With a name like Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, you know that FX’s newest series is going to push the limits. Premiering tonight at 10 p.m. EST, the show follows the life of an ‘80s rock star named Johnny Rock (Denis Leary), who struggles to reclaim the spotlight after his fall from fame—and his old band mates are right by his side and ready for round two. Among Johnny’s crew is his main squeeze and backup singer Ava, played by The Parent Trap and Romi and Michele’s High School Reunion star and real-life singer Elaine Hendrix. InStyle recently chatted with the actress, and we asked her why the new show is a must-watch. Hendrix’s blunt response? “Because it’s sex and drugs and rock and roll.” Fair enough.
While the title may be self-explanatory, the show is as outrageous as it sounds—and things get wild. Actually, wild “is too tame a word to describe how these people were back in the day,” said Hendrix. And when the band was set to hit mega-stardom in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, her character was in the center of the chaos. “Ava lived with Johnny and two other women, and it really was sex and drugs and rock and roll for them,” Hendrix said. But Johnny learned that the free love didn’t come without its consequences. “He ended up having a daughter through one of his other relationships, but no one ever knew about her.”
Which brings the show to the present. “After Johnny crashed and burned and took everyone down with him, he’s struggling—but suddenly his daughter shows up and wants to be famous,” said Hendrix. “He finds out she really is über-talented, and now the band thinks that they’re going to get a second chance because of her.” And even though his glory days may be behind him, Leary’s character still has game. “Ava and Johnny are very committed to one another,” said Hendrix. “As dysfunctional as they are, they have an intense love where they can’t live with each other and can’t live without each other—and I think that’s pretty typical in the rock world.”
Also typical for any major band of the past? Being the subject of a “Where Are They Now” TV documentary, which you can glimpse in the premiere. “There’s a lot of old footage and interviews, and that’s how you learn who they were then versus who they are now,” said Hendrix. But when it comes to their looks, not much has changed for the band over the years. “They’re a bit stuck in the past,” said Hendrix. “It’s very clear that Ava stuck with one style, but made it a little more modern. She’s not afraid to be really bold with her choices—and she loves a good leather jacket.” Johnny, on the other hand, isn’t putting away his shoulder pads just yet. “He’s stayed true to his style—he really hasn’t changed it at all.”
Although Hendrix’s character hasn’t changed much, the actress’s roles certainly have. “In The Parent Trap, I played a bitch, and in Romi and Michele, too—but at least in that one my character ended up helping to save the day,” she said. And Hendrix is bringing the same fierceness to Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, only her latest character is a bit friendlier. “In this show, I still get to be strong—but I get to be funny, too,” she said. Not to mention, Hendrix is far from the chick-flick and family-friendly genres this time around. “We’re in more of a guy world,” she said.
Check it out in the trailer below and tune in to FX tonight at 10 p.m. EST for the series premiere.