During the fifth season of the popular FX show “Rescue Me,” fans saw a different side of one of the firefighters, as a band he sings in, Apache Stone, became a part of the storyline. But, what fans may not know is that the band is real.
Mike Lombardi has been on the show since the first season, playing firefighter Mike Siletti. When Lombardi first came to New York, he wanted to make a living as a drummer, but he started to get work as an actor – another passion of his.
“Through the success that I’ve had as an actor, it sort of afforded me to have a rehearsal space and, on the side, do this,” Lombardi said.
Even while on the show, Lombardi remained active with his music. About two years ago, he started playing with Apache Stone guitarist Hank Woods. They were eventually joined by bassist David Leatherwood, guitarist Nick Bacon and, most recently, drummer Scott Garapolo.
Last January, Apache Stone recorded its debut CD, and the album comprised of original songs was released recently.
As viewers watched season five of “Rescue Me” unfold, Apache Stone was introduced. The band appeared in a couple episodes, and even performed some songs on the show. And, even in episodes where the band wasn’t shown, they were still talked about.
Lombardi said that it’s not uncommon for show creators/writers Denis Leary and Peter Tolan and writer Evan Reilly to use things from the actors’ real lives in the show.
“He [Leary] found out that I had a band and they’ll always take a storyline or something like that and add a comedic or dramatic element, sort of Hollywoodize it,” he said. “And that’s how we got in.”
Bacon said that, when he got the news about the band being on “Rescue Me,” he thought it was awesome and that it would be an amazing opportunity.
“[It was] really cool that Denis Leary would do something like that…[and] see that Mike has a band and involve it,” Bacon said.
On the show, there have been some jabs at the band, with the other firefighters teasing Lombardi’s character about it. Lombardi said that he knew that would happen but that it didn’t bother him since it’s what would happen in a real firehouse.
Lombardi said that there were some concerns about people not being able to separate the band on the show from the real band. However, he said that he has learned not to take himself too seriously and recognize that it is acting. He said that, with any art, you just have to commit yourself and then put it out there to be judged.
Leatherwood said that there will be people who won’t understand the difference, but it just gives the band a chance to blow people away even more during their live shows.
Of course, being on “Rescue Me” has definitely had its benefits for Apache Stone.
“Obviously it’s great, because ‘Rescue Me’ has opened up a lot of doors for us,” Lombardi said. “I still think that, for most fans who watch ‘Rescue Me,’ we’re like a make-believe TV band. It’s up to us to take it from here.”
Since releasing their debut album, Apache Stone has been working on getting it out as much as possible and have constantly been working on improving their live show. Although they have predominantly been doing shows in the Northeast, they plan to traveling further away to do more performances.
The band also said that they are working on new songs, although they are not sure yet when they might record a second album.