Oct 09 2018
Brian Falduto is best known as Billy aka Fancy Pants in the 2003 movie School of Rock. He came out as gay as a senior in college, but may have been the last to know, considering his character was famous for adoring Liza and uttering the words “You're tacky and I hate you,” lines he delivered so credibly he became known as the gay kid from School of Rock.
Having that mantle placed on you in the fifth grade can be daunting, and it would seem Falduto has dealt with the fallout via therapy, and in song — he has spent time working on music since his sole movie appearance, releasing an EP and, soon, his debut album, Stage Two.
In a casual teaser of the album Monday night at NYC's the Cutting Room, Falduto sang tracks from the new album, including his current single “Rainy Day.” Warmly received by the crowd, he also touched on his EP, did some covers, had two opening acts and allowed two of his backing singers to perform works (look up Elizabeth Wyld, she was amazing). On the therapy tip, he did two readings from a book he says inspired his album, The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World by Alan Downs, Ph.D.
The 2005 book is widely read and was trumpeted by Oprah, but has weathered criticism for being specifically about white gay men, and for relying on stereotypes. Falduto's passion for it is sincere, though, even if I came away thinking his performance didn't really need such a literal tie-in to the work that inspired it.
Falduto's music is country-pop, ranging from unashamedly corny stompers to ballads to Top 40-ready mid-tempo songs, all filled with more than the average amount of introspection and self-assessment, perhaps a side effect of his work as a certified life coach.
He had fun onstage and it was infectious; he said the release of his album is something he's dreamed of since Carrie Underwood won American Idol, and it felt like he'd worked on his stage presence that long, too — he was comfortable and confident, particularly in closing the show with a The Band Perry cover.
Here's hoping it goes from, “Did you know Brian Falduto is the gay kid from School of Rock?” to, “Did you know the gay kid from School of Rock is Brian Falduto?”
Check out his single “Rainy Day” here.
Full set list:
“Stay a Little Longer” (Brothers Osborne cover)
“The One I’m After”
“Just a Phase”
“Kiss You Back” (duet w/Mateo)
“Strange Love” (original song by Elizabeth Wyld)
“One More” (duet w/Mateo)
“Turn That Song Back On”/“Love Wins” (Carrie Underwood) medley
Encore: “Done” (The Band Perry cover)