Although she’s happy with her day job on the successful F/X series “Sons of Anarchy,” in her heart, she’s a singer – and she gets a chance to show it as part of a new collection of songs from the show’s first four seasons.
“I love being an actor, but there’s something about playing music that’s a gift,” the 57-year-old Sagal admits.
In the past, Sagal recorded on Elektra and Casablanca Records. But times have changed in the music business for her, and she paid to record her last album. Sagal yearns to record again in a more traditional manner.
“I’m still old school. I have to go in the studio with a producer.”
Music From Sons of Anarchy: Season 1-4 features three songs by Sagal, and represents a return to her main love. Though Sagal gained her fame as an actress, her first big break in show business was in music.
Sagal sang with everyone from Gene Simmons to Bob Dylan to Etta James. She toured as a backup vocalist with Bette Midler. She was enjoying moderate success when a friend persuaded her to go for an acting job. By that time Sagal, the daughter of director Boris Sagal and who had acted briefly in her teens on television, was in her late twenties.
“I didn’t realize until someone said that I should audition for a play, and I did, and I got it, and all of a sudden I was an actor,” Sagal says.
Sagal’s success began with her role as the tartish Peg Bundy in the sitcom “Married With Children,” which ran from 1987 to 1997. Another series, “Eight Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” and her role as the voice of Leela in Matt Groening’s animated series “Futurama” sealed her fate as sitcom royalty. But she has never stopped playing music.
With a few solo records to her credit, Sagal says she would like to break out and sign a major record deal. But for now, playing music whenever she can quells her desire. Since she’s always had a band, she welcomed the opportunity to add her distinct voice on cover tunes that were appropriate for specific scenes in the show. Sagal covers standards like “Son of a Preacher Man” and “Bird on a Wire” with soulful edge that works well with the content of the show.
On “Sons of Anarchy,” Sagal plays the tough-willed Gemma Teller Morrow. Sagal calls her character “an intense survivor with admirable qualities.”
Created by her husband, Kurt Sutter, the television drama tells the tale of a group of bikers in Northern California. They’ve been married for seven years, and doing the show for more than half that time.
“There’ve been some growing pains with it,” Sagal says of being married to her boss. “The only pitfall I say is it becoming all-compassing. …. It’s both of our jobs. We talk about it a lot. He does everything on that show. He writes it. He edits it. He directs it.”
But it’s not business in the household.
“The good news is we have these three kids at home, and they definitely pull focus, because at some point you can’t talk about your work,” Sagal said.