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Crowe Blows Off Grunts Tour

Oscar-winning actor, Australian pub-rock singer Russell Crowe canceled plans for a US Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts tour citing a “massive level of stress” – that and his head still hurts from his latest brawl:

    announced he has headed home to Australia to spend time with his ailing father and girlfriend.

    “Though I love all aspects of my work, and it has certainly benefited my family in myriad ways, the success of the last three or four years has also brought with it an undeniably massive level of stress, not only to me but to my immediate and extended family and to my friends and friendships,” Crowe says in an announcement posted on the Grunts’ Website, gruntland.com.

    He explains that he wants to be with his dad when he recovers from a series of surgeries on his wrists for carpal tunnel syndrome (the operations are slated for December).

    And in a rather sensitive moment for the oft-surly star, Mr. Beautiful Mind goes public with his love for current squeeze, singer Danielle Spencer, saying he wants to race home to be with her.

    “I am in love with Danielle Spencer, but I don’t get to spend nearly enough time with her,” says Crowe. “Dani has been very patient with all of the speculations of the past year or so, which I thank her for. I feel a great need to wake up with her as many days of my life as I can.” [from E! online]

I think Crowe is a great actor, but as is often the case, what makes him a great actor – an ability to “live in the moment,” intensity, vast reserves of charm – turn him into a recklessly womanizing, brawling lout in real life:

    Ever since his Academy Award-winning stint in Gladiator, Crowe, 38, has led a life the tabloids dream about.

    From a kidnapping plot against him to his affair with a married Meg Ryan to his … frequent barroom brawls (most recently last week in London), Crowe has gotten nearly as much ink for his acting as for his extracurricular activities.

    No word on whether the latest restaurant row had anything to do with Crowe’s massive stress.

Yes, fighting a Kiwi multi-millionaire in a London men’s room a week ago today:

    According to reports in London’s Sun and Daily Mirror tabloids, complete with photos of a scuffed-up Crowe illustrating their stories, the pony-tailed actor had been knocking down a few pints in a West End pub before heading over to Zuma–an It hangout frequented by movie stars, rockers, heads of state and even royalty–for a Japanese repast.

    Crowe, in town to attend the funeral of friend and Gladiator costar Richard Harris, ran into another New Zealander at the restaurant, a wealthy businessman named Eric Watson. Crowe and Watson reportedly have a strained relationship, apparently dating back to a fight over a woman two years ago.

    But, onlookers said, the two men initially seemed to be engaged in a calm conversation. The tete-a-tete became more unruly as the evening progressed, however, until the two eventually came to blows in the little boy’s room. A member of Crowe’s entourage heard the row and rushed in to find Watson on top of the Oscar winner who was on the floor, apparently giving Mr. Beautiful Mind a good pounding.

    It was at that point restaurant staff called the police.

    “All hell broke loose for a few moments and Crowe completely lost it,” one eyewitness expounded in the Sun.

    A man dining at another table managed to pull the two apart. He sent the enraged Crowe to his corner (that is, the restaurant’s bar), where he reportedly began yelling at a woman who was apparently Watson’s dinner date.

    The 38-year-old actor sustained a scratch near his eye and bruises on his mug. Watson’s face also endured some swelling.

    By the time the police arrived at Zuma at 12:45 a.m., Crowe laughed off the incident. Neither man filed any complaint. [From E!]

Those crazy Kiwi’s: you wouldn’t see, say, Bill Gates and Sylvester Stallone duking it out so unceremoniously in a men’s room, but it’s par for the course for Russell, who works hard, plays hard, loves hard, and gets his head beat in a fair amount:

    Crowe’s two-fisted extracurricular activity has been well documented.

    Twice over the summer he was reportedly involved in bar brawls in Rosarito, Mexico, where he was filming The Far Side of the World. In August, Crowe got into a shoving match with a fellow actor, only to have his foe’s girlfriend put Crowe in a headlock. Two weeks later, Crowe reportedly got into it with a group of drinkers who taunted the burly star. Crowe was spared an ass-kicking when his female personal trainer stepped in, knocking down three of his assailants and then dragging Crowe to safety.

    Back in February, Crowe roughed up television director Malcolm Gerrie after he cut short Crowe’s Best Actor acceptance speech at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards. (Crowe later apologized to Gerrie, but many saw the altercation as the reason Crowe didn’t win his second Oscar for A Beautiful Mind.)

    A 1999 bar scuffle starring Crowe wound up being played out in an Australian court when two men who obtained security-cam footage of the fight were accused of trying to blackmail Crowe. They were later acquitted of the charges.

    Of course, all this might just be Crowe’s version of Method acting. After all, one of the next projects on his plate is playing brawling boxer Jim Braddock in Universal’s in-development Cinderella Man.

Okay, so Crowe is a dick, but we know he’s a great actor (credit where credit is due) – is he also a great singer?

In a word, no. He isn’t awful, he isn’t embarrassing, and I don’t begrudge his musical career considering the fact that it predates his acting career:

    Russell began his music career while still at school, forming a band called The Interrogatives. Russell was always a fan of music but never followed the fashions of the day. While everyone else was listening to Flock of Seagulls, Russell was listening to Frank Sinatra and Elvis. Russell had already released singles before turning 18 and at that age opened an underage nightclub called ‘The Venue’ where kids could go and watch all the happening live bands of the time. Russell also performed in stage musicals such as ‘Grease’. ‘The Venue’ is where Dean & Russell first met while dean was auditioning for a local band called ‘The Mockers’. Together they formed Roman Antix, which had a succession of drummers and bass players but kept the core of Russell & Dean.

    Roman Antix released one single – ‘What’s The Difference’ and played all over New Zealand. Also during this time, Russell started performing as ‘Eddie’ and ‘Dr Scott’ in The Rocky Horror Show, while Dean joined the show as guitarist.

    On arrival in Australia in 1987, Russell & Dean started busking on the streets of Sydney to earn a living. Russell split his time between writing and recording with Dean and auditioning for acting rolls. They amassed a large catalogue of songs and decided to form a full band that would go out and play them. TOFOG is the result. [from the Grunts’ site]

But as a singer, Crowe is a great actor. I actually like the casual, loose pub-rock of the Grunts pretty well, and guitarist Garth Adam has a nice melodic touch on their CD, Bastard Life or Clarity, but Crowe is the kind of singer who isn’t sure what he is supposed to be: an electric folky, a rock ‘n’ roller, ironic, sincere, theatrical, earthy. He’s all of the above but none for long and none terribly convincingly. Plus, his lyrics are pretty lame, although his recent bout with “massive stress” was presaged in his “Things Have Got to Change” song:

“Pointless conversation
Changing nothing
Just wasting time
High stress situation baby
Never been a friend of mine”

You can say that again, “baby.”

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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