The Bacon Brothers need validation.
"We have something to prove," said Michael Bacon, 47.
No, musician Michael, and his brother, actor Kevin Bacon, don't need witnesses to hide in a closet to verify carnal conquests, like Kevin's character Fenwick in "Diner," which was set in Baltimore.
What they do need, at the peak of hot young-actor-cum-rock-star careers (Keanu Reeves, anyone?) is for people not to pre-suppose the "movie-star vanity trip."
"You may not dig our music, but you can't say someone's packaging us, putting nice clothes on us and shooting a video," the 38-year-old actor said. "People don't like crossover."
Kevin and Michael, whose band is performing tonight in Washington, have existed as the Bacon Brothers since 1994. But they have been playing music together for more than 20 years. That translates into vintage tapes recorded before Kevin's step into manhood.
"We were figuring Kevin would be the next Michael Jackson," said Michael Bacon, an award-winning composer who has wet (( his feet in many areas of the music industry. Michael, who plays guitar and cello in the band, labels the Bacon Brothers' music as "soforoco," (a mix of soul, folk, rock and country) with splashes of James Taylor and Sam Cooke.
The brothers didn't embark on such arts-oriented careers without some background. Their mother played the mandolin and encouraged dance, music and other lessons. The children learned to relate through culture.
"Whenever the family gets together, it always ends with singing," said Baltimore resident Elinor Bacon, who is Michael and Kevin's sister.
Elinor, who owns a local real estate development company, put Kevin up in Baltimore while he was filming "Diner" and had a blast watching the movie being shot.
Kevin recalls Fells Point before it became the mod meat market it is today and has fond memories of Baltimore's Own chocolate pTC pizza. Kevin also starred in "He Said, She Said," another film set in Baltimore; more specifically, at The Sun.
Kevin is the youngest of six siblings whose careers range from the arts to mental health to urban development. The Bacons somehow escaped the National Enquirer dimension of infidelity, abuse and discord in show-biz clans. They see each other as often as possible, and Elinor is often puzzled by questions about dealing with a famous brother.
"People always ask, 'Do you ever see him?' " Elinor said. "It's not an issue. He's my little brother."
The band helps maintain those ties. By playing with his brother, Kevin has the opportunity to spend more time with his family, plus the complementary "shot in the arm" that performing live gives the former stage actor.
"I approach acting in a musical way," he said. "There's a rhythm that comes into the language."
Yes, those were Kevin's actual feet tapping in "Footloose," and the "Diner" alum has learned that movement and rhythm are as essential to good acting as a flawless catalog of football facts are to a potential spouse.
Not taking things for granted is another essential Bacon has learned. But at the risk of "looking a gift horse in the mouth," he can handle the truth and admits to the power of rock-and-roll dreams.
"My first love was rock and roll," said Kevin, who has idolized acts from the Beatles to David Cassidy to James Taylor. "That was the real fantasy."
Meeting actors has become a controlled thrill, but the high of meeting rock idols is what leaves Bacon quaking like a 14-year-old boy on a first date. "If someone from rock and roll walks in the room, my knees start shaking."
The devotion to rock partially explains the split in Kevin and Michael's writing styles. Michael is the "sensitive folk guy," according to Kevin. But for those not quite as attuned to nuance, Kevin is the one who cuts loose.
Not to be forgotten is the brave new world to which a musical career opens the Kevin Bacon Game. Everyone knows Kevin is the center of the Hollywood universe and connectible within six degrees to any screen actor. But what about when he becomes the center of the musical universe?
You can already connect him to a few musicians. Madonna was in "A League of Their Own" with Tom Hanks, who was in "Apollo 13" with Kevin Bacon. Jon Bon Jovi was in "Moonlight and Valentino" with Elizabeth Perkins, who was in "He Said, She Said" with Kevin Bacon.
But don't expect to be able to connect him to the scowls of Oasis and other angsty alterna-misanthropes anytime soon. "We're friendly," he said of his band. "We're too old to be pissed off."
Where: The Bayou, 3135 K. St., N.W., Washington
When: 8 tonight Tickets: $10
Call: (202) 432-SEAT
Pub Date: 7/18/96