Tom Sinclair and Ethan Smith
September 06, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

He’s played Bill of Bill and Ted; he plays a rough-riding scientist in Chain Reaction; and soon the world will witness proto-slacker Keanu Reeves play…a bass guitar. ”Our songs are kind of deceiving. They have a pop aspect to them, but the lyrics are not poppy,” insists the 32-year-old, whose power trio Dogstar releases Our Little Visionary on Sept. 17. ”We’re not trying to cop anyone’s sound: We’re doing our own thing. Hopefully, people will like it.” The bands Reeves digs — but that he’s careful not to copy — aren’t likely to speed up the charts any time soon.

Who do you like on the scene now?

I like this band Plexi I’ve seen in L.A. And Lifter — I just got their album [Melinda (Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt)] a few weeks ago.

And who are your all-time favorites?

I’d say Fugazi, the Ramones, Exploited, Discharge, early Elvis Costello, the Clash, Violent Femmes, Joy Division, Minor Threat, and Bad Brains. That’s definitely what I cut my teeth on.

So, does being a struggling musician interfere with your career as a movie star?

You mean, as an actor?

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