Many a soul has striven to avoid their destiny in this world. Odysseus, Oedipus, Joe Biden—all took numerous detours in their vain efforts to avoid fate, whether good or ill. But none can permanently forestall that which has been foretold, and in the end, we all must accept our place in this world, regardless of the outcome. Such is the case with America’s number one rock ’n’ roll dude, Michael Chiklis.
He may have spent the better part of a lifetime denying his true place as the inheritor of one of America’s greatest musical traditions, but no more. It is time to set aside childish endeavors like acting, and embrace his calling as the bad boy of the music world. Maybe not as bad a boy as we’re used to, though, since there’s no evidence he has any real-life desire to tell people to stick things up their ass.
Chiklis knows what America has been hungering for, and if lead single “In Front Of Your Eyes” is any indication, that hunger begins with a longing for songs twice as long as they need to be. Clocking in at close to six minutes, the track does exactly what the press release for his new album Influence promises it will—namely, portend music whose “prominent hooks and overdriven energy recall rock’s golden age.” Judging by the nature of the song, rock’s golden age lies somewhere in between Collective Soul’s “Shine” and the Young Guns II soundtrack.
While it may come as a surprise to all those fans of The Commish, The Shield, and Gotham—not to mention the die-hard fans of his turn as The Thing in two Fantastic Four movies (fans who refer to themselves, in toto, as “Thing 1” and “Thing 2”)—Chiklis has always had music in the blood. Heavily produced, opening-slot-at-the-House-Of-Blues blood, to be sure, but blood nonetheless. Back in 2014, Modern Drummer took a tour of his self-created studio, and Chiklis oversaw the encounter with the giddy enthusiasm of someone who spends a lot of time hearing friends say they’d love to come play with that new flanger, but wouldn’t you know it, the kids need to be picked up from soccer practice.
“It’s all about the love,” Chiklis says of his desire to make music, and despite the gentle mockery such a bald-faced admission elicits—something of which the internet is in dire need, to be sure—he says it again, and you realize he genuinely means it. His eagerness and excitement are so sincere, it’s hard to muster much enthusiasm for making fun of it. This is a man who has spent a lifetime holding back from showing the public his love for good old rock n’ roll—who are we to cast aspersions?
Then we go back and listen to “In Front Of Your Eyes” again, and remember that some hobbies simply must be released into the world, the better to let the masses savor couplets like, “Remember where you came from, focus on your goals / Take good care of your family, and satisfy your soul.” Sure, it may not have the same crackle as a Vic Mackey line like “Wipe those smiles off your faces, ya shitheads,” but it certainly has the engaging quality of scanning multiple guidance counselor inspirational quotes—the musical equivalent of a “Hang in there, baby!” cat poster, if you will.