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Weekend Life

Michael Bacon opens up before Aurora Bacon Brothers concert

The Bacon Brothers will perform Tuesday in Aurora.
The Bacon Brothers will perform Tuesday in Aurora.

The band Oasis is just one example of a band broken apart by sibling rivalry. But Michael Bacon, one-half of The Bacon Brothers, actually likes playing with his little brother, film actor Kevin Bacon. A nine-year difference separates the two brothers.

The Bacon Brothers will perform at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., in downtown Aurora.

Tickets range in price from $35-$55, and are available at www.ParamountAurora.com or at the Paramount Box Office at 630-896-6666.

Michael Bacon has made a name for himself as a film and television composer, receiving an Emmy Award in 1993 for the score to the PBS documentary “The Kennedys.”

Michael Bacon recently spoke with the Kane County Chronicle about a variety of topics, including his thoughts about his little brother becoming a film star.

Are you guys playing with a full band? It’s not just the two of you on stage?

We have a six-piece band. I think to sustain an hour and a half long set, it’s great having a band because you add a lot more textures. There’s just a lot more you can do.

We occasionally do unplugged things with the two of us alone or maybe with one other person. But I think we both like playing with a full band best.

You guys actually started playing together when you were growing up. Did you teach Kevin guitar lessons, or how did that work?

Yeah. And my older sister taught me. That was kind of a hand-me-down music thing.

Was Kevin a quick study?

I think the thing that stood out for Kevin was his ability as a songwriter. He was kind of lazy with the guitar. 

Considering where he started as a guitar player 15 years ago when we formed the band, he has gotten amazingly better. And so have I. We both have grown musically, and that’s a very satisfying part of being in a band together. You feel like you are getting better.

Do you tell any family stories during the show?

Sometimes, if it goes that way. I think that’s one of the most fun things, where it kind of goes in a way that you never plan for it to go. We might. You never know.

So people who come to the show might find out something revealing about either one of you?

I think the songs are extremely revealing. In a lot of ways, they are probably more revealing than talking about yourself. In terms of things that happened in our lives, that’s what we write about. Good songs are personal, but they also have some sort of universal communication that people identify with.

Did you ever imagine that your little brother would become a film star?

I wasn’t surprised when he did, because I knew he was a really good actor. One friend of mine who is a director told me a long time ago, before Kevin had work, that he came in to read and they had 200 people read for the part.

He told me that Kevin stood out among everyone. I thought that if he was in New York City where there are a lot of good actors and he shined in that context, I assumed people would really see his abilities.

Are you going to be playing any new material at the show? I see The Bacon Brothers’ last CD, “New Year’s Day,” was released in 2008.

Yeah, we’ve got a bunch of new songs that I’m pretty excited about. Kevin wrote a new song called “493 Miles,” which is a beautiful song. It’s kind of reminds me of a Jimmy Webb-Glen Campbell kind of thing. It’s just a beautiful song.

I have a new song called “36 Cents.” It’s kind of a country-rocky kind of thing. And a couple of other new ones. So we are definitely thinking of album number seven. 

I’m sure you’ve gotten this question before, but do people request the song “Footloose” at your shows?

My brother always said, “Well, I’m going to embrace the beast.” So we learned it and played it for four or five years.

And then we pretty much got tired of it, like we would a lot of songs that we write.

You get tired of singing them. We just sort of took it out of the set, and it hasn’t gone back in since.

How does it feel to be one degree away from Kevin Bacon?

I don’t really think of it that way. I’m so bad at playing the game first of all. 

I think we would be one degree if you counted composers with actors. I’ve never been in any movies, so that might not include me. It’s all how you define the rules, I guess.

You received an Emmy Award for “The Kennedys.” Do you see that as the pinnacle of your career or just another milestone?

I’m not really a believer in award shows. I love having the Emmy, it’s great, but it’s nothing you can compete head-to-head on with anybody.

So I kind of take it with a grain of salt. I was lucky. That show got a lot of attention when it came out, so I don’t really look at it as a crowning achievement.

It’s nice to get some recognition, but you still have to move on to the next job, and prove yourself every job.

Why do you like performing with your brother?

I think that he’s a great songwriter and a great performer. He’s an amazing entertainer. 

And if I didn’t like his songwriting and his performing and his musicianship, I wouldn’t spend six seconds with him. I could hang out in the living room and play guitar with him, but I wouldn’t do the kind of commitment.

If he were just some guy and had the talents that he has, then I would still be in a band with him. The brother thing is just icing on the cake.

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