Tuesday, Oct 09 2012 12:46 PM

MATT MUNOZ: 'Malcolm' in the middle - of a new music career

BY MATT MUNOZ Californian staff writer mmunoz@bakersfield.com

The transition from child to adult is awkward, but even worse when the entire world is watching you on the tube every week.

Just ask actor Frankie Muniz, who TV viewers remember as the gifted misfit Malcolm on Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle," a gig that earned him the title of "Hollywood's Most Bankable Teen" at the height of the show's popularity. After the series ended in 2006, Muniz stayed busy, appearing in a number of action and comedy flicks like "Agent Cody Banks" and "Walk Hard." He even took up Formula car racing until an injury forced him to hit the breaks in 2009.

But as the lights began to dim on acting and racing, Muniz had already begun contemplating a new career as a full-time musician. Playing a supporting role, as drummer, he and his bandmates from pop/alternative quartet Kingsfoil make a stop at Elements Venue on Saturday.

Muniz, who debuted with Kingsfoil in April, is featured on the band's second full-length album, "A Beating Heart is a Bleeding Heart," released in August. Muniz and company are on an epic self-financed trek across the country to promote the release.

"There's been good and bad comments, because I've been on TV," said Muniz during a phone interview earlier this week. "In the past, I've seen actors getting up on stage trying to be in a band, and I've said, 'Oh god, they're gonna suck,' so I understand. My favorite reaction is usually, 'I came here to see you almost as a joke, but you guys are not what I expected.' They just have to give it a chance because I've been playing drums for years. Based on what people have said after our shows, we seem to be winning fans over by letting the music speak for what we do."

Still looking as if he stepped off the set of 'Malcolm,' the now 26-year-old Muniz says he's been enjoying his foray into the world of truck stop food and all-night drives to the next gig. No scripts to read -- just making music at his own pace, sans the excesses of Hollywood's late-night party scene.

"I never cared about the Hollywood lifestyle. I'm friends with all the child actors, but I see some of the paths they've taken. I've stopped and tried to figure out why this happens. They just get sucked into the world of Hollywood and all the partying, the drugs, all of that. Once the fame starts to go away a little bit, they need something to fill that void. Doing crazy things to stay in the spotlight is usually going to turn out bad."

On record, Kingsfoil are a radio-friendly unit with all the timely elements of pop's lighter melodic side. Production is current, slick, but for an independent release -- the band is currently unsigned -- quite catchy, with Muniz providing a solid backbeat.

"I'm turning 27 in a month, and I've never drank, smoked, I've never done anything like that. When 'Malcolm in the Middle' was over, I moved to Arizona to just have a normal life. It's hard enough trying to live in Hollywood -- going to the grocery store or the movies is a process. Good luck trying to find parking. So I just wanted to do stuff like, know my grocer's name, my mailman. I got that with leaving. Now I'm doing exactly what I wanna do, which is play music."

Even with a busy music schedule, Muniz hasn't given up acting. He has a couple of upcoming appearances on TV, in an episode of the ABC comedy "Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23" and next year's "Blowing Vegas Off the Map."

"If something comes up and the timing is good, I'll work on more acting projects, but I'm not actively pursuing anything right now. I'm just enjoying the music and especially enjoying driving through South Dakota this very moment."

Joining Muniz onstage is Jordan Davis, guitar and vocals; Tristan Martin, guitar and keyboard; and Tim Warren, bass.

Friday's showtime is 7 p.m. Admission is $10. Show is all ages. Also appearing: Voxhaul Broadcast, the Burning of Rome, Streetside Vinyl, Cidona. Elements Venue is located at 3401 Chester Ave. (next door to the Ice House.) For more information, visit timgardeapresents.com.

 

Matt's pick

Masters of Malfunktion at On the Rocks, 1517 18th St., 9 p.m. tonight. Free.

A teaming like this isn't found in a downtown club very often. Classic rock and jazz fusion with highly rhythmic technicality and plentiful solos, the Masters of Malfunktion are guaranteed to light a funky fire or two. Featuring the father-and-son duo of Mike and Matt Bhone on bass and drums, along with saxophonist Paul Perez and guitarist Pat O'Connell, this is a rare opportunity to see these local vets together for a one-night stand. Highly recommended.

Architecture, Choirs at Riley's Backstage, 1523 19th St., 9 p.m., Saturday, $5.

Both The Architecture and Choirs have been heralded as two of Bakersfield's most promising new groups, and with good reason. They have great followings and both produced well-received EPs to devoted fans. But after building up to two packed houses in celebration of their respective releases, they suddenly pulled back with a small number of shows through spring and summer. According to each band's Facebook updates, it turns out both groups have been writing new material and are eager to share it with local masses this weekend.

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