Michael Keene is the guitarist singer/all around mastermind of The Faceless. He is also a genuinely fun guy to chat with. I spoke with Keene last year and we discussed his in-the-works solo album and stand up comedy dreams. I decided to follow-up on those projects and managed to get Michael to open up about the next Faceless album, Adventure Time, his love of Nine Inch Nails and much more.
So actually, this is sort of a follow-up. We spoke one other time before over the phone and in that one I found out you wanted to start doing stand-up comedy.
Has there been any progress in your set?
Well, sort of. I expanded upon my routine a little bit.
You hitting open mics in LA?
Just one. There’s this bar right next to my old house that I was going to, that’s it. But it went over well. I might do it at some point, I don’t know.
How’s this tour been so far?
It’s been cool. It’s like, different.
Josh from Royal Thunder was saying the same thing. That this is the most diverse bill they’ve been a part of. The first time I saw you guys was with Lamb of God and The Sword. What was the strangest bill you’ve been a part of?
Um, probably this one, but it’s cool. It’s awesome. I like playing different bills. I’d rather do that than play with just death metal bands or something. I’d rather be diverse, it’s more fun.
You tweeted recently that there’s new music being teased, is that your solo album we talked about last time?
I actually do have some stuff done for that, but I’ve been just writing lots of music for lots of different things right now, and I’m going to kind of sort out what is what when I have enough material for something. There’s new Faceless stuff in the works, amongst other things there’s a Faceless cover album being worked on right now and that’s the things that’s the farthest along right now. I have three songs tracked for it so far. Hoping to get that out maybe early next year, maybe January or February. We’ll see, maybe sooner.
Who are some bands you guys are covering?
We got Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Killing Joke, Soundgarden, At The Gates, Megadeth.
A very diverse collection.
Yeah! David Bowie.
There’s a famous photo shoot where you’re wearing the NIN (Nine Inch Nails) shirt, are you stoked that Reznor decided to-
Oh yeah! That’s so awesome! And it’s so cool that Adrian Belew (former King Crimson) playing guitar for him.
Well, Robin Finck just got put back in so I don’t know who the hell is playing guitar. I know the bass player just dropped off.
Adrian Belew was announced in all the press releases which is crazy, like I would never expect that, but that’s awesome.
What did you think of How To Destroy Angels?
I like it, it’s cool. The vocals are just a little too clean for my taste. I always expect something more raw from Trent, but I do like it. It’s just a little cleaner than I expected, you know?
It kind of reminded me of The Slip sang by someone else, musically anyway. Do you ever respond to any sort of naysayers through Twitter or any review people?
Occasionally. Not very often, but every once in awhile.
What do they have to say to get you to respond? Not give any of the trolls hints.
Most the time, I brush stuff off but if there’s something that’s really unwarranted and unfounded and it’s just blatantly wrong, or have facts that have no grounds of reality, then sometimes I’ll fire back. Other than that, I don’t really care. I know a lot of people in bands, people in my band, are guilty of getting a little more hung up by things they read on the internet. I do not care, at all. At all! So, doesn’t bother me. I guess, really the biggest reason is that I don’t even bother reading the stuff. Like, what are you some kind of weirdo masochist? Why would you go read that shit?
Are you ever having a good day, and you just want to bring it down?
I also follow you on Instagram, where was that llama farm?
It was somewhere in like southeast Idaho. Like, before Twin Falls. We just randomly pulled off and were, “Oh weird! An alpaca!” You know what was really funny is, the guitarist of Born of Osiris commented on it, and he’s like, “Let me guess, you’re in Idaho!” And I realized that I had looked at their drummer Cameron’s Instagram and I remembered seeing a picture of an alpaca on his Instagram months ago, and just kind of forgot about it. They were at that same gas station.
I guess, it’s just a place to go for heavy metal bands.
We actually haven’t done a tour in a van in a bunch of years, but we’re in a van on this tour, and I forgot that doing a van tour, half of your tour is just being at gas stations and stuff. You see a lot of them.
Recently you also posted, what looked to be, the inside of a church. Was that a venue?
Yeah, that was a venue in Newport, Kentucky.
Was that an active church?
No, it’s called the South Gate House, and it was an active church for a long time and then apparently is sat dormant for fifteen years. Then this venue bought it and remodeled it and stuff, but it actually had incredible stained glass throughout the whole thing.
The pictures were actually pretty art. I don’t follow what’s in the art though. I was just thinking about if it was an active church, because aren’t you guys on that short list of Disney banned bands?
I was thinking, “This seems really strange for them.”
No, it’s not an active church. I don’t think we would even play in an active church as a troll.
I have also read that you’re a big fan of Adventure Time.
Yeah! Definitely! Love that show.
What’s a favorite episode?
My favorite one is probably the one where they make a movie with BMO. That episode is really good because there’s a cool song in it. I like the song towards the end. BMO sings this little song that’s really cool.
Through you and your Twitter followers, you could probably find your way on that show if you “at” the right person. Would you if you could?
Absolutely! You know what’s actually really interesting? It’s funny you mention that, because my girlfriend JUST called me today and told me that the creator of Regular Show, which is another show that I watch all the time, just started following her on Instagram. Kind of interesting.
That’s cool! Maybe work that out to your advantage, because, you know they have all sorts of people on there.
That would be awesome, I’d love to do that!
Follow Michael on Twitter and Instagram @keenemachine