"Better that than he should do heroin."
This is what a friend of mine said when I showed her that Kevin Bacon had recorded a CD with his brother. I had never heard, nor have I since, any suggestion that Bacon has ever done heroin, nor that he regarded making an album as his only alternative to shooting up. But that's the conclusion one almost can't help but jump to when hearing about such a project--that it's some Hollywood brat's ego trip.
After all, Bacon's a box-office draw, a former teen dreamboat who's graduated to ever-increasing critical favor with his performances in JFK and Murder in the First. He's even the subject of his very own party game, "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon," the object of which is to link him, via co-stars, to any other film actor by six films or less (it can be amazingly addictive). Last year's film Wild Things proved he's physically endowed in a way that's conducive to good self-esteem. Of course, in the face of all this approbation, he'd be insufferable enough to think he could sing.
The trouble with prejudging Bacon--who performs with The Bacon Brothers Band on Friday, January 22, at Planet Hollywood--as a musical dilettante is that he's been playing music with his older brother, film and television composer Michael Bacon, since well before he broke into movies. He actually can sing, at least on the relatively unambitious level he's attempting. And he has real gifts as a songwriter--he wrote 10 of the 13 songs on FOROSOCO, the debut album of The Bacon Brothers; and he wrote (but did not perform) an odd, catchy tune called "Medium Rare" for the film Telling Lies in America. It's easygoing, unpretentious fluff, but the best of The Bacon Brothers is quite enjoyable, airplay-worthy pop--it's a pity that critical response was generally cool.
Sure, he's married to Kyra Sedgwick; he's in demand as a movie star; he's lean and sandy-haired; and he makes hearts race all over the planet. But don't forget the downside of being Kevin Bacon--rock critics won't take his musical efforts seriously. Let me take a moment to brush a tear from my eye.