When talking about the TV comedy, Wedding Band, it's seems fitting to quote song lyrics. So perhaps Chicago said it best in "Hard Habit to Break":
"You don't know what you've got until it's gone."
That's the word right now for TBS. The network recently announced that they are canceling the critically lauded TV series after just one season. Many devoted Wedding Band fans are taking to twitter to voice disapproval and flood online support.
Wedding Band is consistently lauded as fun, funny, smart and refreshingly original. Consider the facts: four cool dudes (played by Brian Austin Green Harold Perrineau, Peter Cambor and Derek Miller) make up Mother of the Bride, a Seattle-based bar mitzvah-wedding-sweet 16-band. The actors actually play real instruments and sing on the show. No lip-synching here. In fact, the show's musical director/arranger is Fountains of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger.
One dude (a shredding Pete Cambor) has a wife (Kathryn Fiore) and kids, while the rest are single. Office star, Melora Hardin, is take-no-prisoners event planner, Roxie Rutherford, who calls the shots. Meanwhile her associate (Jenny Wade) hustles to keep everything together. Then add a myriad of guest stars to the mix (think Megan Fox and Molly Simms).
It all started with Josh Lobis and Darin Moiselle, Wedding Band's co-creators and executive producers who have been writing together for more than a decade. How did they bring this bromance band and the show to fruition? I talked with Lobis and Moiselle to get the back story because no doubt what happens, we hope that we hear a lot more from this talented duo.
Q: How did you both meet?
Josh Lobis: We met interning for Oliver Stone years ago.
Darin Moiselle: We were right out of college, and it was the worst experience, yet the best experience. It was our Vietnam.
Josh Lobis: We had that optimism and eagerness that you have coming out of college that you can change the world. Mr. Stone was quick to extinguish that.
Darin Moiselle: We would huddle in the Xerox room to vent. We had the same affinity for certain comedy and decided then and there that we needed to write comedy.
Josh Lobis: We felt that the most important thing about being a writing team is having another guy to look to and say, "Am I crazy?" That started in the xerox room. Our first paid job project to the USA Network called, It Came From Earth. It was a sci-fi comedy about what would happen if earth invaded Mars from a martian's point of view.
We had day jobs between Oliver Stone and writing full-time. I worked in marketing at New Line Home Video, and Darin was in development for Amblin, then DreamWorks. At night and all of our extra time was spent writing. We did a bunch of pilots and sold some features.
Darin Moiselle: I was in a meeting with a couple of writers and they were talking about what they were going to do next in their careers. I walked out, called Josh and said, It's time we had that conversation -- the one where you quit your day job to write full-time.You just jump off the cliff Thelma and Louise style. And he agreed. But took a year and a half to get that next job.
Q: So how did you come up with Wedding Band?
Josh Lobis: We've been inspired by a lot of the R-rated comedy movies like Hangover, the Judd Apatow movies...
Darin Moiselle: I Love You Man. Wedding Crashers. The bromance and real guys who interact as guys really do -- or at least what we think in our heads -- is not always reflected on TV. We love the idea of guys never really being able to grow up. It doesn't matter if you're CEO of a major corporation or what-not. Most guys have a part that wants to get a little f#@k#d up and do something stupid and reckless.
Josh Lobis: The conversations that you have with your friends, "Hey, remember that time we ..." don't need to end at high school or college or shortly after. You still want to have them in your '30s, '40ss, etc. Wedding Band is that wish fulfillment when you and your friends' lives overlap, where you can still hang out together. Those moments kind of go away as you face more responsibilities and get older. Also, it's harder to make new friends after 30 and once you do, it's on a different level. They're not like the friends that you had.
Darin Moiselle: The friendships are more superficial.
Josh Lobis: In this show the band is the area where their lives overlap. And they have an opportunity on the weekends to get into a little mischief. But they do it with a purpose.
Darin Moiselle: The band is their excuse to stick together and hang out on weekends.
Josh Lobis: It's kind of a coy, little way to still get to the best parties, have your cake and eat it too and be a guy. And they get paid.
Darin Moiselle: ...paid to go to the best parties. They also figure out ways of getting free liquor.
Josh Lobis: And you're the guys on the stage and rock out so all the hot chicks want to be with you too.
Q: Music is a giant part of the show.
Darin Moiselle: We have a couple of original songs, but most of them are covers because that's what you play at a wedding or other events. And they don't just do weddings. They also do Bar Mitzvahs, sweet 16s, end of the world parties.
Darin Moiselle: ...corporate events, product launches.
Josh Lobis: We did an Octoberfest and also a bachelor party.
Darin Moiselle: We were going to do a quinceanera, but couldn't because of the shooting schedule.
Josh Lobis: Also, we've done a whole bunch of different kinds of weddings. The songs they play and costumes they wear are skewed towards whatever type of wedding they're playing. We did an Indian Hindu wedding, a Greek wedding. We did Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO with sitars. We did a G6 cover for our Greek wedding with a bouzouki and Greek instruments. We wanted to make sure that the music was authentic and that they were a really solid band. It wasn't going to be a joke or that they spoofed songs because you really wouldn't get hired in the real world if you did that. They're really good at what they do and our music producer, Adam Schlesinger, from the band Fountains of Wayne, did a great job arranging all these cover songs but differently than you've ever heard them before.
Darin Moiselle: We're huge music fans and snobs. Music means a lot to us. We write to it.
Q: What kind of challenge was it to cast the show?
Josh Lobis: Casting is hard anyway. And it's especially so when you're showcasing a band that's been playing with each other since high school. You want that camaraderie and ability to just look at each other on stage and know exactly what the other one's thinking, and have a chord change or slip into another song. To capture that chemistry is tough to cast. Now eliminate four-fifths of the people you could go after because they don't know how to play or sing. That made it even harder. And we ended up with a phenomenal cast, and the chemistry was instant, and it really shows in the show from the pilot on and they actually do still play together.
Darin Moiselle: And outside of the show they actually hang out and jam. The guys will rehearse the songs and then be able to play live, and not one note is different or there's not an instrument added after the fact to kind of fill out the sound. What you see is what is played on the track.
Josh Lobis: They definitely have to own it and find a way to appreciate the song because the moments that they're playing at, the events they're playing at are supposed to be the best moments of other people's lives, and they're providing the soundtrack. They have to find a way to keep it fun and festive. The key philosophy is making it a big day, not just for the person throwing the party, but everyone who shows up.
Q: What kind of requirements did you have for the audition?
Darin Moiselle: All four band members had to sing. Everybody had to audition with was REO Speedwagon's "Keep on Loving You." There were a lot of great takes. But after a few hundred you kind of get sick of the same song.
Josh Lobis: And then, Brian Austin Green walked in to read and blew our minds. He gave the best reading of the character Tommy. It was much better than anything that we had anticipated. He broadens Tommy, takes in some style. We knew as soon as he walked out of the room that was the guy. He's got so much heart and charm.
Darin Moiselle: Also, he's funny. He's romantic and A plus across the board in every category. Pete Cambor, who my parents were big fans of because they watch NCIS:LA, which I would probably just make fun of, is a great guy, phenomenal actor and a real find.
Darin Moiselle: He had the hardest audition process because he the first guy we saw.
Josh Lobis: He did the funniest version of "Keep On Loving You" and owned it as a married guy, cutting loose, playing REO Speedwagon.
Darin Moiselle: Oddly enough. The last audition we had was Jenny Wade. We were fortunate enough that her other show literally got cancelled the day before she came in.
Josh Lobis: The draft that got us the green light had mentioned a character named Rutherford, who was mentioned but never seen. The network said, "Our favorite character is Rutherford. If you can create and cast this character, then we'll give you the green light to go to pilot." So we rewrote it and the more we wrote it, the more we realized they were right. Rutherford is a hilarious character. The guys needed an authority figure to work for, and the perfect person was Melora Hardin from the Office. We created this backstory for her where she had a singing past. And we didn't know at the time, but Melora has her own act and is a very good singer in her own right and very good.
Darin Moiselle: Melora is an amazing vocalist. And the guys needed an authority figure to feel a sense of threat. So whatever their misadventures, there's a character who is extremely savvy business-wise, very cut-throat, and has the biggest balls.
Q: So with music being so key for you and the show, do you both sing or play instruments?
Darin Moiselle and Josh Lobis (in unison): Very poorly. We don't sing at all.
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