Rock of Ages: Tune Master

By Sarah Z. Wexler | 05.15.12 | 6:30 am

Rock of Ages

Back in the ’80s, Chris D’Arienzo was a music geek in glasses and headgear. He took breakdancing lessons. So it was with a flood of nostalgia that he wrote the story and picked the tunes for the arena-rock musical Rock of Ages. Now he’s a writer on the big-screen adaptation, out in June, starring Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise, bandanas, and a pair of fringed leather pants.

“It’s a throwback to the buffoonery of rock,” D’Arienzo says. “The bands drank too much, threw stuff out of hotel windows, and looked ridiculous, but they also had wonderful, underrated musicianship.”

Some plot choices were made to accommodate specific songs—he renamed the female lead so he could use Steve Perry’s “Oh Sherrie,” for example. And D’Arienzo would only do the show if he got the rights to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

“It’s one of the most perfect pop-rock songs ever written,” he says. “You could put it at the end of an insurance seminar and people would lose their marbles.”

Other musical high notes: Baldwin kicks off a bromance by singing “Can’t Fight This Feeling” to a dude. And Cruise’s Stacee Jaxx, the ultimate shirtless, fur-jacketed sex god, gets freaky with a Rolling Stone writer to “I Want to Know What Love Is.” Get ready for both characters, like their ’80s originals, to rock you—all night long.

Photos: Gregg Segal