Guitar god Tommy Keene performs Thursday at The Bowery Electric.
Maybe Tommy Keene has discovered the Fountain of Youth.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. He’s aged. He’s not the skinny kid guitar-slinger he was when he exploded out of Maryland and onto the rock scene in 1982 with his debut album, Strange Alliance.
He’s earned every line on his 57-year-old face. But his voice, searing guitar playing, and songwriting still have all the energy and feel of his younger self.
Whatever he’s doing is really working for him, so he should keep on doing it.
Keene’s new album, Laugh in the Dark, which dropped Sept. 4 on Second Motion Records, ranks with the best work he’s ever done.
You can hear the new material live when he plays The Bowery Electric in New York City this Thursday.
Timing really is everything. If Tommy Keene’s new album had been ready just two months sooner, he would have been touring in July.
And if Keene — one of the iconic guitarist and shockingly overlooked songwriters of ‘80s indie rock — had been touring in July, he surely would have been on the schedule to play at Maxwell’s during the Hoboken music club’s final days.
“It’s too bad my tour was a little later, or I might have tried to get on one of those last shows. We played there [Maxwell’s] quite a bit,” Keene told Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? recently by phone.
“I used to read the New York Rocker in the early ‘80s, like ‘81, and I used to read all about this place. And it seemed like this secret, special, VIP kind of place that people would go to,” he recalled.
It’s too bad, because the classic Keene-penned tune “Places That Are Gone” would have been a fitting tribute to the final days of Maxwell’s.