It was around this time of year back in 1994 when I got a phone call from Michael Bacon. He said: “My brother and I are forming a band and you’re the bass player”.
I met Michael many years before that when he was the opening act for Tom Rush at the Keswick Theater in Glenside, PA. Marshal Rosenberg and I were the rhythm section for Tom. We noticed this guy with a cool baritone voice who was playing cello and singing at the same time. How unusual we thought. He noticed the “colorful” singing bass player and Latin percussionist using a film can for a snare drum. How unusual he thought. He also thought, If ever he and his brother formed a band he would call us to be the rhythm section.
By the time Mike moved to NYC to pursue his career as a film composer I had become a music producer and writer at a music production house. He looked me up and we began to share our rolodexes. (Remember the Rolodex?)
“Hey man, I need a good studio to transfer old 16 track tapes. Know any?”
“Sure, I need someone who can play Asian flutes.”
It was a great time to be a music producer in NYC. There were lots of studios and musicians moving from session to session all day long. (Ira Siegel and Frank Vilardi were two of them.)
I knew Mike’s brother was an actor but I didn’t know he was a musician. No one did.
A boyhood friend of Kevin’s asked them to play a benefit. Mike saw this as an opportunity to form a band. The gig was in June but he wanted plenty of time to work up material and book musicians. So I got the call.
Two days later I found myself at Mike’s studio singing with him and Kevin. Coincidentally, I had gone to a SAG screening the week before and now I found myself face to face with the guy I had just seen do a tour-de-force acting job on the big screen in Murder In The First. I was a little bit nervous. As it turns out so was he. While he was confident as an actor he was still growing as a musician and singer. And now here he was in rehearsal with a professional musician he had never met. But as our three voices began to harmonize, everyone loosened up. The vocal blend really was exciting to hear for the first time. It was great! And, I heard Bacon Brothers songs for the first time. Including Only A Woman and Memorize. There was definitely something cool going on.
The experiment was a success so on to step two. We had a rehearsal with Marshal. That’s when Marshal and I suggested doing a warm up gig. We suggested a great music room called The Towne Crier, which was then located in Pawling, NY. (It’s now in Beacon) We hooked Mike up with the owner Phil Ciganer who booked them for a gig in late May.
Still, what to call this new band? We all liked the name Mid Life Crisis. It was Kevin’s suggestion and I think he liked it because it took the spotlight off of him. But of course, they settled on The Bacon Brothers. What else could it possibly be?
On the day of the Towne Crier gig we did our sound check in the afternoon then we drove back to Kevin and Kyra’s house which was about 40 minutes away just over the state line in Connecticut. We arrived to find Kyra making dinner for all of us, which was unbelievably sweet. The house was buzzing with nervous energy. A camera came out of somewhere. My wife Mary Ellen took a couple of indoor shots. Then we went outside because the spring sunlight was so beautiful. We went over to the fence and took the picture above.
Twenty years. Marshal and I became honorary Bacon Brothers as did Frank, Ira, Joe Mennonna, Charlie Giordano our crew Chris Fenn, Andrew Harris and our manager Chris Bailey.
When I met the guys, Mike and Betsy’s son Neal was playing bantam hockey in grammar school. Kevin and Kyra’s daughter Sosie was a toddler and Travis was mastering his first skateboard. They have all grown up to be good friends. We’ve had ridiculously joyful times and unforgettable experiences tempered by sad and painful ones. I wouldn’t have missed any of it for the world.
It’s been a great ride and there’s more to come. There’s a new CD on the way and we’re booked starting in spring and well into the summer. We’ll be singing and playing for all of our dedicated fans who made this possible and we hope to win over a few more.
To quote Mr. Dylan: “I was so much older then I’m younger than that now”. I actually am, no really.