When The Bacon Brothers, comprised of actor Kevin and his brother, the composer Michael, were growing up in Philadelphia they’d regularly have jam sessions. Decades later, not much has changed. “I think it’s the songwriting that keeps us interested,” says Michael of what has kept him and his brother releasing music and stacked with a busy touring schedule. “If we were just going out and playing the same show, I think we’d both get pretty bored. The whole process of writing a song, playing it for our wives, then the band and finally for the audience is one of the most satisfying things you can do in music.”
Since officially becoming a band in 1995 and releasing their debut album two years later, Kevin and Michael have released nine albums, the most recent of which was their ninth in 2018, a self-titled record, “The Bacon Brothers,” featuring rock, soul, folk and Americana. It’s an impressive output considering Kevin, the award-winning actor known for a host of iconic roles throughout the decades from “Footloose” to “A Few Good Men” and “Frost/Nixon” to “X-Men: First Class,” has remained busy with his own career in TV and film, and boasts of such an immense amount of credits he’s the focus of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, a party game that says you can trace any actor or actress back to him in six roles or less. (His most recent role is starring on the Boston-set Showtime drama series “City on a Hill,” airing now.)
“I can tell you that I’ve never said, ‘OK, now I’m not available for acting work,’” says Kevin of his balance between his career as a musician and his on-screen roles. “Acting is my bread and butter and a lot of people ask me or assume that I use The Bacon Brothers as a break from acting. Like how it must be such a relief? But I laugh at that, because I don’t look at acting that way. I love the work and it’s been really, really good to me.”
Michael, on the other hand, has built a prolific career as a composer that he juggles with The Bacon Brothers. His own resume includes a bevy of documentary films, among them, composing 16 years of the PBS series “American Experience.” “It was an amazing time,” says Michael of his own experience. “We did one show about Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln and it was six hours, and each hour had probably 40 pieces of music that had to be written, produced and mixed. It was about making a really large contribution to the soul of whoever you were writing for.”
Still, it’s the life on the road that keeps them coming back to their musician’s life, even through the more unique shows. “We once played this really strange concert up on a mountain and it was in an open tent,” remembers Kevin. “The wind came up and it was an absolute dust bowl, everything was absolutely covered. I remember turning around and looking at the drummer, and he was hitting the drums and there were these clouds of dust popping off the drums. The guitars actually took a lot of work to get them cleaned up.”
Dust or no dust, the two brothers have lately put their respective careers aside and are currently on a nationwide tour, “The Shaky Ground Tour,” that takes them to Solana Beach’s Belly Up Tavern on Monday, Aug. 5. “My favorite thing about the San Diego area always ends up being the restaurants,” says Micheal, who says he favors fish tacos. “What can you say about Del Mar and the North County? They’re great places to hang out, let alone get paid to do a show.”
The Bacon Brothers’ Monday, Aug. 5 show at the Belly Up will start at 8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.). For tickets and more information, visit bellyup.com. The group features Michael on vocals, guitar and cello, and Kevin on vocals, guitar and percussion, Paul Guzzone (bass, backing vocals), Joe Mennonna (keyboards, accordion), Tim Quick (lead guitar, mandolin and backing vocals) and Frank Vilardi (drums). For more on The Bacon Brothers, visit www.baconbros.com.