The Bacon Brothers. Michael and Kevin Bacon. Photo by Jeff Fasano
Kevin Bacon can’t talk about what projects he’s got in the works, Hollywood-wise, because of the ongoing writers and actors strike, but he and his brother, whose musical act is on a tour that’s headed to Maine next week, were happy to chat about that.
The star of numerous movies, including “Footloose” and “Mystic River,” and his older brother, Michael Bacon, an Emmy-winning TV and film composer, have been performing together as The Bacon Brothers for nearly 30 years. They’ll be playing to a sold-out audience at the Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield on Sept. 9.
The Bacon Brothers, who have labeled their sound “forosoco” (for folk, rock, soul and country), have released eight full-length albums since 1997, and another is due out next month. Kevin Bacon, 65, sings and plays guitar, percussion and harmonica. Michael Bacon, 73, is a singer-songwriter and plays several instruments, including guitar and cello. The other musicians who play with them are Paul Guzoone on bass, Frank Vilard on drums and percussion, and Tim Quick on guitar, mandolin and ukulele.
In an interview over Zoom from their homes in New York City, the Philadelphia natives talked a little bit about their other careers, but mostly about their approach to making and performing music.
Have you always written songs independent of each other?
KB: When we first started writing, we would write together. The creation of the song is interesting, because there’s long been discussions about what actual writing is when you add a whatever, a lick or an idea or taking it in a different direction, but for the most part now, we write separately and then demo and bring it to each other and then bring it to the band and start working on it like that.
Do you ever bring songs to each other that you don’t like?
MB: I think one of the things that’s a little different about our band is I think we have enormous respect for each other’s creativity. I think one of the most exciting things is when Kevin brings a new song and we start to talk about it, and to me it’s all about moving it forward. I’m not gonna judge anything my brother does because I totally trust that I’m gonna like it. We’re lucky in that Kevin is very prolific. I’m less prolific, but if I write a couple of good songs in a year, I feel pretty good about that.
Are you an “out for a walk and you hear it in your head and write it on a cocktail napkin” kind of songwriter guy?
KB: Yeah, I am. I’m not a “hit it everyday and just keep plugging and throwing a whole bunch out and get one good one.” I can’t write that way. It has to be something that just sort of flies in and it’s generally lyrical or conceptual, as opposed to, like, chord progression. I’ve heard a lot about songwriters that start playing some chords, then mumble something around a melody, which I think is such a cool idea, but I just can’t. I’ve never done that.
What’s your setlist like on this tour?
KB: It’s as new as we possibly can. I have one very old song that I still sing called “Strung Out,” but mostly it’s really new stuff, and I’m just antsy about playing old things. It’s kind of why we still roll along, I think. You write it, you play it a thousand times, you demo it, you have this very strong desire to put it out in front of people, and then you have a strong desire to get it down in the studio and put it out to people who aren’t at the show. We also have a bunch of stuff of off the next thing that’s coming out in September. We’re hoping it’s gonna be a full-length. Right now, we have six songs.
Can you speak about what it’s like having people in the audience who mostly know you as an actor and might have stars in their eyes walking into a show?
KB: I guess I would say, I never went into this thinking that it would be anything other than that. We started the band in ’95. I’d been a movie star for 10 years. I know how I feel about it when there’s other actors who play in bands. It’s just kind of the way it is. It’s kind of our job to just move past it and try to have people leave the theater as fans of the music.
What’s next for you with composing, Michael?
MB: Right now, I have a really wonderful TV show that’s been on the air probably for 15 years. It’s called “Finding Your Roots” with Henry Louis Gates. Since I’ve done so many of them, I have an enormous library, but now when I listen to the show, I’m kind of compelled to come up with something different, something new. I keep feeding them new stuff, and they’re very happy to get it. It’s been a really good relationship. I’m working on specific pieces that relate to a very specific geographical area. One of the people that they’re interviewing is from Cuba, so I’ve got to find something that, if you’re an expert in Cuban music, sounds believable but it’s original music.
How about you, Kevin, with TV and film?
KB: I literally have been told by my union that I can’t discuss it.
Because of the strike?
KB: That’s the thing. It’s current. I’ll tell you one thing, though, that I can talk about is we’re gonna drop, pretty soon, a podcast called Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, which is an extension of my foundation, which is called sixdegrees.org. On this podcast, I’m gonna be discussing, with well-known people, a little bit about their lives and then more importantly about the foundations they support or have created, and then we bring in the person who actually works for them or works for that foundation. Kind of like the unsung heroes of charitable efforts and cause-based foundations. I think it’s gonna be really good. It’s interesting because so often podcasts that are kind of celebrity-driven, people talk about their work, their upcoming shows, or they talk about gossipy kind of stuff. But this is people who are in a position to talk about something that they really care very deeply about. I think it’s pretty cool. It’s launching in September.
What’s your desert island album?
MB: The Band’s “Music from Big Pink.”
KB: Joni Mitchell’s “Blue.”
Please check your email to confirm and complete your registration.
Use the form below to reset your password. When you’ve submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.
Live Music Lineup: Journey tribute, GoldenOak festival and reggae tunes on an island
Things to Do: First Friday Art Walk, boxing and MMA at Merrill, and lots of laughs in Arundel