While it's tempting to dis actors who multi-task as musicians, sometimes it's unjustified, as a few actually played instruments before they played roles. In the 1960s, Gary Busey drummed in the band Carp, and Saturday Night Live alum Chevy Chase was keyboardist in the psychedelic-era Chameleon Church. So when Kevin Bacon (Footloose, Sleepers, The Woodsman) got a band together with brother Michael (film composer and early-'70s folk/country-rocker), many smugly snickered vanity project. Did they even listen? Apparently not. The Bacon Brothers, who play the Fort Lauderdale Air and Sea Show this weekend, do the Americana tradition proud with four consistently solid, heartfelt albums of original material. Kevin (vocals, guitar, harmonica, percussion) and Michael (vocals, guitar, cello) have the genetic harmony thing down -- that distinctive blend of voices unique to blood ties, à la predecessors like the Everlys, Staples, and Stanleys. To paraphrase headless French royalty: Let them eat crow. We talked to the Bacon boys recently via telephone.
So, you're in the middle of recording?
KB: It's a concept album -- it's all new songs, just our band, no outside players. We're doing it organically, warts and all. We call it "unprocessed Bacon."
MB: We're all in the studio at the same time, sitting in a circle facing each other. We can react to each other more immediately this way.
Did you at any time want to kill Kenny Loggins? How do you feel about audiences requesting "Footloose"?
KB: [surprised chortle] No! That song was important in my life and career. When I've gone to weddings, that song gets played, and people form a circle around me and expect me to perform like a trained monkey.
Are you more like the Three Stooges or the Marx Brothers?
KB: Three Stooges.
MB: Three Stooges, definitely.
You're performing at the Air Show -- Blue Angels or Hells' Angels?
MB: Blue Angels.
Interviewers often ask, "Who would play you in a movie?" I ask you, "Who would play you in a band?"
MB: It's already happened: When Kevin was hosting Saturday Night Live, there was a song where Jack Black was performing my part!
What band would you want to be in, then and now?
MB: I'd want to be in the band I'm in now. As for then, I'd like to have been Brian Jones in the Stones... prior to drowning, though. -- Mark Keresman
The Bacon Brothers perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at the Air and Sea Show on Fort Lauderdale Beach, at Sunrise Boulevard and A1A, Fort Lauderdale. Admission is free; fireworks display follows. Call 954-527-5600, ext. 4.
It's On Now, Bitch
Brooke Valentine might be the Don King of girl fights: She didn't invent 'em, but she knows how to capitalize off of 'em. Scraping new lows in rap video depravity, the Texas Crunk 'n' B chick's "Girlfight" deliberately spotlights -- even encourages -- girl-on-girl grappling. "Sendin' this out to all the ladies who got beef with another bitch!" Producer Lil Jon roars at the song's intro (for our friend Jon has no concept of the "inside voice.") "Go ahead and step to that bitch and tell her... it's about to be a girlfiiight!"
The song also features Big Boi of Outkast, whose voice is sampled throughout: "Boy, stop" -- apparently inside joking with Lil Jon. Never one to piss on a parade, Big Boi ends his climactic guest rap with the line, "Go on, let them bitches fight."
The video is a four-minute fiasco, a study in female exploitation, and a genuine laugh riot. Valentine plays the hard-ass aggressor, lusciously shaped and smolderingly hot, wearing a "Don't Mess with Texas" T. She rants at her rival via cell phone and finally clashes with her Daisy-Duked ho-foe at a drunken, crunken house party. There's Big Boi and Lil Jon egging them on, sort of refereeing -- Jon even announcing to Valentine's victim, "Damn shorty, you got knocked the fuck out!"
Just for the kids, the song and video have spawned a video game you can play at www.CelebrityGirlFight.com. Aspiring punani-plying pugilists can log on and smack the snot out of cartoon versions of J. Lo, Paris, and Beyoncé.
In an MTV interview, Valentine said the hit was inspired by an actual "crazy" party last Fourth of July at Lil Jon's Miami mansion. "Jon did the beat in ten minutes, we wrote the song in five, and we were done," she said. "We were ready to go party some more." So unfolds Lil Jon's mysterious formula for conjuring a number-one single.
Next up: Popefight! -- Makkada Selah
Please do not giggle when Billy Idol's name is mentioned. Though he was an easy target with his leather ass-pants, halibut-looking sneer, and vaguely rebellious fist-pumping, it was a vast, rock-critic conspiracy that brought Idol down.
In 1993, Idol's Cyberpunk record, along with his dreadlock hairdo, were greeted with universal ridicule, but the truth is Idol has actually been underrated in the canon of '80s new wave, pretty-boy acts. Though music videos are not often considered when contemplating an artist's significance, Idol's high-concept productions were as glorious, decadent, and fuckin' weird as anything Michael Jackson came up with.
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In the sultry clip for "Eyes Without a Face," Idol practiced cathartic kung fu moves while being inundated by a smoke machine. He spat out a colorful rap in the middle of a flaming hexagon and pumped his fists against a backdrop of red sparklers as a woman in a black dress writhed sensuously while being sprayed with a garden hose. Idol also rocked out with zombies in the video for "Dancing with Myself."
Unlike other '80s acts that are notable mostly for overplayed singles, Idol and his sidekick, guitarist Steve Stevens, are responsible for a rock masterpiece, 1983's Rebel Yell. This album is a testament to hedonism and machismo, a brash howl from the depths of depravity that would eventually send Idol off the deep end into a heroin and crack binge, which nearly cost him his life.
Flash-forward to 2005: Billy Idol is 50 years old, playing SunFest, and why the fuck should anyone care?
While Duran Duran writes pop songs that senior citizens can do yoga to and Robert Smith balloons into a Macy's Day Parade float, Billy Idol retains his magnificent vocals and Steve Stevens continues to tear shit up on guitar. Idol's latest, Devil's Playground, is no Rebel Yell, but the album, his first in 12 years, contains at least a few songs that hark back to his rip-roaring past. The single "Scream" is a nasty-ass tune in which Idol claims that some honey loves his "demon seed." There's also "Romeo's Waiting," a tribute to men who fall in love with strippers, and "Body Snatcher," a song about cheating death -- dark tunes worthy of Idol's oeuvre. -- Adam Bregman