updated 03/23/2007 AT 4:05 PM ET
•originally published 03/25/2007 AT 8:25 PM ET
Reading minds is a super power that really comes in handy for a down-on-his-luck cop like Matt Parkman, the role actor Greg Grunberg plays on NBC’s Heroes.
But in the real world, Grunberg, 40, is doing something powerful on his own: playing with an all-star band. Besides Grunberg on drums, there’s Desperate Housewives’ James Denton on guitar, House’s Hugh Laurie on piano and The Bachelor’s Bob Guiney as singer, among others.
The name of the group? Band From TV – and PEOPLE got an inside look at the group and a chat with Grunberg.
How did Band From TV start?
I was on the Dating Game, believe it or not, and met a former child actor named Brad Savage. He plays bass, and we played with another buddy of his and over the years, it turned into a portion of Band From TV. These are really good musicians, yet they all have day jobs, like Brad is a trailer movie editor for Universal. I was asked to play at a Guitar Center event, and I said let’s get some celebrities behind it. I had just done House, and I asked Hugh Laurie if he wanted to play. Then I did a charity event with James Denton, and he’s such a great guy. Then I met Bob Guiney at a charity event. Then actor Elon Gold introduced us to Bonnie Sommerville. Everyone brings their own flavor of music.
How does Band From TV work?
All the celebrities have a charity that they are behind. We opened up a 501 c3 non-profit in the name of the band so all of the money we get from gigs or the DVD we have coming out in September, and we just did two songs for the House soundtrack – all the money that comes in goes into a fund, and then we decide from there let’s give some money to Save the Children, let’s give some money to the Pediatric Epilepsy Project, let’s help the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It’s a great way for us to live this rock and roll fantasy for whenever we play and get the word out about these charities and give them the funds and exposure they need. It’s a win-win, and we are having a great time.
Your son Jake, 10, has epilepsy. Is it through your work with PEP that the Epilepsy Foundation asked you to emcee the first National Walk for Epilepsy on March 31?
Yes. First, they asked to do an article on me for Epilepsy USA magazine. Out of that they asked me to be the chairperson for this first walk and come to DC and meet some Congress people, and so I am doing it and I am so honored they chose me. I get to honor the gentleman who jumped into the subway in New York last year and saved the man having a seizure, so it’s all coming together really nicely.
On March 26 and April 2, NBC.com is having an auction of original Tim Sale art from Heroes to benefit the Epilepsy Foundation. Was that your idea?
No! NBC brought me to tears when they approached me and said that this is where they wanted the money to go, and I was so touched by it. I am really humbled they want to do this in my name. They are actually auctioning off the big ones – Hiro with his sword facing off against the dinosaur, the Cheerleader running up the stairs, which is so iconic, and the exploding man – it’s amazing they are putting these things up for sale at all. I will be bidding – that’s how excited I am!