The Bacon Brothers are rolling through Charlotte on Monday as part of a short summer tour, and their mode of transportation may surprise you.
“I just take my G4 and fly wherever I need to,” the younger Bacon says.
This seems plausible, considering he’s had plum roles in the blockbuster movies “Apollo 13” and “X-Men: First Class,” and currently stars in the Fox TV drama “The Following.”
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But: “That’s a joke. I’m kidding,” says Kevin Bacon, 56. “I don’t actually have a G4.”
He and brother Michael, 64, are traveling this month to shows in Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and New York by bus – along with the four other guys who comprise the rock band they started with bassist Paul Guzzone 19 years ago.
We spoke with Michael (a musician for more than four decades) and Kevin (an actor for about as long) about that bus, their creative process and the challenges of having a Hollywood star in your band.
Q. What’s it like on that bus?
A. Michael: For my brother, it’s like a cocoon – a non-invasion space. Once you’re on the bus, nobody gets on unless they’re allowed to get on. And it’s like a Peter Pan thing for us. How many times do you get to go with a bunch of guys and just hang out on a bus for a week? I wouldn’t want to do it for more than a week, because I get so completely sick of these people. But for a week, it’s really fun.
Q. I read that Kevin writes more of the songs for the band. Is that true?
A. Kevin: No, Michael writes plenty. The process is that we’ll write a song and then do our own demos, which is some kind of an idea of the way we think that the song is going to live from a production standpoint – instrumentation, or just rhythmic ideas that we have for it. Then we play it and then we bring it to the band. Sometimes the recording ends up being almost exactly like the demo, down to tempo and groove. And sometimes somebody has an idea and it takes off in a completely different way.
Michael: It’s been said that I’m the musician and I write the music and Kevin does the lyrics, but it’s absolutely not that way. It used to be – before Kevin’s skills were developed – he would sing me the song and I would help him put the chords to it and structure it and maybe write a bridge, but he’s totally self-sufficient with his musical world now.
Q. Kevin, how would you compare the rush of doing a concert to acting?
A. Kevin: When I started acting, a lot of my earliest performing was on the stage – which is similar, in that you’re going to have this experience that is never going to be the same night after night, and you’re sharing it with this group of people. That’s what playing with the band is more like. There’s a certain risk factor. And being a performer, it’s good to take risks. It’s good to feel like there’s an element of danger when you step on the stage, that things could go wrong. Being on a movie set is a much more comfortable place; it’s like sitting in my living room to walk onto a set. That’s got a lot of benefits and I love it, but playing live is a little more “charged,” I guess is the word.
Q. Do you find, in talking to fans, that a lot of those who come to your shows intimately know your music, or are there a good deal of people who show up just to see Kevin Bacon in the flesh?
A. Michael: There are always going to be people that come just to see a movie star, as if it’s a personal appearance. And that can be troublesome for me. But I look at it as, well, if that’s why they’re coming, let’s turn them into not only movie fans and TV fans, but also music fans. I’m happy if someone is sitting in that seat. It’s our job to entertain them and convert them.
Q. What do you mean when you say it can be troublesome for you?
A. Michael: In other words, I always have to feel that I’m making a contribution to those people, and the way you do that is to make the band as good as possible – through practicing your ass off and making sure the whole thing is really tight. We all feel that we have maybe a little bit more to prove than if there was no movie star in the band.
Kevin: Plus, we don’t have a hit that we can play. When you have a hit, then people go, “Ah, yeah, there’s that thing.” And there’s a connection to it. So that’s a big challenge. It’s a challenge for an audience to sit for an hour and a half and listen to one original song after another and try to find a connection with that song.