PASSPORT: Tommy Keene


What was the biggest fun during the making of Laugh In The Dark?

TK: I would say recording the drums at Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN. with producer/engineer John Hampton. This would end up being his final sessions after years of recording and producing many acts, including Alex Chilton, The Replacements, The White Stripes, and on and on. We did a full record in 1989, my last Geffen record, Based On Happy Times, and various other projects over the years including recording the drums for my Covers record Excitement At Your Feet. John was a joy to work with, extremely funny, wickedly talented and understood the overall ethic that making and recording music should always be FUN. He passed away several weeks after we had finished and I dedicated the record to him.

If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?

TK: Probably In My Life by the Beatles, where I got the lyrical idea or initial inspiration for my song Places That Are Gone. It’s bittersweet, heartfelt and deals with the past, a theme that always crops up in my songs.

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

TK: Timing, timing, and timing-that’s what the music industry is all about and luck. I’ve been lucky enough to have obtained the status I’ve gotten but not so lucky as to be in the right place at the exact right time to become super successful and make a lot of money. That obviously is financially better in the long run, but from what I’ve witnessed does not necessarily make people happy.

Who is the best musician in the world nobody has heard of yet? And why will this change very soon?

TK: If I only knew then I would manage them!!

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mixed tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

TK: All songs by The Beatles, The Who and The Stones!

What’s up for the next couple of months?

TK: This Sunday I’m going to Japan for the first time!! I’m playing guitar for my friend’s new group The Small Square featuring Paul Chastain formerly of Velvet Crush.  I am also going to be performing a short solo Tommy Keene set before the band plays, so that will be interesting!!! After that my group will be playing a series of US West coast shows in early Feb. of next year. We will hit Los Angeles, San Francisco CA, Portland OR and Seattle WA.

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