In a case of life imitating art, Teddy Geiger has been cast in a recurring role as a rising young pop star in “Love Monkey,” an upcoming CBS television series, based on the novel by Kyle Smith. “Love Monkey”–also starring Tom Cavanaugh, Jason Priestly, Larenz Tate, and Judy Greer–chronicles the dramatic and comedic misadventures of a 30-something record executive.
Geiger isn’t just an actor pretending to be a singer. Underage Thinking, Teddy Geiger’s debut album, for release on Columbia Records comes from a self-taught musician who wrote and arranged complete compositions on guitar and piano by age eight.
Soon all the world will know about Teddy Geiger. We sat down with him.
HIP: What is it like doing two things: singing and acting?
TEDDY GEIGER: It’s really cool—I love music but I never did the acting thing before.
There was some good timing with the record coming out and the television show. How did it come together?
I really have no clue. (We both laugh) I’m really happy about it but I don’t know how it happened. It was luck.
When did you finish the record?
Most of the songs I wrote last February. There are some songs from when I was little like “Try Too Hard.” It was one of the first songs I wrote.
I know the show Love Monkey is about an A&R guy discovering you. How did you get discovered?
I ended up doing a reality show for the Partridge Family [VH1’s “In Search of the New Partridge Family”]. At first I thought it was cheesy but my mom told me I was doing it. I met Billy Mann, the producer of the show, and he ended up producing the record and set up the talks with Columbia Records. I went in less thinking that I want to be on the show and more that I wanted to met someone and get my foot in the door.
What was it like working with the cast of Love Monkey?
Tom [Cavanaugh, the star of the show] was really funny. He was cool to hang out with.
Where did you shoot it?
New York and Brooklyn. It was cool because they did a lot of location stuff around New York.
When did you shoot the pilot?
We shot… I can’t remember. Last May. I think it was March. When we were shooting the pilot I had to go back to the studio to record stuff.
So it was a nearly simultaneous thing.
It was definitely a symbiotic relationship.
It adds some credibility to the show because you weren’t faking it.
It was cool and the first few episodes I get to play four of my songs.
That’s a good stage—a national television audience.
I know. I was happy about that.
So is every song on the show on the record?
Yep. Every song that is on the show will be on the record.
How many episodes are you in?
As of right now I’m in three episodes. But I think they are going to start filming some now and I think I’ll be filming some of them.
Do you want to do more acting?
Definitely, but music is the thing I want to do most.
I know you toured with Hilary Duff—are you going to be marketed as a teeny-bopper? Do you think about that?
I don’t feel like it’s a bad market. The tour was more about me getting more comfortable on stage and some of the people there were closer to my demographic.
You’ll surely get in the teen magazines. What do you think of that?
It’s weird. Any time I see a publication I can’t believe I’m in it and it is on the shelf. Sometimes I have to force myself to realize its me. It’s so weird.
Who were your music influences?
I listened to a lot of Weezer and a lot of Ben Folds. My first album was Whatever & Ever Amen. I also went through a Dean Martin stage.
I love Dean Martin. I dig the crooners. How did you come to your style?
I never think about who I’m going to take from. It just came naturally.
When did you learn to play and write songs?
Ever since I started playing guitar when I was eight. I took a little piano when I was really little and stop because I didn’t practice and my parents got mad at me. I actually learned how to play by writing on it and making up my own songs.
When did you first start singing?
I used to recordings when I was really little and had a really high voice and then I went through puberty and my voice got terrible. It took some time for it to sound okay.
When did you first play in front of people?
A couple of years ago I was playing at little coffee shops. Before that I was just playing odd songs for older kids.
It takes nerve to play a coffee shop.
I was extremely nervous and the only people there were my friends. I don’t know why but I was really nervous.
Most coffee shops people play because no one is paying attention to them.
That is the other thing. When you play dining establishments people just want to eat. You’re just there bothering them. (We both laugh)
+ Charlie Craine