Cameron Edney - http://insideout666.mysite.freeserve.com
Kelly Keeling is one of the rock world’s most talented artist’s.
A man who has recorded and performed with many historical rock bands,
plays guitar, bass, piano, and sings among other things recently caught
up with us here at Inside_out666 for a chat. We spoke about Kelly’s
latest projects, the book he is writing, Kelly’s new solo cd
“Giving Sight to the Eye”, song writing, the petition
Kelly recently signed to have an all metal television channel &
much more. I hope you all enjoy the interview.
Metal Fanatix: Hi Kelly first of all I would like
to thank you for taking the time out to do this interview with us.
Kelly Keeling: No Problem, thanks for having me.
Metal Fanatix: I know that you are very busy at the
moment. I would like to start at the beginning. I believe you started
singing at the age of nine and by the age of fourteen you were playing
guitar. Can you tell us about those early days growing up & what
inspired you to become an artist?
Kelly Keeling: Actually I have a tape I recently
transferred to digital where I was 5 singing with my dad. We did school
songs, quite interesting. But I guess it was about 9 where I got serious
about wanting to be a part of music. Maybe it happened naturally,
I didn’t have many kids on my block in Louisiana and there wasn’t
much to do. I saw my dad rehearse with his band (he was a singer)
and this inspired me. We had instruments around the house. When I
got bored of toy cars I picked up instruments and tried to mimic what
I heard on albums and tapes. And pretending in the room, with the
guitar to my knees and pretending to be Marc Bolan or Paul McCartney.
7 years old I remember getting the Beatles blue hits album and thinking
it was Paul McCartney’s band. I had seen his show on television
and really like what he was about. It grew from there. I couldn’t
be bothered with school from around then till, well still. School
was hard for me because I was so distracted by that great music, My
parents were sort of hippies, we went to festivals, I was too young
to remember but we saw Janis Joplin and " It’s A Beautiful
Day" I do remember because the violin player / singer was playing
to me as I was on my dads shoulders sp I could see what was going
on. So these albums were always on the turn table on weekend hangouts
where I had to go to bed early. I remember thinking… One day
I won’t have to go to bed early. And I can be a part of all
Metal Fanatix: What was the first guitar you owned?
Kelly Keeling: It was a sears sunburst strat looking
thing I forget the name of it. Next was another off brand It had no
name but looked like a black les paul. This guitar meant business.
Especially with the Gibson tube amp my dad brought home. LOUD!! When
no one was home I would open the window and place it between and crank
it, if I was rehearsed. I think that was a bit later. But I remember
it didn't have that Hendrix sound unless it was all the way up. lol
The Electric Ladyland album infested my mind about that time. I couldn't
stop trying to figure out how he made those sounds with the guitar
but was determined to find out. Later George Lynch demonstrated on
stage how to play within feedback, and play more than the guitar was
actually playing by bending the feedback notes... with Wah...space
Metal Fanatix: It’s no secret that when anyone
plays their first live show they are very excited and also extremely
nervous. What do you remember from the first show you ever played?
Kelly Keeling: Talent show Edgar Martin School 8th
grade last day of school before summer party. I played Overture by
Rush and a bit of temples Of Syrinx. I had a bigger better, louder
amp for this, the teachers hated it, the kids loved it, and I knew
I was in then. What I was going to do
Metal Fanatix: What was your first experience like
playing outside the U.S.A. like?
Kelly Keeling: Japan. Very tentative. The people
were so polite and kind. Knew my music. I went there with Carmine
Appice, Mitch Perry and Tony Franklin. We did songs from our not so
distant past then. It was a lot of fun.
Metal Fanatix: I believe you are currently writing
a book? Can you tell us about it! Working titles etc?
Kelly Keeling: Well it’s basically my life
story and getting very involved. Uncovering things I had almost forgotten.
I left home at 17. I went on the road, made 350 dollars a week to
start. "Kelly you can't make money playing music", what
I have seen and the people and cultures I have met, Being from the
near swamps of Louisiana, been a part of, ran across, ran screaming
from, got tangled in, released from. It’s been a rough ride
but very entertaining. I learned the blues first hand. The titles
are by my co writer so I can’t mention. Just imagine, 17 years
old, band after band, moved from Louisiana, with girlfriend and son
with 13 people to live in a house in LA. I’m not leaving much
out so it’s much more than I can paraphrase here. I’m
glad to have made it HERE and still have a long way to go. Russia
starts my tour in May so the book is still writing itself and some
of the most fertile elements happening now as in many ways life has
Metal Fanatix: What other activities are you currently
Kelly Keeling: Activities? Well Its summer in San
Diego so, the beach, writing songs, they come to me whether I want
it or not, Juicing, Running, swimming in the ocean, which is about
64 degrees right now,, Hot outside though so its great. Trying to
get my tour together for summer around the world.
Fanatix: It has come to my attention that more than 1700
rock/metal fans worldwide have united and signed a petition. Artists
such as Judas priest, Don Dokken & yourself to name a few are
among those in favour of a Vh1 Metal Mania Channel with no “nu-metal”
to be played. Many fans & artists believe that VH1 & MTV will
never approve this, not because of ratings, but because of the genre
of music which would be featured. Can you share your thoughts on the
Kelly Keeling: Well If they can put reality shows
with no musical content on music channel VH1, & Music T V channel
MTV which by the way I enjoy, then there is room for Music. Even if
On MT2. Come on! Let’s have a Rap channel, Pop channel or programming
and ROCK program or channel. I watch FUSE more than the others because
they are usually playing more what I know to be more musical acts.
At least in the time I watch. It used to be headbangers ball... there
should be a show during the week as an alternative to American idol.
It doesn’t have to be core gore metal just not white bread calculated
vibrado singing, no soul audition singing like on that show. I agree
prime time can’t be too graphic and needs to be safe. Well there
is an avenue for that in the music many of us do. Some of those singers
are good, but face it, Many of us, Dokken, Lynch, Priest have long
since seen an audition and are now releasing very very good music
currently, that have a very large fan base. They would have good ratings.
Many people would really enjoy it if decent videos or live recordings
were made of these bands.
Bands like Muse, Jimmy Eat World, Gavin Degraw, Keane, Coldplay, U2,
My new album, the Crue”, Lynch’s new album, Dokken, Priest,
So many are all able to be played at this prime time or later where
PUNKED is played. Many of us and them started MTV and VH1 or were
there when it happened and have seen it destroyed by joke shows with
great ratings sure, But what about all the FANS that are still there,
out there, changing the station. I’d like to try to see if it
would work for a few weeks / months. We started a lot of what they
are doing now. All the sponsors of NAMM all guitar companies, record
companies will find resurgence / promotion in this if they didn’t
abuse it. Wasp couldn’t play unless Blackie did something like
"the headless children album", without that title. We need
to talk with the program directors. If the videos were class as they
are these days I think many could enjoy it. And the PEOPLE the audiences
are STILL there as they were a few years ago.
Metal Fanatix: In your honest opinion what do you
think about the direction Heavy Metal music has taken over the last
Kelly Keeling: There are a lot of great bands happening.
Especially the younger bands. Radical and very motivated. I go to
concerts, Buy music. Download some to see what I'm buying. That can
be a good marketing tool. As I've seen it used.
Metal Fanatix: What current groups are you listening
to if any?
Kelly Keeling: Kasabian, Muse, Queens of the Stoneage,
Chemical Romance, Taking back Sunday, Green day, Libertines, Killers,
Keane, Bloc Party, Gavin Degraw, (awesome live), Interpol, Velvet
Revolver, STP, I like Blink 182 a lot …Very good production
and songs, Audioslave, Thursday, Rufus Wainwright, “Want One”
Album is brilliant, Judas Priests Angel of Retribution album is amazing,
Dokken’s Hell To Pay, George Lynch’s As yet to be titled
new album, and FURIOUS GEORGE album, Kelly Keeling “Giving Sight
To The Eye” Legacy, Starwood, Carmine Appice’s Guitar
Zeus, Enuff Z’nuff, Michael Schenker’s Assault Attack
is surgically planted in my car,...All that’s on my mind at
Metal Fanatix: During your career you have had the
pleasure of working with some of the biggest names in the rock/metal
world. I’d like to ask you about your time performing &
recording with some of these guys. First of all your work with Carmine
Appice, you worked together in the late 90’s & then again
a couple of years back. How did you guys team up in the first place?
Kelly Keeling: Our both leaving Blue Murder during
the mix of the second album. And starting a band which became my /
his solo albums called Guitar Zeus 1- 2-3 Channel Mind Radio and GZ
He played on my new solo album that’s just been released. “Giving
Sight to the Eye” He’s a great friend, Amazing musician,
singer, legend, He’s seen it all, wise, visionary, collaborator,
motivator. He first came to my house in Encino and listened to like
50 of my 4 track recordings, and songs I was in the process of writing.
We made a list, got the deal that week, and got to work, Called Tony
Franklin who had also left Blue Murder and we did those albums. Invited
Brian May, Zakk Wilde, Richie Sambora, many great guitarists to lay
down solos. It was a lot of fun and really rewarding musically &
Metal Fanatix: You have also had the opportunity of writing
and recording with the one & only Alice Cooper. That must have
Kelly Keeling: Of course! I had all the albums and
posters, big fan; our idea with Epic was to resurrect the Alice we
were fans of. It was very exciting. That album almost did it. The
demos were better in my opinion.
Metal Fanatix: Do you have any plans to work with
Alice again in the future?
Kelly Keeling: No
Fanatix: You have also done quiet a bit of work with Dokken,
how would you compare the experience of working with Dokken, to the
likes of Michael Schenker or Carmine Appice?
Kelly Keeling: I enjoy writing with Don when His
switch is on. It’s hard to calculate when that is. I really
am very proud of some of the songs we wrote for long Way Home and
Hell to Pay. The song "Care for You" may be one of my proudest
moments personally. I did the MSG album in 14 days. Wrote, recorded
and mixed. Some of it sounds like it; some of it is really good I
think. I remember working way too hard on that album. Michael and
Mike Varney are very very motivated. 12 songs 14 days, whew, we did
it though, and then a small tour, I worked with Michael, Very proud
to have. We just did new songs for his 25th anniversary album. I wrote
three, One for me which I sang, a song called Big Deal” and
two others one for Graham Bonnet and Gary Barden. Carmine, Is my big
Brother, I love working with him, spending time with him. Any chance
to do so I will. I enjoy everything we ever did. Except when King
Kobra didn’t show up and I had to do all the work, still some
great songs and recordings that came out of that two weeks.
Metal Fanatix: Over the years you have recorded with
Dokken, MSG, Blue Murder, and King Kobra among others. From all the
albums you have appeared on what one would be your favourite to listen
to & why?
Kelly Keeling: Absolute favourite would be Guitar
Zeus “Channel Mind Radio with Zakk, Slash & Nugent. I used
a different guitar tuning to write and record each song. I think it
has a very unique sound, pretty proud of it. Tony &Carmine are
Awesome on that. The songs were really good and enjoyable. We took
our time, recorded on tape, took very good care with the mixes. Tony,
Carmine and I were pretty furious as a three piece. Fantastic memories.
Metal Fanatix: What is the one album/song that would
define Kelly Keeling to a complete stranger?
Kelly Keeling: Kelly Keeling “Giving Sight
to the Eye’ “American Version”
Metal Fanatix: After all these years of writing and
recording how do you constantly come up with new fresh sounding material
without falling into the trap a lot of other bands do by repeating
Kelly Keeling: I let the past go and am pretty influenced
by what I am a fan of. I go to concerts of friends of mine, Velvet
Revolver in a few days, those guys are really good. I’m a fan
of new music and that’s why it’s new, because it is just
that. I repeat myself sometimes but I think only in the formula sense.
The clan I know recognize my songs, but don’t hear repeats.
I have too many songs unrecorded now that are nothing like one another...
It’s like The Songs Remains the same... What Treatment you put
to the song, The sound, the tempo, etc, many ways to change a song,
but still the melody and basis of the song remains" verse, melody,
chords." MUSE has inspired me in the way that I may go out as
a three piece, Due to the fact that I play piano, guitar, write and
sing… & could easily do these similar treatments, songs
I’m currently writing. Rather than take 5 people out on the
road to drama.
Metal Fanatix: You are a man with many talents. You
sing, write, produce, and play bass, guitar and the piano, if you
could only choose one of these things what one would it be & why?
Kelly Keeling: Acoustic 12 string Guitar, because
there are so many tunings you can use which makes it into that many
more instruments, and variations of the instrument. And you can always
transpose to any of the others. Hard to say, piano is very useful
when guitar loses its writing kick. I take my voice anywhere... basics...
If I had to choose ONE. It would be a mini tape recorder to sing ideas
Metal Fanatix: Over the years you have shared the
stage with so many great bands. Who have you enjoyed touring with
the most & could you share a funny road story with us from the
Kelly Keeling: By Far my time with George Lynch
was the best tour. We all got out of hand a bit because we were on
the road with no days off, I thought I couldn’t make it But
each night was better and better. George Got really innovative, new
pedals each night, echo plexes, pedals he would make. We would go
into these jams with Jeff Martin that I wish were recorded, I actually
remember one… We were all very delirious but it worked. Sometimes
we would do two shows in a night, in the same state, Brutal. We were
touring with Yngwie Malmsteen and many nights we won. Malmsteen and
band were so good we had to get it together quick,, You can’t
beat all the hits George has, and the audience was right there singing
every word each night.,. Yngwie didn’t have that, although he
was fantastic of course.
Metal Fanatix: What advice would you give to up and
coming rock/metal touring bands?
Kelly Keeling: No drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes,
straight edge, study, study, study, learn a form of communication
with a higher power, God, Jesus, Krishna, Whatever it is to keep you
focused, internal and musical. Listen to your heart, but it must be
clear enough to hear what it says. Hence, No drinking of spirits that
are not of you, or drugs of bad spirits. I think that’s clear
enough. I cannot stress enough. All the success stories now are all
without intoxication to a large extent. Even the metal bands and new
rock punk bands. Who are getting high is going DOWN. Seven habits
of highly successful people, one Sobriety. STUDY, Go on the road,
even if its bars, Write songs, Study, be innovative without being
too weird, consider that music is a tool to bring people together
and help people in distress or out of bad emotions. Write songs; be
of help on earth not of more chaos. Preaching over
Fanatix: There has been so many highlights in your career,
what would you say have been your greatest achievements to date?
Kelly Keeling: My son, Ahmet Ertigan signing me
at 22, my new album and the three others of extras I recorded during
it’s process. My life, family and friends.
Metal Fanatix: If you could put a band together consisting
of musicians passed and/or present who would they be and what would
you call the band?
Kelly Keeling: "SUN" Harrison, McCartney,
Lennon, Appice, Starr, Laine, Daltry, Dokken, Jon Lord, Kerry Livgren,
Robbie Steinhardt, Phil Spectors orchestra and horns, George Martin,
Elton John, Paul Scheaffer, Clapton, Townshend, Jaco Pastorius, (basically
the band McCartney had on the Back To The Egg album on the song "ROCKESTRA")
I’d call the band "SUN"
Metal Fanatix: Kelly thanks again for your time.
Do you have any last words for our readers?
Kelly Keeling: Love one another, keep the faith,
and believe in yourself
Be a peaceful conduit
Be sure to check out Kelly’s latest solo cd ‘Giving
Sight to the Eye’ available now in the U.S.A. where all great
metal albums are sold. Worldwide release date is set for April 23rd
Make sure you check out the following websites:
- Kelly’s official website
- Inside Out 666 Past Interview’s
- Dedicated to 40 years of Hard rock & Heavy Metal music
© Cameron Edney April 2005 Not to be re-printed in any form without