The Hippo


Oct 16, 2018








Courtesy photo.

Bacon Brothers Band

When: Friday, Aug. 25, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Flying Monkey, 39 Main St., Plymouth
Tickets: $59 and up at

Family notes
Music from Kevin & Michael Bacon

By Michael Witthaus

 There’s a note on the Bacon Brothers website acknowledging that fraternal bands often don’t work out. 

In a recent joint interview, Kevin Bacon bemoaned that fact. 
“I feel bad for the Black Crowes, Oasis, the Everlys and the Beach Boys; it’s sad,” he said. “But I guess the truth is, bands in general don’t last that long — brothers or not.”
Older sibling Michael Bacon sees an 11-year age gap as the key variable in fraternal harmony. 
“Most of the brother bands that I am aware of  are pretty close in age, like Irish Brothers,” he said. “We didn’t battle, and I would say Kevin is really someone that I was teaching. I think he really did look up to me.”
Beyond that, he said, is a shared aesthetic and strong family values. 
“We’re old guys,” Michael Bacon said. “We’ve each been married for a zillion years and don’t go on stage competing for adulation ... instead of something that would rip a band apart, the brother thing keeps us together, because first we have an incredible trust — that’s what family is.”
As a teenager, Kevin Bacon tagged along when his older brother’s band played shows in their hometown of Philadelphia. In 1972, Michael Bacon got married and moved to Nashville, in search of a songwriting career. Despite writing for the publisher who handled Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson, he never warmed up to the city. 
“I am pretty much a dyed-in-the-wool Northeasterner,” he said. “What I really wanted to do was get to New York, which I eventually did; and we are still there.” 
After making two mostly overlooked solo albums, he found success composing for  films. 
Though they’ve played together forever, the Bacon Brothers weren’t formally a band until the mid-1990s. They’ve made six studio albums, most recently 2014’s 36 Cents. Their music holds it own, particularly infectious rockers like “Boys in Bars” and “Driver” — the marquee name is a bonus.
The family dynamic extends beyond the brothers in a video for the single “Broken Glass.” Kevin Bacon’s daughter Sosie stars in the clip, which traces backward the steps of a bad day. The 25-year-old actress has worked with her dad and mother Kyra Sedgewick before, so casting her was pretty easy. 
“I sent her the treatment to see if she was interested, but if she’d said, ‘No, I don’t think I want to do this one,’ I would have begrudgingly found somebody else,” he said, adding that her connections in the young L.A. acting community helped with production.
Along with an acting daughter, Kevin Bacon and Sedgewick have a musician son, although Travis Bacon’s music bears no resemblance to dad’s. His last band was death metal trio called Black Anvil.  Kevin Bacon has watched his son evolve since he took up guitar at age 12. 
“His first band was Incubus-influenced and then he sort of went to punk and then moved into various kinds of metal,” he said. “His new project is called HogWash and is much more melodic ... it’s still pretty heavy but much hookier with a little bit more traditional song structure. Even though he plays that kind of stuff, he also likes James Taylor and Springsteen ... it’s part of his upbringing.”
“Broken Glass”  is one of five songs recently completed by the band or in development. 
“We’re sort of in a writing bloom at the moment,” Michael Bacon said. “This summer, we revisited a lot of places that we have played before or will be in the future, and I think we really felt like we had to come up with some new stuff. When we get up to New England, we’ll have a lot of new songs, some of which we know and have played for a while and some which we will have just learned.”
The songwriting process is democratic, reflecting the familial trust alluded to by Michael Bacon. 
“Now that we’re totally equals in the band, I don’t think we bring back any of that garbage from childhood,” he said. “Which is not to say that we don’t get on each other’s nerves; I mean, after three weeks on a bus — absolutely.”

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