Darren Keen | Aperture Needle

Aperture Needle exposes what lies beneath artists’ skin. This week’s subject is Lincoln musician Darren Keen, whose projects include The Show is the Rainbow, High Art and many more.

EG: Remember how we met?

DK: No, but I was just talking with my fiancée about how the only question I am uncomfortable with people asking me is “do you remember me?” This interview is off to a terrible start.

EG: I agree.

EG: Describe your favorite sound — don’t say what it is, but describe it and let’s see if I can guess what it is.

DK: It sounds like something wet being stabbed over and over with something rubbery.

EG: Shoot, I got nothin’. 

EG: Dream line up, where would you want to play and for how many people?

DK: Well, I’ve never played one of those huge festival type shows, where there is just a sea of thousands of people. I’d like to do that sometime. If I could choose the spot, then I’d say somewhere next to a lake and a mountain in New Zealand, playing with Magma, Yip-Yip, UUVVWWZ and the Flaming Lips.

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EG: Who would be on your guest list?

DK: Pay the cover dude! No guest list. Check the article I wrote for HN called “Pay the Cover” if you’d like to understand my feelings on this subject way, way, way too in depth-wise.

EG: What is your most cherished moment? 

DK: Probably walking out of the Box Awesome after my first real conversation with my now fiancée, Lacey, and thinking, “holy shit, I just didn’t make an asshole out of myself in front of the hottest chick in the world. Fuck yeah!”

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EG: What was your first tattoo?

DK: The first Tattoo I got was my “Star Trek” Combadge tattoo. It is on my left breast, above my heart, where it would be worn were I lucky enough to actually be a member of Starfleet.

I wanted to get this tattoo because I grew up in a household where we watched a lot of “Star Trek,” and I think the show has defined so much of what I love about sci-fi.

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EG: How many others have you gotten and have you regretted any?

DK: I now have six tattoos in all. None of them have any color. I have the Combadge, a hydrogen atom (like Dr. Manhattan had on his head in The Watchmen Book), a black Rainbow, the logo for the record label TSITR was on a while ago, and my fiancée’s initials in scrabble letters.

I don’t regret any of them. They are all badges, and in addition to the face value meaning of all of them, they each remind me of a very special time and place in my life. The Retard Disco Record label, for example, I got while I was on tour opening for The Faint. It was a huge dream come true for me to get to tour with them, and the tat will always remind me of that for sure.

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EG: Would you or would you not be opposed to hosting a contest where the general public could choose your next tattoo. If you are good for it, what would be the stipulations?

DK: I don’t think I’d want to do that, because people think of me as this super zany dude, which I am, but I know that people would intentionally choose something that would look shitty, or just be funny to them.

I like having funny tattoos and all, but I think getting a “unicorn tramp stamp” just because some online community votes for me to is too close to a shitty episode of “Jackass: Midwest,” and I’m no Steve-o, that’s for sure.

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Keen plays as The Show is the Rainbow Saturday, Feb. 19 at The Waiting Room with Deerhoof, Ben Butler and Mousepad. “I will be playing the new The Show is the Rainbow album, Tickled Pink, in it’s entirety,” he says. “I have been working really hard, getting drums, bass, and guitar tracked on it.

“I’ll also have live visuals by Bryan Klopping at the show, and he’s da bomb, so it should be yet another show where I blow the venue a new asshole and a bunch of cranky hipsters pretend they aren’t having fun. Come stand up front!”

Suggest subjects for Aperture Needle by emailing eric.g.alfaro@gmail.com.