Zero degree of separation with the Bacon Brothers
With more than 20 years and eight albums under their belt, The Bacon Brothers blend rock, soul, folk and Americana.
“For one thing, we have two writers, and for another thing, we don’t really say, ’This is the kind of music that we play or the instrumentation we use,’” says Kevin Bacon in a phone interview.
“There are certain bands that don’t use certain things, like the banjo. It just wouldn’t work for them. But for us, it does. We write the song and see where the arrangement takes us. Once you do that, it gets pretty diverse in the sound,” says Kevin Bacon.
The Bacon Brothers’ albums include: “Forosoco” (1997), “Getting There” (1999), “Can’t Complain” (2001), “Live: The No Food Jokes Tour” (2003), “White Knuckles” (2005), “New Year’s Day” (2009), “Philadelphia Road” (2011), “36 Cents” (2014) and “The Bacon Brothers” (2018).
The Bacon Brothers, featuring award-winning actor Kevin Bacon and award-winning composer Michael Bacon, bring their summer tour to the Sherman Theater, 8 p.m. Aug. 2; Ocean City Pier, Ocean City, N.J.; Aug. 6, and the Keswick Theatre, Glenside, Aug. 11.
“Music and most things described as art, I don’t know if that’s the right word for music, but it’s a journey and a search to get better. And when I look at the band and where we started in terms of our technique, arrangements and our writing, and compare it to what we are bringing on the road this summer, it’s a huge difference,” says Michael Bacon in the conference call phone interview.
The brothers, Michael on vocals, guitar and cello, and Kevin on vocals, guitar and percussion, perform with a band that’s been with them since they founded the group, including Paul Guzzone, bass and backing vocals; Joe Mennonna, keyboards and accordion; Ira Siegel, lead guitar, mandolin and backing vocals, and Frank Vilardi, drums.
“The songs drive the show. The reason we still play all these years later is because we’ve written songs we all want to play in front of people. You want to put it out there to see if it has any kind of effect on people,” says Kevin Bacon.
With both brothers having very accomplished Hollywood resumes, neither one of them is lacking the spotlight.
Kevin Bacon is an award-winning actor with more than 80 movies on his resume, including “Diner” (1982), “Footloose” (1984), “Apollo 13” (1996), “Mystic River” (2003) and “The River Wild” (1995), the latter for which he received a Golden Globe nomination, and dozens of television and stage performances, including “The Following” (2013), and “Taking Chance” (2010), for which he received a Golden Globe and and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Kevin Bacon is the subject of the trivia game, “Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon,” based on the concept that, because of his prolific career covering many genres, any Hollywood actor can be linked to another based on their association with Kevin Bacon. The game derives from the concept of six degrees of separation. Kevin Bacon founded SixDegrees.org, a social networking site to link people and charities.
Kevin and Michael Bacon are the youngest of six children. Their mother Ruth taught school. Their father Edmund was an architect, director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission for many years, and author of the urban-planning book, “Design of Cities.”
Michael Bacon initially began making music in his native Philadelphia before moving to Nashville where his songwriting career blossomed. He most recently scored the documentary, “That Way Madness Lies,” which is on the film festival circuit. Other recent works include the audiobook “You Don’t Look Your Age ... And Other Fairytales” and the HBO documentary, “RX: Early Detection with Sandra Lee,” which premiered at Sundance this year.
“In both of our careers, we are very client-driven, Kevin in his acting and me in my composing. We are part of a team trying to make a fantastic film,” says Michael Bacon.
“As a composer, you have to enjoy working with people and be able to take criticism at times, but in the band we don’t really have to do that or answer to anyone. It’s really what the two of us think and what we want to do,” says Michael Bacon.
“Acting versus being on stage performing in the band is not the same thing. I’m a performer at heart, but the biggest challenge is that you are standing in front of people and you have no character in between the songs that you’ve written. It’s very personal and a very vulnerable place to be. It’s like here’s my little song, how do you like it?” says Kevin Bacon.
The Bacon Brothers new single, “Broken Glass,” written by Kevin Bacon and recorded at Lehman College studio where Michael teaches, echoes a personal resolve. The song was co-produced by the Bacon Brothers and is followed by Michael Bacon’s composition, “Two Rivers,” a reflective ballad also recorded during the Lehman sessions.
“A lot of people think that because I am a professional musician I write all the music, but it isn’t like that. Kevin would come up to me at a young age and sing really good lyrics and I would help him get them into a song format. He was reliant on me to do that.
“He writes all his own music and words, the arranging. He’s much more prolific than me and sometimes he’s writing more than me and vice versa,” says Michael Bacon.
Citing influencers such as The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Motown, Led Zeppelin, Philly Soul, the Bacon Brothers’ bond, strong and durable, includes the common goal of making music that ensures there is a passion and purpose.
“In terms of the inspiration for our songs, you really never know where that is going to come from. It can be something that is typical like love or heartbreak or it can be a song about a giant squid. It’s really hard to know where it comes from,” says Kevin Bacon.
“To put the songs across in the best way you can, you have to work on your vocals and we take a lot of pride in that,” says Michael Bacon.
“We never did this thing as a … here’s a celebrity in a band. We did it in a grassroots kind of way and we like the challenge,” says Kevin Bacon.
Tickets: Sherman Theatre box office, 524 Main St., Stroudsburg; shermantheater.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-420-2808