Kenny Kweens is a Los Angeles, California based heavy metal rocker. He's shared the stage with some big bands and recently directed and produced a video for his band, "Villians of Vaudeville" which became his solo project in 2008.
Kweens is best known for for his work as bassist for the hard rock band, "Beautiful Creatures" whom he was with for nine years. In 2009 he joined the band "LA Guns" replacing bassist Scott Griffin. But in 2011, Kweens and LA Guns parted ways and Griffin came back to the LA Guns line up.
Examiner spoke with Kenny via telephone about his latest release and possible upcoming Boston dates.
Examiner: You've toured a lot and have played the Boston area many times. What is your fondest memory playing in Boston?
Kweens: "Rockin' the Avalon! It was right outside of Fenway Park's big green monster where the Red Sox play baseball. And of course I am very fond of the fans of Boston. The rock-n-roll fan base in the Boston area has always been great. Here's a story that happened somewhere around that area, I'm not sure exactly where, but you have to understand when you tour and you party sometimes you don't know where you are exactly, but I do know it was up around there somewhere. Anyway, on tour after the show we would always have these wild disco parties on the bus. We would turn off the bus lights and turn on a disco ball, strobe lights and play 70's disco music really loud. Everyone would dance and drink and have a good time. Well things do get a bit loose at times especially when everyone is drinking. But understand we have rules on the bus and one is, no one is allowed into the bunk hall without assistance. But like I said, it's a party, everyone is feeling loose, having fun and all so a few girls made their way back in the bunk hall. Well that day I had my laundry done, so everything was folded on my bunk. I guess the girls wanted to take some souvenirs home, so they stole my underwear. Come to find out later one of the girls was a bit obsessed and had a shrine of me. Anyway, that may not be a fond memory, because the next day in New York City I had to go buy new underwear while also running around trying to do press because it was a media day, but it was an interesting experience and now I aways get underwear from fans."
Examiner: Tell me about your new music video "Black Heart Saints"?
Kweens: "This is the third video off the record and was the first video I actually had to direct, film and edit. The video kept getting derailed, so finally I took it into my own hands, bought a camera, some gear and finished it myself. We shot most of it down south. Some of it in Alabama, some of it in old cathedrals in New Orleans, Louisiana and Biloxi, Mississippi. It was really cool to take on and it was such a learning experience. My favorite part of the video is that my mother makes a cameo appearance with her witch-board. When I was a kid I used to fall asleep to the sounds of my mother's oracle scratching across her "Ouija" witch-board. When I first asked her to be in the video she declined, but later agreed. One of the reasons she said no at first was because she didn't want to fake it by pushing the oracle around the witch-board. What you see in the video is her in a deep spiritual trance. The other reason she was reluctant to be in the video was because my mother's hands are severely arthritic, so she felt ashamed. I love my mother and her hands. She's the greatest lady I know. I could not be more proud to say, my Mama is in my new music video!"
Examiner: Tell us about the new record?
Kweens: "It has been a different experience. This is the first project that I've ever been the lead singer in, well I don't really consider myself as a singer. My vocals sounds like I gargle with gasoline every morning, but it fits the vibe. It's a pretty heavy rockin' record. I would say it lands somewhere between hard rock and heavy metal. The Villains De Vaudeville record was produced by Tracy Swider (Hate Times Nine) a very good friend of mine and probably the best guitarist I know. We also had my ex-band mate from Beautiful Creatures, Glen Sobel who is now in Alice Cooper's band and plays drums. I wanted it to be heavy, but with great musicianship and it is. I guess you could say the songs are a fine collection of the madness that swirls around inside my pretty little head."
Examiner: How did you wind up in the music business?
Kweens: "The Devil made me do it."
Examiner: What has been the biggest WOW moment for you thus far in your career?
Kweens: "Well, I'm not WOWed very easily, but I have been fortunate to tour the world and share some really big stages with some great bands like KISS, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Linken Park to name a bunch, so on the surface that would be very WOWing.
Here's a pretty good WOW moment. When I first moved to Los Angeles, my first band in Hollywood was called Shake The Faith. Actually Tommy Thayer of KISS played guitar in the band, he was like an older brother to me and is a super great guy. Anyway that has nothing to do with the story really. Shake The Faith recorded a CD entitled "America The Violent" under Japanese record label Alpha/Burnet, a subsidiary of Electra Records. I was just a kid, so that was pretty cool. While we were in the studio recording the CD, we were looking at Playboy magazines and came across this photo of Ronald Reagan dressed in a cowboy outfit from his younger acting days. Hunter S. Thompson had taken the photo and shot it up with bullet holes, then put an American flag behind it representing an American hero through and through. We liked it so much, we contacted him to do our CD cover and he said, yes. So the CD cover artwork for "America The Violent" by Shake The Faith was by none other than Hunter S. Thompson. WOW!"
The band videos can be seen on You Tube and all tunes are available on iTunes.
Also follow on Twitter @VOVaudeville