Troops Without Oops

Actor-fronted rock groups are hard things to trust. At best, such bands are privileged mutations, having leapfrogged years of dirty vans and public restrooms and indifferent audiences. Movie star Gary Sinise, known for his portrayals of stoic cops and astronauts, has now turned his steely gaze to the world of cover jams, but his own actor-fronted rock group—the 10 piece Lt. Dan Band—neatly deflects criticism by giving all its money to charity. The band plays cover songs (from “Springsteen to Linkin Park, from Aretha to Hendrix”) largely to military families, a demographic able to strongly identify with Sinise's role as the angry, legless Lieutenant Dan Taylor in 1994's Forrest Gump.

Used to be that a man touring Air Force bases could be counted on for some serious old testament conservatism. Not so these days. Henry Rollins and Al Franken do USO tours, pro-war guys vandalize troop memorials in Crawford, and even some of the most hardcore hawks want the troops home by Mother's Day. For his part, Sinise keeps virtually mum, letting Springsteen and Aretha and Hendrix do the talking. When ultraconservative pressed him for ideology, he demurred, preferring to speak of the mission: kids, charity, support. Who would go on record being against those things? You?

Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band with Dave Silver Band at the Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 496-8930; Sat., 8 p.m. $27.50. All ages.

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