I was born in downtown Philadelphia in a tall skinny row house that was eventually inhabited by me, my four sisters (generally referred to as “the blonds”), and my little brother. My parents were socially conscious, artistic urban pioneer types who raised us on The Weavers, Broadway shows and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Electric guitars were not permitted. I began playing the cello but soon after learned drums, banjo and guitar, second hand from my sister Hilda. She and I formed the Quandary Quintet when we were in High School, a pretty decent jug band. I was an oboist throughout my high school years. College was a waste except that I formed a rock band, “Peter and the Wolves” and I was hooked on being a musician. I made it through 3 years of college until my old friend, cellist Larry Gold, asked me to join his group “Good News” as singer and guitarist. I moved back to Philadelphia and soon we were signed to Columbia Records and touring all over the country. One of our last gigs was the Third Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 where we performed in front of 250,000 cranky hippies. After Good News broke up I played out on my own, occasionally with a back up band which included my brother, Kevin, on percussion.
Soon I met Betsy Maguire and fell in love. We were married in 1972 and left the next day in a U-haul truck for Nashville. I became a staff songwriter for the legendary Combine Music Publishing Co. and recorded 2 solo LP’s on The Monument/CBS label. I got some good covers in Nashville but no hits and soon we were U-hauling it back to Philadelphia.
Luckily Betsy had gotten her teaching degree in Nashville so we survived the disco era on her teaching salary and my performing in schools and colleges and an occasional film score. I studied composition and theory, built a studio in the garage and all of a sudden there was baby Neil Bacon. It was time to get serious. I gave up performing and we moved to NYC to pursue film scoring full time.
After a frustrating year of sending out demo reels I got my first job with a well established documentary filmmaker David Grubin. Everyone needs a prime mover and David was that for me. Every job I do I can trace back through the tangled freelance network to this first job in NYC.
Work went well enough so that Betsy could stop teaching and she joined with me in the music business and yes, it is possible to work harmoniously with one’s wife. I went back to school for 2 years at Lehman College in the Bronx and studied composition, orchestrating, history and had private lessons with John Corigliano. Only in New York!
About ten years ago I yanked my brother out of the music closet and on to the stage. He didn’t have much choice as the band was called The Bacon Brothers and he was the only brother I had.
I’ve scored 12 feature films and literally hundreds of hours of prime time television shows and sing, play and write songs. I’m very lucky to have so much creative satisfaction in my work and fantastic support from my family.