News & Politics

Kevin Bacon Surprised an Alexandria Bar With a Performance of “Footloose”

We talked to the Kevin Bacon and his bandmate brother about charity, music, and why they love Alexandria.

Michael and Kevin Bacon sing along with Alexandria police chief Michael Brown. Photo by Christine Halsey.

In a packed Rock It Grill on King Street in Alexandria on a rainy Saturday, the shrieks could be heard a mile away. As Alexandria police chief Michael Brown was onstage singing an entertaining, albeit imperfect, karaoke rendition of “Footloose” in front of fellow officers and residents, it happened. Kevin and Michael Bacon ran up to the stage, pulled out their guitars and started jamming with the chief, singing back up.

The Bacon Brothers were in town for their weekend tour stop at the Birchmere and decided to surprise patrons at the Karaoke With Cops event, an Alexandria Police Foundation fundraiser following the Congressional Baseball shooting earlier this year. We caught up with brothers before they surprised the crowd and chatted with them about charity, music, and why they love Alexandria and will be back.

Why did you guys decide to come out and surprise everyone?

Kevin: We do drop-ins, and we’ve done a whole variety of stuff. A lot of times, if we’re in this area, we find stuff and Stacy, who runs SixDegrees and also lives here, found this one, and here we are.

Do you have a favorite spot in Alexandria to hangout?

Michael: I like to go walk by the water. The riverwalk is really nice, and sometimes I go down to Mount Vernon, too. It’s pretty amazing that we’re able to come here and do three nights. Usually, it’s one night and then you go somewhere else. Because of the amount of people that come out, we can do that. It allows us free time in the day where we can do stuff like this, which I love to do.

Kevin: Alexandria’s been really good to us, because we started playing at the Birchmere probably 15 years ago. We were a relatively new act and to get to play at the Birchmere was big for us in terms of the size of the crowd that we could build and being a band that nobody knows. I mean, they know me, but they don’t know the band or the music. It was one of those pockets in the country where we just sort of found an audience. And so now, we can come back and do three nights. So, it’s been a good yearly gig for us for many years.

Why is the charity aspect so important to you two?

Michael: Well, first of all, my brother’s got a fantastic charity. And I think that there’s an illusion that if one does charity work, somehow you’re sacrificing something for it and I don’t feel that way at all. So, anything that I can do to help my brother with his charity, I love it and I’m 100 percent there.

So you’ve been a band for more than 20 years at this point, how have you maintained that longevity with everything you’ve both got going on?

Michael: I think overall, it’s a little less what we do and more of us following the band around. I always think of it, in terms of what my brother and I do, as the band is kind of a luxury because we don’t really do that much planning. The band kind of leads us around by the nose, and we just follow along. All of a sudden you do that, and it’s been 22 years and you really have never decided to do that. The band was originally put together for one job and then it was going to fold, but it didn’t.

Michael, I know you’re a composer, but were you both musical since childhood?

Kevin: Well, Michael’s older than me, and I’ve heard Michael playing since I was a little boy. He’s really much more of a trained classical musician. He’s excellent and can play anything. My musical thing was really about songwriting. I would sing them to him and he would help me with the structure of the song. I didn’t have an instrument, I just had these melodies in my head. That’s how we came together as a band because we had a bunch of songs that we had been writing that we wanted to play for people.

Michael: Right now, we’re in a really good place because we’re a songwriting band and we kind of live and die on the songs. And all of a sudden, we’re both writing a lot. In the last year, I think we’ve had six new songs that we’re releasing one at a time. I think that’s probably the most exciting and that’s probably the big motor that keeps us going. You write a song and you’re curious whether you can pull it off in front of people and if they relate to it. Right now, we’re good.

Former editorial fellow Kayla Randall is City Lights editor at Washington City Paper.