Craig Ferguson has had an eclectic some may say insane career. Leading him from the punk rock scene in the UK to a Peabody Award-winning late night TV show in the U.S. I can relate to this. Don’t misunderstand me. I am in NO WAY comparing my career with his. It’s just that like him I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going when I was younger. It was risky and foolish at times but he was willing to go wherever his talent led him. So was I.
Plus, as we say in the band biz… he’s “a cat”, and a damn funny one at that. Craig reminded me of another irreverent TV host of my youth: Soupy Sales. I love that Craig wrote, plays and sings his own theme song. I love the free-wheeling, anything goes style of the show. And like another touchstone of my wayward youth, the show feels like a kinetic Mad Magazine.
The Bacon Brothers were invited to perform on the show for the first time in 2006. We were heading up the coast in a tour bus when I heard about the gig. I said: “Craig who?” When we rolled in it seemed like any other TV show: professional crew and staff, T-shirts and swag in the dressing rooms, freezing TV studio. Craig was nowhere to be seen. At other shows the host always dropped in to say hello and maybe even go over what they might talk about with Michael and Kevin for the “couch” segment. Not Craig. He wanted total spontaneity. After our sound check and run-through for the cameras we settled into the green room to hang out until we were called.
We all watched the opening monolog on the giant flat screen TV. The energy level of the audience and the host was off the charts. The jokes and comments were flying around almost faster than we could process them. We were convulsing and rolling on the couches. “OMG! Is this the funniest guy on the planet?” Now we had to follow this and on national television no less! That’s the thing. He makes you come up to his energy level. That’s when it hit me. It’s punk. I remember that feeling of performing as if your life depended on it. Boy was the adrenaline was pumping.
We hit it and quit it as James Brown might say. Success, we were accepted by the late night crowd. Another skeptical audience won over, another notch in the belt.
Since then, the band has been on three more times and Kevin has been on countless other times. When you’re in, you’re in.
We just did our fourth and final performance for Craig. He’s going off the air on December 19th. Wish I could be there for that party! We performed the first single “Wonderful Day” from the new Bacon Brothers CD called “36 Cents”. Here’s a link:
Craig inspires because he’s tireless. He keeps moving. As a kid I knew that I wanted to be in the creative arts and I was a pretty good musician. That’s all. Now I write songs, produce music, teach, perform and consult about music. I’m still doing this because I kept moving and learning and growing. I’m sure I’ll be at it when I’m in the Start Me Up Home For Aging Rockers. At the risk of sounding clichéd I always tell my students at Pace that your career is about the journey not the destination.
Here’s to you Craig! Best of luck on your journey. Ooh La La!
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