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The Bacon Brothers talk musical influences, Erato ahead of Dakota gig

Bacon Brothers
Photo: Bacon Brothers' Facebook

On the silver screen, brothers Kevin and Michael Bacon are Hard to miss.

Michael, the elder of the two, is renowned for his work scoring films, while Kevin has starred in Footloose, Apollo 13, and many more. In the world of film, their resumes hold up against anybody. There, they are true A-listers and masters of their respective crafts.

As large as their presence is in that world, however, their talents are not confined to the screen.

Since the Mid-90’s, Kevin and Michael have written, recorded, and performed music as The Bacon Brothers. In this world, the brothers are known for bridging musical styles to create something uniquely their own.

A “typical” Bacon Brothers release will feature elements of rock and pop mixed with country, soul, and usually a few surprises.

Their latest EP, Erato (out July 8), features a typically eclectic mix. It’s a strong effort, anchored by the effective songwriting and an instantly identifiable melodic sensibility. 

On Thursday, July 14, Minneapolis fans will have the chance to hear these songs and more as the Bacon Brothers return to the Dakota for an intimate performance. With 20+ years of material to draw from and an exceptionally talented band, the show promises to be a good one.

Check out our interview with the Bacon Brothers below.

 

Music in Minnesota: You grew up in the musically rich town of Philadelphia. How did the town, and the music of the town, inspire you early on?

Michael Bacon: The Philadelphia Folk Festival was a huge influence. I fell in love with all the fretted instruments. I started cello when I was around 7, so the Philadelphia Orchestra members were my idols.

Kevin Bacon: Yeah, Philadelphia was a great music town to grow up in; there was clubs, there was great radio.I listened to AM Radio WFIL or WIBG, they were kind of pop/rock AM radio and also WDAS was the soul/Motown radio that eventually moved to FM. We were both playing in bands as kids, a lot of great soul music came out of Philly as well as doo-wop. Michael was into the orchestra. Philadelphia had a lot of influence on us.

MIM: Were there any artists in particular you found yourselves drawn to?

MB: The first was Pete Seeger, then lots of the early folk artists. Later, Beatles, Stones, the Band, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell.

KB: I was drawn to so many different artists when I was a kid, starting with my brother. I had a friend whose dad was a rock promoter, so I started going to rock shows when I was really young. And all my brothers and sisters, I’m the youngest of six, were bringing home all kinds of doo-wop and soul and Motown and British Invasion. And I just became a music fan, it just kept going from there into album rock, acid rock, funk and on and on.

MIM: The single “In Memory (Of when I Cared)” touches on electronic music in interesting ways. Is that a musical influence of yours and how did that come about?

MB: I’ll give that credit to Desmond.  He was working with a young composer and we liked his tracks.

KB: “Memory (Of When I Cared)” we wrote with Desmond Child. And it was the first time that we wrote off of a track, it was created by Void Stryker. So yeah, it was an electronic track that Desmond had and we kind of picked a title and then put that around that track in an electronic way. Then we took it and we wanted to move it into a little bit more of a rock feel so we put live drums on it, and electric guitars, so it’s kind of a combination of both.

MIM: Erato, like much of your catalog, is an musically diverse listen, covering a myriad of styles. What drives you to create the varied musical statements you do?

MB: We let the songs drive our sound and we love playing a variety of instruments.

KB:  I think that between my brother and I, we’ve played in all different kinds of styles of music and so has our band. And sometimes we go out and play with other players. If you’ve been around for a long time, I think most people would say that they’ve had a lot of influences. Even people who kind of pick one genre and stay in it…like you’ll hear a country singer say Miles Davis was really important to him. But we don’t try to have a sound. The song tells us what the sound of the song is going to be. We write the song, and then do demos, and we find the sound that way.

MIM: Being that you both have extensive backgrounds in film as well as music, how do you find your work in those worlds inspiring one another?

MB: In the band we’re songwriters, instrumentalists, and singers. In my world as a film composer, it’s almost entirely instrumental and it’s often played by studio musicians. Film composing is not an art, it’s a craft.

KB: I find being an actor really inspiring in terms of songwriting. In fact I hadn’t written a song in a long time, and I went down to Georgia and I was working on this movie. Sometimes when your emotions are very available to you, as they are when you are playing a part, it will also inspire you to take some of that emotion and put it into a song and put it into your instrument. I find that they really compliment each other nicely. Plus performing live is something that I started doing when I was a kid on stage, in theater. So when I finally did walk onto a rock stage and sang in front of people, it’s not like I’d never been on a stage before.

MIM: With all of the ground you cover musically, what kind of experience can a fan expect from a Bacon Brothers show?

MB: Hopefully, a GOOD show and even if our style is not their favorite, we hope an audience member will acknowledge that we can write, play, and sing.  We have a great band.

KB: The experience a fan can expect from a Bacon Brothers show is very, very varied. We play real quiet folky stuff and we play rock stuff…but the main thing is we have a good time. We try to put on the best show we possibly can, musically. That hour and a half is extremely important to us.

Written by Aaron Williams

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