My Favorite Album: Alan Tudyk on Loudon Wainwright III's "Grown Man" | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, May 27th, 2020  

My Favorite Album: Alan Tudyk on Loudon Wainwright III’s “Grown Man”

"I was blown away. It was the perfect kind of music for me."

Jan 28, 2020 Issue #66 - My Favorite Album - Angel Olsen and Sleater-Kinney
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Loudon Wainwright III's Grown Manit's hard to narrow down to any one album, but that album is important as far as when it came along in my life. And it's a classic Loudon album.

I was shooting a movie in North Carolina. It was the first movie I did where I had a larger role, a movie with Sandra Bullock called 28 Days. It was about rehab. Viggo Mortensen was also in it and Margo Martindale and Steve Buscemi, and Loudon Wainwright, who's role was "Guitar Guy." I wind up going to set every day in a van sitting next to him. He didn't say anything, and I didn't have anything to say to him. We were just quietly going to work. So there was another actress named Susan Krebs, who's also a jazz singer, who was in the movie, and her and I got along. And Susan and I were talking about music all the time, because she's a singer and I love music. And one day she's like, "Do you know who Loudon Wainwright is?" And I don't. I have no idea. And she's like, "Come by my room. I have his new album. I'll play it for you." And she played Grown Man. And I was blown away. It was the perfect kind of music for me. He's a troubadour. He's a poet. The way that he uses language. He just does that thing with my brain where it just gives me glee and joy. I become that annoying guy going, "Back up, back up. Listen to the words. Listen to what he just said. You gotta hear how he says it. He coulda-said-this-but-he-didn't-he-said-that." So I after that first listen I went out to a music store, which used to exist before the Internet, and bought six other albums. And of course the next day when I sat in the van next to Loudon I'm like, "So, ha ha, Loudon. Alan Tudyk. Good to meet you. Uh, can we talk a little bit about Grown Man real quick?" He was very patient with me and talked through everything.

I had a relationship that was kind of starting to fray at the edges. And most of Grown Man is about relationships under duress. On the album there's this song "Dreaming," which is one of his best songs I think ever. He actually played it in the movie as "Guitar Guy." It starts out "I'd rather be dreaming than living..." And it just resonated with me. When Loudon was on set playing this song live he sat in a hallway. I was not in the scene, so I didn't get to be on set, but he was right by a door that had a grate. Because we were filming in a rehab facility the door had this vent, like a fence on the bottom half of it. So I'm lying on the floor on the other side of that door just listening to him sing this song over and over and over again. I mean, come on. That's fucking special.

(Alan Tudyk is an actor who is best known for his role as Hoban "Wash" Washburne in the short-lived television series Firefly and the film Serenity. In addition to starring in such films as Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story; I, Robot; and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Tudyk has voiced characters in every Disney film since 2012's Wreck-It-Ralph. He recently played the villainous Mr. Nobody on DC Universe's Doom Patrol, and will soon star in the upcoming Syfy series Resident Alien, as well as reprising his role as the droid K-2SO in the upcoming live action Star Wars series for Disney+ following the adventures of rebel spy Cassian Andor. Portions of Alan Tudyk's conversation have been abridged and edited for structure and flow.)

 [Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 66 of Under the Radar's print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online. For the issue we interviewed musicians and actors about their all-time favorite album.]

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