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Young and Tragic: Ryan Gosling and Dead Man’s Bones
Ryan Gosling with his band, Dead Man’s Bones. Photo credits:

Nepo Baby? Nope. 

Born Nov. 12, 1980, in Ontario, Canada to a paper mill salesman and a secretary,  Ryan Gosling began his acting career in his teens with his uncle’s Elvis Presley tribute act.  But, he soon moved on to greater things, joining the cast of The Mickey Mouse Club from 1993 to 1995. Disliking his Canadian accent, he decided to change it, thinking that it didn’t sound tough and modeling his new accent after Marlon Brando. 

Gosling’s breakout roles were as a Jewish neo-Nazi in The Believer in 2001 and the  male lead in The Notebook in 2004. He went on to star in Lars and the Real Girl, Crazy, Stupid,  Love, Drive, The Nice Guys¸ La La Land, Blade Runner 2049, First Man, and Barbie, winning a  Golden Globe for La La Land and being nominated for an Academy Award for Lars and the Real Girl and La La Land.  

But Ryan Gosling is not just an actor, he is also one half of a rock duo called Dead  Man’s Bones. The duo was formed in 2007 after Gosling met Zach Shields while he was  dating Rachel McAdams and Shields was dating her sister. Despite their initial opposition to  their forced proximity, they discovered mutual obsession with the Haunted Mansion ride  and ghosts. Shields was put in therapy as a child due to his obsession, and Gosling’s family  moved out of their childhood home believing that it was haunted. Neither outgrew their  fascination.  

They initially conceived of the project as a monster-themed musical but settled on forming a band instead. Shields was inspired by Ghetto Reality, created by Nancy Dupree,  one of Zach’s teachers, that allowed her students to create their own music and Gosling was  inspired by Hans Fenger, a Canadian, who created the Langley Schools Music Program, that 

trained 60 children that covered many songs by the Beatles and the Beach Boys. This led to  them wanting to include children in their album. The album ended up featuring members of  the Silverlake Conservatory of Music’s children’s choir. 

Each learned all of the instruments used on the album, as they have never played any  before. Gosling contributed vocals, piano, guitar, bass guitar and cello to the record and  Shields contributed vocals, drums, percussion, guitar. They also imposed rules upon  themselves during recording, including not using a click track and not doing more than three  takes per song, and incorporated tin foil for rain, creaking doors, paper ripping for thunder,  footsteps, screaming, crying, waves, werewolf howling, boat noises, and more into the  album.  

They released the music video and song “In the Room Where You Sleep” in December  2008 and the music video and song “Name in Stone” in April 2009. In October 2009, they  released the entire album through ANTI Records. They toured during Halloween 2009 with a  local choir, and instead of having an opener, they held a talent show before each  performance.  

They also released “Dead Hearts” and “Pa Pa Power” in 2010. “Lose Your Soul” was  featured in Age of Panic and “In the Room Where You Sleep” was featured in The Conjuring.  In 2011, Gosling spoke of his intentions to record a second Dead Man’s Bones album, but  no album has been released yet. During the promotion for Barbie, Gosling indicated that he  was interested in making more music in the future. 

Essential Listens: “In the Room Where You Sleep,” “Lose Your Soul,” “Pa Pa Power”

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