Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

It's Peachy for Keene: Musician's Musician Tommy Keene Releases a New CD of Irresistible Pop. and as a Bonus, He Comes Out

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

It's Peachy for Keene: Musician's Musician Tommy Keene Releases a New CD of Irresistible Pop. and as a Bonus, He Comes Out

Article excerpt

Since that fateful day when Maryland native Tommy Keene stopped dating women and "jumped over to the other team," he has never hidden his homosexuality. In the early '80s, before he ever signed a big record deal, he regularly made the scene at Washington, D.C., cruise bars like Badlands and Lost & Found. Over the past two decades he's issued 10 albums--including his latest, Crashing the Ether (Eleven Thirty Records)--yet his personal life has gone oddly unmentioned.

"Nobody in the press ever just came out and asked, and everyone around me always knew," says the Los Angeles--based rocker with a shrug and a grin. "It's never been an issue.

"I was never flamboyant or eccentric--like Elton John--so I guess lot of people didn't think I was," he adds.

Since his Places That Are Gone topped the 1984 Village Voice EP of the Year music poll, critics have slavered over Keene's trademark mix of ornate '60s-style guitar pop (think Sgt. Pepper's, the Byrds) and rootsy alt-rock la vintage R.E.M. But even during his major-label tenure at Geffen Records, he never achieved the kind of breakout success that prompts nosy folks to peek between bedroom blinds. "It's only when you get to that upper echelon of celebrity that people want to know what you do," he demurs.

Of course, his handlers hardly encouraged him to shout about his love life from the rooftops either. "I remember an A&R guy at Geffen coming up to me, out of the blue, and saying, 'Now, Tommy, it's OK to be bisexual ... it's not OK to be homosexual. …

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