Bringing home the Bacon Brothers

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The Bacon Brothers will play at the Jazz Fest on June 24. (Photo by Charles Chessler)

Two brothers have brought home the bacon since 1995, not just as an actor — Kevin — and a composer  —  Michael — but as a thoughtful, insightful guitar-driven duo.

The Bacon Brothers are tuneful, singing songs of delicate beauty and thoughtful construction. They are slated to perform at the Rochester International Jazz Festival on June 24.

Michael, the older of the two, lit the fuse playing music around their Philadelphia home as a child. It was compelling enough for Kevin to join in and play their first show together. Already a movie star in his own right, Kevin drew fans from his appearance in films such as “Footloose” (1984) and “Tremors” (1990). Brother Michael brings the talent with film scoring gems like political documentaries like “The Kennedys,” “LBJ,” and “Nixon.”

But we’re not talking Hollywood here; we’re here to tell you about the band’s pervading Americana and truth. The Rochester Beacon had an opportunity to ask  Kevin and Michael Bacon a few questions. Here’s what they said.

ROCHESTER BEACON: Give us a little background of your duo. Did you start out as kids?

KEVIN BACON: Yeah we started out as kids, like most people do. Michael, who is nine years older than me, was playing a lot of music in our house when I was a child. I grew up listening to him and my sister play and write music. Then we started writing songs together and eventually played our first show in 1995 in Philadelphia where we grew up. 

ROCHESTER BEACON: Michael, you’ve been active as a musician scoring movie soundtracks since  the 1950. Talk about that a bit, please. Have you ever scored any of your brother’s films?

MICHAEL BACON: Not quite the 1950s but a long time, yes.  Most of my work has been on long-form historical documentaries for PBS i.e. “Kennedy’s,” “LBJ,” “Nixon,” etc.  I scored two films for my brother-“Loverboy” and “Losing Chase.”

ROCHESTER BEACON: What are you excited by and working on currently?

KEVIN BACON: We are excited by working on releasing this new music and hopefully we will continue to write. It’s fun to get out and play some of the new songs in front of people. 

MICHAEL BACON: Season 9 for Henry Lewis Gates’ “Finding Your Roots.”

ROCHESTER BEACON: What do people get wrong about you?

KEVIN BACON: Maybe the one thing people sort of assume is that Mike does all of the songwriting and that I just kind of do lyrics because he is the quote on quote “real musician.” He’s definitely a real musician, he can compose symphonies and film scores and knows how to notate and read music and counterpoint all these things that I don’t understand. But I do write the music and the lyrics in the songs and often produce them. And people usually think if you’re an actor, you can’t do two things.

MICHAEL BACON:  I must be a good actor.

ROCHESTER BEACON: With your busy schedules, do you write together?

KEVIN BACON: We do write together a little bit although not as much as we used to. It’s because of our busy schedules but we always share music and songs with each other and check in and see how the other guy feels about it. We make suggestions for all kinds of things like arrangement, production and lyrics. But most of the songs that we write are separately and if he writes it, he does lead vocals and if I write it, I do the lead vocal. 

MICHAEL BACON: Pretty rarely now a days but we wrote our current single “In Memory (Of When I Cared)” with Desmond Child.

ROCHESTER BEACON: Both of you, if you had to choose from the different aspects of your career, what would you pick?

KEVIN BACON: I don’t ever want to stop being an actor and I hope that I never have to choose between acting and music. I think they, in my life, really compliment each other. I just like to create. I like to make music, I like to act, I like to direct, I like to draw, I just like to do things and create stuff.  

MICHAEL BACON: My most musically challenging work was writing my cello concerto

ROCHESTER BEACON: How do you work as brothers without killing each other?

KEVIN BACON: We just have a mutual respect for each other. If someone suggests something, you at least consider it and you never say “no” right away, you always give it a shot.

MICHAEL BACON: My intimidating physical presence.

ROCHESTER BEACON: What are you most proud of?

KEVIN BACON: The thing I’m most proud of is my kids, for sure. 


ROCHESTER BEACON: What’s next for the Bacon Brothers?

KEVIN BACON: To release this music and who knows, we don’t really plan for the future too much.

MICHAEL BACON: We pretty much let the band lead us around by the nose, so as long as the songs keep coming, we’ll keep coming.

ROCHESTER BEACON: What’s next for your fans?

MICHAEL BACON: July 8th, the release of our EP, “Erato”

ROCHESTER BEACON: Do you play an acoustic version of “Footloose”?

KEVIN BACON: Yes, we have played an acoustic version of “Footloose.”

MICHAEL BACON:  Sometimes, but it’s better with full band

Here’s a comprehensive list of live shows in and around Rochester: Get Your Gig On

Frank De Blase is Rochester Beacon music writer. The Beacon welcomes comments from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name.

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