LOS ANGELES -- When Brian Austin Green began his transition from TV actor to rap recording artist, one of the first things he did was jettison that middle name. Brian Austin Green sounds distinctive, befitting a young man who became famous as David Silver, a member of the ensemble on Fox's series 'Beverly Hills 90210.' Brian Green, on the other hand, sounds so... ordinary. So why drop the middle name, a key element to his public recognition? 'That's not my name and I'm tired of saying it is,' he said in an interview. 'It's too long. It's a long drawn-out name. I couldn't handle it.' Green, 22, said the 'Austin' was added when he joined the Screen Actors Guild and learned there already was another Brian Green in the union. Only one SAG member per name is the rule. So it will be his given name -- no ficticious middle initial or other embellishment -- on his debut album, 'One Stop Carnival,' when it comes out June 25. Green already is savvily deflecting criticism from cynics who say white guys can't rap. Comparisons to Vanilla Ice, whose career peaked and plunged in a 13-month span that started in late 1990, bead up and roll off Green. 'His biggest problem was the fact that he wasn't real with what he was doing, and that's why people stopped listening to his stuff,' Green said of Vanilla Ice. 'It's impossible to come into a field of music like hip hop and lie to your audience,' he said.
'I'm not pretending to be anything else. I'm not doing gangsta videos and that whole thing.' Green is the son of drummer George Green, who backed up Frank Sinatra, Glen Campbell and other acts. That made for a comfortable upbringing in the Los Angeles suburb of North Hollywood that would give Green a big credibility problem if he tried to do poems about gang life on crime-ridden streets. 'My dad was definitely making money when I was a kid. He wasn't spoiling me with it but he wasn't depriving me,' he said. 'I didn't even have a phone in my room until I was 17. It taught me to appreciate whatever somebody else gets me or what I got myself.' It also gave Green's raps a jazzy rhythm sprinkled with keyboards, woodwinds and vocal harmonies in addition to the expected percussion. 'I don't make up s--- when I write,' he added. 'I really write from what I know and what I do.' As a white guy from the suburbs, Green sticks with universal subjects such as love ('You Send Me') and goals ('Do What Ya Wanna Do'). He also has some fun with his own experiences, such as in 'The Drama,' a look at incidents of youth that seemed so much more intense when they happened than they are in hindsight, or his comments on getting into the recording industry in 'The Closet' and 'Didn't Have A Clue.' For a guy breaking into recording, Green could do worse than Yab Yum Records, a Sony label owned by multiple Grammy winner Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds' wife, Tracey Edmonds. Green played for the Edmondses a demo tape of songs he wrote, recorded and produced in his home studio, and he said they were ready to sign him to a publishing deal. When they found out about his '90210' gig -- and the built-in following he had from the show -- Green was signed to a recording contract. It's a good time for Green to make a career shift, with '90210' heading into its final season after following its characters through high school and college. 'I think it's the best thing for the show to do,' Green said. 'The last thing we want to do is have it at the point of such stupidity that nobody was watching. 'It was a cool little seven-year run, and who knows how long it will be in syndication.' Green, who broke up amicably last year with his show co-star Tiffani- Amber Thiessen, says he probably would turn to music producing after hip hop's popularity fades or he becomes too old for that type of work. 'Hip hop is one of those things you can do for a while, but most people don't see it as a lifelong career,' he said. 'I can sing OK, but I'm not any near the stage of releasing an album when there's a huge line of people that should be ahead of me.' What if someone told him he had to make a choice between music and acting? 'I can't make that choice. That's really an impossible question,' he said. 'I'd have to wrap that person up in Saran wrap and put them in the trunk of my car and take them off to some remote place....' Which, he mused with a laugh, might make material for a pretty good rap. (release at will)