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Tom Cruise, Def Leppard, Bret Michaels and More Celebrate ‘Rock of Ages’ Premiere

Movie cast, Eighties bands take over Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles

Rock of Ages Premiere

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Were there any artists you looked at for inspiration?
I hadn't studied music in the way that I needed to play a musician, so I went back and studied it. Adam [Shankman] gave me a lot of books, and I also called Cameron Crowe and he gave me some biographies to look at, [including] one on Led Zeppelin. I looked at the Eighties, I looked at these guys, [but] I had to make the character my own. You look at the styles, [and] when you start working on something, you just kind of become something else. 

How nice is it be able to go to Cameron for advice on playing a musician?
He wasn't directing this film, but he and I were exchanging emails and I said, "Take a look at this stuff." And he was very encouraging. 

Mary J. Blige

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Mary J. Blige (Justice)

Did you feel like the veteran singer in the cast?
When I heard Tom I was like, "Okay, maybe he's a closet singer, maybe he's a rock & roll star on the low because he's so good." So I didn't feel like a veteran; I just felt like a part of a bunch of great people doing great things. 

Were there any songs that jumped out at you or surprised you?
It would probably be "Any Way You Want It" because Steve Perry sings so high, and it was like, "Wow, I didn't know I could pull that one off." But I did. 

Catherine Zeta Jones

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Catherine Zeta-Jones (Patricia Whitmore)

What was your Eighties musical experience like?
I was working during my time in the Eighties, but it was a real delayed reaction for me. I was into the new romantics, the frilly shirts and Adam Ant with a white stripe across his face . . . Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran . . . I still am a Chrissie Hynde and Pretenders fan. 

Were there Eighties people you looked to as role models for the film?
If I wanted to be a rock star, I'd be Chrissie Hynde. I was just thrilled to be singing a Pat Benatar song. I've always [been] a big fan of hers, and I got to sing one of my favorite songs, "Hit Me With Your Best Shot."

Adam Shankman

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Adam Shankman (Director)

I've gotten a chance to talk to a lot of musicians tonight. This is a big night for them. 
I think right now we have empirical proof that this music is infinitely more enduring than people gave it credit for back then. When a lot of the music of this era has fallen away, this music has absolutely endured. It's on commercials: "Kickstart My Heart" is out there right now, "We're Not Gonna Take It" is out there right now, "Don't Stop Believing" is literally, like, the anthem of earth at this point, so I think it's proven its mettle, so to speak.

What genre would you like to do this with next?
We just sold a jukebox musical all set in the country world, so we're about to go into the country world and do the same thing I did with Rock Of Ages

Def Leppard

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Def Leppard

What made you say yes to licensing your music for the movie?
Joe Elliot: We pretty much all said yes to the film because we just had a gut feeling. What we had originally with the play was a gut feeling it wasn't cool. And we may have been wrong, we may have been right, who knows. But with the film, we just knew we were right. 

Did you see any of the film before you agreed to do it?
Joe: We were there when Tom sung his bits for "Pour Some Sugar On Me." It was in Fort Lauderdale about a year ago. We just played West Palm Beach and they invited us to come and see him shoot it, that was very cool. 

How'd he do?
Joe: He was great, he did a good job. He got in really deep with the project. 

Eighties music has been so maligned – does the movie feel like vindication?
Rick Savage: There were a lot of good songs. In any era there's a lot of rubbish as well, but a hell of a lot of great songs came out of that time. And if the movie can project that, then it'll do everybody a great service. 

Bret Michaels

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Bret Michaels

What's it like to play for this Hollywood crowd?
I get excited whenever I play, but to be here with Catherine, Tom and everyone and having a party, that's an awesome day. And the fact that it's with Def Leppard, my friends, I'm in my natural environment and what I love to do is play music.

Kevin Cronin

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Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon)

How was it to be in Rock of Ages and have "I Can't Fight This Feeling" featured in the movie?
When I did the cameo, the first thing Russell Brand says to me is, "Mate, I think we finally discovered the essence of what you wrote the song about." And of course it's him singing a love song to Alec Baldwin. Not precisely what I wrote it about, but it'll work. I never could quite have predicted this one. The first time I saw the Broadway show, I about shit myself. It was this combination of pride and horror at the same time, but it was great. 

How much fun is this for you?
It's very awesome. The Eighties had a lot of different kinds of music. There was us and this kind of thing, but there was also the parallel universe of U2, the Police and all that serious stuff. Our stuff is lighter and it's more, "Have a good time, put the top down and drink a beer." When you see the longevity of it, it does kind of make people kind of go, "You know what? REO Speedwagon didn't suck as much as I thought they did. They still suck, but not as much as I thought."

Lita Ford

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Lita Ford

How much vindication is it to be here on Hollywood Boulevard?
It's really cool and I'm so glad because a lot of people miss this era in rock & roll. I think it's really missed because the music is so rocking. The music has changed along with that era in time too, so I just think people miss the arena rock.

Do you think the movie also points out the fun from the time?
It does. We were an absolute family, all of Hollywood Blvd., Sunset Blvd., Santa Monica Blvd. – we were all one big family. You'd wake up on somebody's floor the next day, "Where the hell am I? Whose house am I at?"

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