Tommy Keene has died at the age of 59. He “passed unexpectedly and peacefully in his sleep” last night, according to a post on his official website.
Tommy Keene (June 30, 1958 – November 22, 2017) was an American singer-songwriter, best known for releasing critically acclaimed new wave/power pop songs in the 1980s. He has a longtime cult following among fans of the musical genre of power pop.
Keene graduated from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland (class of 1976), 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. (citation needed) Keene then attended the University of Maryland.
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 #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, formerly 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.
Keene released his ninth original studio album, Behind The Parade, with Second Motion Records in 2011. This was the fourth release with members of the label as founder Stephen Judge also signed and released Keene’s two disc retrospective Tommy Keene: You Hear Me in 2010 and his previous release, Crashing The Ether, in 2006 on his Eleven Thirty Records, while serving as A&R Director and General Manager at Redeye Distribution.