Tommy Keene (born Thomas Clay Keene; June 30, 1958 – November 22, 2017) was an American singer-songwriter, best known for releasing critically acclaimed rock & roll/power pop songs in the 1980s. He has a longtime cult following among fans of the musical genre of power pop.
|Birth name||Thomas Clay Keene|
|Born||June 30, 1958|
Evanston, Illinois, United States
|Origin||Bethesda, Maryland, United States|
|Died||November 22, 2017(aged 59)|
|Genres||Power pop, jangle pop, rock & roll, pop rock|
|Labels||Avenue, Dolphin, Geffen, Matador, Alias, Parasol, spinART, Not Lame, Eleven Thirty|
|Associated acts||Robert Pollard, Paul Westerberg, Goo Goo Dolls, Velvet Crush, (The) Razz, Richard X. Heyman|
Evanston, Illinois-born Keene was raised in Bethesda, Maryland. He graduated in 1976 from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, which was also the alma mater of fellow musician Nils Lofgren, who went on to play and record with Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. Keene played drums in one version of Lofgren's early bands. Keene then attended the University of Maryland, College Park.
Keene first received critical acclaim with his pioneering pop band The Razz, who released several local independent singles. His 1984 EP Places That Are Gone became one of the year's top selling independent releases. The EP garnered a four-star review in Rolling Stone, and was voted the No. 1 EP in the following year's Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll. Keene recorded and released numerous albums on such labels as Dolphin, Geffen and Matador Records. He worked with producers T-Bone Burnett, Don Dixon, and R. Walt Vincent. He continued to record and tour and released an album with Robert Pollard, of Guided by Voices, as 'The Keene Brothers.' Keene also played guitar on the Goo Goo Dolls' hit song, "Broadway", on their 1998 album, Dizzy Up The Girl.
In 2011, Keene released his ninth original studio album, Behind The Parade, with Second Motion Records. This was the fourth release working with Second Motion's founder Stephen Judge. Judge had released Keene's 2010 two disc retrospective Tommy Keene: You Hear Me and his previous release, Crashing The Ether. Keene's 2006 release Eleven Thirty Records was released while Judge was A&R Director and general manager at Redeye Distribution.
Keene died in his sleep on November 22, 2017, at the age of 59 due to cardiac arrest.
- Strange Alliance (1982, Avenue)
- Songs from the Film (1986, Geffen) U.S. No. 148
- Based on Happy Times (1989, Geffen)
- Ten Years After (1996, Matador)
- Isolation Party (1998, Matador)
- The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down (2002, spinART)
- Crashing the Ether (2006, Eleven Thirty)
- In the Late Bright (2009, Second Motion Records)
- Behind the Parade (2011, Second Motion Records)
- Excitement at Your Feet (2013, Second Motion Records)
- Laugh in the Dark (2015, Second Motion Records)
Compilations and live albumsEdit
- The Real Underground (1993, Alias)
- Driving into the Sun (1994, Alias)
- Showtunes (2001, Self Released)
- Drowning—A Tommy Keene Miscellany (2004, Not Lame)
- Tommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective - 1983-2009 (2010, Second Motion Records)
- Showtunes II (2016, Self Released)
- Places That Are Gone (1984, Dolphin)
- Back Again (Try...) (1984, Dolphin)
- Run Now (1986, Geffen)
- Sleeping on a Roller Coaster (1992, Matador)
- Salam, Maya (November 24, 2017). "Tommy Keene, power-pop songwriter and star of '80s D.C. music scene, dies at 59". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
- "Tommy Keene". TrouserPress.com. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
- "Cult Rocker Tommy Keene, R.I.P." That Devil Music. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- "In Our Lives". No Such Thing As Was. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- Jack Leaver. "Places That Are Gone – Tommy Keene | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
- "Tommy Keene 6/30/58 – 11/22/17 – Tommy Keene". Tommykeene.com.
- "Top 200 Albums". Billboard. July 1, 1986. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
- Official website
- Tommy Keene at AllMusic
- Tommy Keene discography at Discogs
- "It's Peachy for Keene: Musician's Musician Tommy Keene Releases a New CD of Irresistible Pop. and as a Bonus, He Comes Out" by Reighley, Kurt B. – The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), May 9, 2006 | Online Research Library: Questia