi also brings a cross-promotional throwback element to the third film. In the movie, he wears the Adidas that Ted rocked in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, only this time in a blue and red colorway as opposed to the white with green laces that Reeves’ wore in the second film. According to Cudi's Twitter, these bad boys will be known as The Artillery Hi and are going to be released this year and we assume in the very near future.
Kid Cudi and his dope new Bill and Ted Adidas aside, what are Reeves and Winter currently up to in the music realm? In 2015, Alex and his production company Trouper started work on the first all-access documentary on the legendary Frank Zappa. The highly ambitious project, Zappa, is being released by Magnolia Films on November 25th in select theaters and VOD. As for Keanu, he is currently shooting The Matrix 4 in Berlin and during his downtime watches the long-running Amoeba Music series “What’s in My Bag?”
“It's been fun. I just started to watch, they've been doing them for a long time, but Amoeba Music episodes of What's In My Bag? So, that's been fun to look at that and discover some new music.”
Finally, if you’re wondering, in addition to Jimi Hendrix, who would complete Reeves’ and Winter’s ultimate save all of human existence band? It would be either the recently deceased Neal Peart of Rush or Ginger Baker of '60s supergroup Cream on the drums. They then would have a two-person audition between vocal stalwarts Roberta Flack and Janis Joplin for the lead singing honors.
And, of course, none other than Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea on bass.
Bill & Ted Face the Music is out now.