Episode 231: Interview – Tommy Keene, Part 3




December 1, 2017


  • Keene Brothers “Island of Lost Lucys” Blues and Boogie Shoes (Fading Captain Series/Recordhead) 2006
  • Keene Brothers “Death Of The Party” Blues and Boogie Shoes (Fading Captain Series/Recordhead) 2006
  • Tommy Keene “Love Is A Dangerous Thing” Sleeping On A Rollercoaster (Matador) 1992
  • Tommy Keene “Safe In The Light” Back Again (Try…) (Dolphin Records) 1984
  • Tommy Keene “Nothing Can Change You” Based On Happy Times (Geffen) 1989


This is the final part of our interview series with power pop icon Tommy Keene. Tommy sat down with Jim and Patrick a couple of months back at the restaurant Villain & Saint, in Bethesda, Maryland, and talked about his collaborations with Paul Westerberg and Robert Pollard. In addition, Tommy also discussed his biggest regrets as an artist.

If you would like to read more about Tommy and his life, we highly recommend reading this incredibly thoughtful, and powerful article by his brother Bobby. – http://tommykeene.com/index.php/2017/11/27/a-few-words-about-tommy-to-his-friends-and-fans/

Rest in power, Tommy.

Where credit is due: Photograph of Tommy Keene (the thumbnail of this post) taken by Mariela T. Huerta.

FUN FACT: Tommy was a collaborator with Matthew Sweet (who we also interviewed a couple of months back). Matthew said of Tommy after his passing, “He was a true classic, and a wonderful friend. Long may the music and the man be remembered. His songs are playing in my heart now…”

For your viewing pleasure:

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3 Replies to “Episode 231: Interview – Tommy Keene, Part 3”

  1. Charles Matthews

    The Tommy Keene episode is so good. I wish people would stop talking about how he failed to break through to huge success, or how he should have been bigger. True he should have been more widely appreciated. But the outpouring of sadness all over the world over his death seems to signify to me that he did just fine. Great interview though, good to hear him say this stuff in his own words.

  2. Ben Ignacio

    I have really been moved by the loss of Tommy Keene, despite only barely exploring his music. I went to Georgetown University in the mid-to-late Eighties, but followed the Dischord scene more than anything else locally. I did see him once at the original 9:30, and really liked him. I had just come off the Athens, GA obsession sweeping the Mid-Atlantic at that time. Someone, a local Chevy Chase girls, gave me a tape of a couple of his records around the Run Now era. I remember thinking that he fit right in with my affinity for the Replacements and Husker Du’s last record, Warehouse. Fast forward a year or two later, and Tommy is but a memory to me. I don’t know what happened to that tape. By the time Grunge hit, I doubled down on my punk rock and spent my Nineties huddled in a bunker filled with Dag Nasty, Down By Law, Descendents, and Minor Threat’s Complete Discography morphing from CD to tape, to another tape, to iPod.

    When another musician friend mentioned on his Facebook status on Thanksgiving night that Tommy had passed away, that long lost tape came flooding back into sense memory. There I was back again in my townhouse on Dent Place NW, cranking Run Now through my housemate’s stereo. There I was standing shoulder to shoulder with the DC cool kids on that tiny floor in the old 9:30, Tommy in his trademark jacket and Tele.

    Needless to say, I spent the last week discovering song after song, release after release, of music that should have been the soundtrack of my journey into adulthood. The Amazon emails keep coming: “your package has shipped.” It feels like I get to restart my twenties, despite this being my 50th year. RIP Tommy. Thanks for the new memories.

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