Tommy Keene has been playing guitar hero for more than a quarter-century, both on his power-pop solo albums (his latest is In The Late Bright, out this week) and as a sideman for Robert Pollard and Paul Westerberg. Keene, apparently weary of all the critical acclaim, agreed to dole out some of his own praise. He’s guest editing magnetmagazine. com this week and compiled a mix tape for us with a free mp3.
Keene: At a Palm Springs consignment store a few years ago, I came across a Baldwin Fun Machine, an old, tacky-looking keyboard that was priced at $125. It turned out to be the best $125 I’ve ever spent. With push-button controls, you can dial up all kinds of cheesy sounds like flute, banjo and vibraharp. The main keyboard has three octaves, with a separate octave for bass and percussion. Dig these samples you can whip up: Foxtrot, Swing, Country (real, I suppose), Pop Rock and the best, Soul Rock! Every time I sit down and turn it on and start playing, an idea seems to form for a song. It might be a full-fledged number or an idea for a Bob Pollard intro tape, but I always seem to get something out of it. Songs that have sprung from one of the these sessions include “Texas Tower # 4” from Crashing The Ether; “Late Bright,” the opening track from my new record In The Late Bright; and “Lost Upon Us” from the Keene Brothers’ Blues And Boogie Shoes. (On the latter, that’s the Soul Rock button you hear at the beginning.)
The Keene Brothers’ “Lost Upon Us” from Blues And Boogie Shoes: