Andrew and Kinsey had the opportunity to speak with actor and musician Drake Bell at his recent performance in Starkville, Mississippi. Bell first rose to stardom in the early 2000s, starring in classic Nickelodeon shows “The Amanda Show” and “Drake & Josh.” He also is known for providing the voice of Peter Parker/Spiderman in the animated series “Ultimate Spiderman.” In addition to his acting career, he is an accomplished musician with several albums and EPs under his belt. He is currently working on new music and touring around the United States, as well as working on a new project with former co star Josh Peck! Check out our conversation below and let us know what you think.
Several months ago, you released the video for “Fuego Lento.” It was a mesmerizing visual experience! How did you come up with the concept?
It was actually my friend Chris Applebaum’s idea. He does the Eats Channel on Instagram. He’s done a bunch of really amazing videos like Rihanna’s “Umbrella” video, “Party in the USA” for Miley [Cyrus]. He did the [Fountains of Wayne] “Stacy’s Mom” video. So he’s done a lot of groundbreaking stuff. Do you remember those old commercials where Paris Hilton was eating the Carl’s Jr. cheeseburger while she’s washing the car? He also did those. So the concept came from his stuff. We just collaborated and came up with that. We actually just finished filming the official music video for the song and I’m in it. We were filming in Mexico City last week.
Were you actually present for the filming of the other one?
It looked like a fun day in the office!
It was! [Laughs]
Since you released the “Honest” EP two years ago, you’ve been a totally independent artist, touring more extensively, and releasing music more frequently. How have you grown as an artist? What has the journey of becoming independent been like?
It’s really cool because I’m able to do whatever the hell I want. I can put out music whenever I want and make whatever type of music I want to make. It’s just a lot more freeing. I can go on the road whenever I want.
You experiment with different genres and sounds. Will you continue to try different things in the future? Do you ever see yourself settling on a certain sound?
I don’t know if I’ll ever settle for a certain sound. I’ll definitely do more in specific genres, but I don’t know if I could ever just put out a record and then be like “Oh, cool let’s try and put out something that sounds pretty similar to that.” Growing up with bands like the Beatles and Queen and all these bands that were so diverse, they have such a big catalogue, so that’s what I would like to do.
Is it out of the realm of possibility that you would ever make something more in the Rock world again?
No, not at all. Actually, it’s funny that you said that. I was in the car earlier and I can’t remember what we were listening to, but I was like “Man, I think I need to just rock again!” I just want to do some heavy guitar rock.
A few years ago you were streaming these new songs that were never officially released. I think they might have been called “Ocean Blue” and “Give Me Your Love Back?” I thought those songs sounded really cool! Is there any chance that those will ever see the light of day?
Yeah, I gotta get back on those. You know, actually it’s funny. The only reason we haven’t released them is because we can’t find the files [laughs]. But those are definitely songs that we want to finish and release eventually.
Who produced those songs?
I did those with a buddy of mine named Lee Miles. We did those at my house, like just in my living room and we never ended up finishing them. It was some super cool stuff.
Yeah, we’ve gotta get those out sometime. Now that I do all my own music, I’ve been thinking about re-recording and finishing all the stuff we were never able to do before.
Has it ever been difficult trying to balance your music career with your acting career?
The only thing about balancing the acting and the music is being in LA to audition. If you’re working, you can make a movie or do some TV, and then go on the road for a little bit and then come back. The only time you’re gonna really have to balance it is if you’re auditioning a ton. I really don’t like auditioning, so I’m trying to do it as little as possible.
I know everyone’s been asking about the new project you and Josh [Peck] are working on. I want to see if I can get a little deeper. You’ve said it’s not a reboot per se, but is there any connection to the original series or is it a completely new idea?
It’s a completely new idea. We’ll be playing different characters and it’ll be a little more adult. It actually wouldn’t be for Nickelodeon.
Will you and Josh have a part in the creative process in terms of writing, directing, and producing?
Yes! Josh came up with a really creative idea. It’s really funny and I think the fans are gonna love it. It’s just definitely not the characters Drake Parker and Josh Nichols.
Is there any possibility of other former Drake & Josh actors appearing in it?
Is there a time frame when we can expect to learn more about this or a release date?
But it is for sure happening, right?
Do you have any other upcoming projects you want to talk about?
Just more new music to come. Once we get back into town, I have a couple of songs I have to finish and then I’ll be getting back on the road at some point. So a little more of everything!
[At this point, the interview was over, but Andrew had to ask Drake a burning question he had from “Drake & Josh.” He thought other people might find it interesting too.]
One episode of Drake and Josh that’s always intrigued me was “The Storm” because of Josh’s absence from the episode. Do you remember why he wasn’t able to be in it?
Isn’t he in the beginning of the episode?
Yeah, he’s in the cold open and then he just sort of disappears.
I think he got sick because we shot the cold open after everything else. He wasn’t there all week, so it wasn’t like he was there on Monday and then didn’t show up for the rest week. He wasn’t there all week so we had to shoot the show around him not being there. I don’t know if he was working on something else or if he was sick. It would make more sense that he was sick, but I can’t remember.
I’m curious if there was ever a former draft written that had him included in it more?
I think so and then he just got so sick that we either had to cancel the week of shooting or figure out a way to shoot around him. I think we were just so lucky for it to happen on an episode that had everybody in it.
Below are some of Andrew & Kinsey’s favorite Drake & Josh memes! They quote some of these in their daily lives. Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments!