DAVE KEUNING of The Killers Fame Opens Up About His Debut Solo Album, “Prismism,” Coming Out Tomorrow and Much More!
The name David Keuning should sound familiar to you because since 2001, he has been the lead guitarist for The Killers and has recorded 4 studio albums with the group.
However since mid-2017, Keuning has taken a hiatus from the band to spend time creating and releasing his own solo material. In fact, tomorrow the musician will be releasing his debut solo album, “Prismism” via Thirty Tigers/RED Music. This is the first collection of music created by Keuning in his San Diego home studio. It was taken from hundreds of voice memos that he stockpiled while on tour with The Killers over the last decade that evolved into songs. “Restless Legs” is the name of the first single out now.
“The lyrics speak for themselves,” Dave says of the first single. “’Got restless legs/And a restless heart,’ that’s just what came pouring out of me. It was all I could think of… No other subjects came to mind. It was all I had. The beauty of the words is they’re open-ended enough that you can relate them to your own situation.”
Learn more about David Keuning in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
I WILL FINISH CHECKING EMAILS FIRST. EVER SINCE I STARTED PROMOTING THIS NEW ALBUM I HAVE HAD TO CHECK EMAILS MORE FREQUENTLY AND TRY AND RESEMBLE A RESPONSIBLE ADULT. OTHER YEARS I WOULD AVOID MY EMAILS AND I WOULD ONLY CHECK MY PHONE FOR TEXTS MAYBE ONCE OR TWICE A DAY, WHICH BY TODAY’S STANDARDS IS LIKE LIVING OFF THE GRID. AFTER I FINISH RESPONDING TO EVERYBODY I WILL TRY AND PRACTICE MY SET FOR MY SHOWS COMING UP. IT WILL BE JUST ME IN THE BASEMENT, THE HARDEST THING FOR ME IS MEMORIZING ALL THE LYRICS. I FINALLY HAVE MY OWN SONGS MEMORIZED BUT I AM DOING A FEW COVERS TOO THAT NEED WORK. I HATE FORGETTING LINES LIVE. THERE IS A WAY TO MUMBLE YOUR WAY THROUGH IT, BUT THESE ARE THINGS AS BEING A SINGER AND FRONT-MAN FOR THE FIRST TIME I AM LEARNING HOW TO DEAL WITH. ALL I HAD TO DO IN THE KILLERS WAS PRACTICE MY GUITAR PARTS TO THE SONGS ABOUT A DOZEN TIMES UNTIL MY FINGERS REMEMBERED THE PARTS FOR ME. I WOULD USUALLY PRACTICE TO THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL LIVE DVD BECAUSE THE SONGS HAVE EVOLVED LIVE OVER THE YEARS AND THE TEMPOS ARE A LOT FASTER THAN THE ALBUM VERSIONS. I USUALLY GET DISTRACTED DURING PRACTICE AND START WRITING NEW IDEAS SO IT’S EASIER SAID THAN DONE TO JUST BURN THROUGH THE SET LIST. AFTER THAT I WILL CATCH UP ON LAUNDRY AND PACK FOR ENGLAND, I FLY TOMORROW. I ALWAYS MAKE IT A RULE TO NEVER EVER PACK THE DAY YOU LEAVE OR YOU WILL BE RUNNING AROUND DOING LAST MINUTE THINGS YOU FORGOT ABOUT. IT ALWAYS TAKES LONGER THAN YOU THINK. HOPEFULLY THERE IS TIME TO WATCH AN EPISODE OF START TREK IN THERE SOMEWHERE. I AM WATCHING ALL OF THE CLASSIC EPISODES ON BLU-RAY FOR THE FIRST TIME. I ALSO REALLY LIKE THE NEW SHOW STAR TREK DISCOVERY HOWEVER I HATE THE NEW KLINGONS, I GUESS THE NEW SHOW CREATORS DECIDED TO RE-IMAGINE THEM?? DUMB. THE (NEXT GENERATION) KLINGONS ARE THE WAY THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE. AFTER WATCHING A COUPLE EPISODES OF THAT I ACTUALLY HAVE AN INTERVIEW TONIGHT AT 1:00 AM FOR SOMEONE IN THE UK. THEN I WILL SLEEP.
So how did 2018 treat you? What was one musical goal that you had for the year? Did you reach it?
THIS HAS BEEN A VERY FUN YEAR FOR ME, BUT IT HAS ALSO BEEN A LITTLE MORE WORK THAN I THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE. I AM HAPPY I TO SAY I ACHIEVED MY GOALS. I FINISHED MY FIRST ALBUM WHICH COMES OUT JAN. 25TH, AND I PLAYED MY FIRST EVER SHOW ON VOCALS. I WAS NERVOUS AT FIRST BUT GOT THROUGH IT.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be a musician? Could you see yourself doing anything else today?
WHEN I WAS A KID, MICHAEL JACKSON WAS MY FIRST LOVE FOR MUSIC BEFORE I HAD AN INSTRUMENT. THAN I DISCOVERED BANDS LIKE AC/DC, MOTLEY CRUE, AND AEROSMITH. THOSE BANDS MADE WANT TO GET A GUITAR. EVER SINCE THAT DAY I THINK HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN THAT THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO. I PRACTICED FOR SEVERAL HOURS IN MY ROOM AND JUST DAYDREAMED ABOUT BEING ON STAGE. I WAS CREATING SONGS ON CASSETTE RECORDER BEFORE I EVEN PLAYED GUITAR, JUST STUPID LITTLE SONGS ABOUT PEOPLE I DIDN’T LIKE AT SCHOOL WHEN I WAS 10 YEARS OLD. I WILL ALWAYS WANT TO MAKE MUSIC IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. WITH A BAND OR BY MYSELF.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound you create and who you are as an artist?
WELL I AM NOT SURE REALLY, WHEN I THINK BACK THERE WAS NO INTERNET AND MY HOUSEHOLD DID NOT HAVE CABLE TV THEREFORE NO MTV. SO MY METHOD OF DISCOVERY WAS EITHER BY IOWA RADIO STATIONS OR THE METAL EDGE MAGAZINES I WOULD BUY AT THE GAS STATION. I TOOK SEVERAL CHANCES BUYING CASSETTE TAPES OF BANDS THAT I KNEW LITTLE ABOUT. THRILLER WAS MY FIRST TAPE, BILLY JOEL INNOCENT MAN WAS MY 2ND TAPE I EVER BOUGHT. MY METAL ROOTS WOULD COME A COUPLE YEARS LATER. I WISH I HAD KNOWN MORE ABOUT THE ENGLISH BANDS LIKE SMITHS OR JOY DIVISION AT THE TIME BUT I RARELY CAME BY THOSE BANDS UNTIL I WENT OFF TO COLLEGE AND HUNG OUT AT RECORD STORES. I MISS RECORD STORES, I MISS THE AMBIENCE AND THE POSTERS AND ALL THE PLACES I WENT TO HAD SOME SMART-ASS GUY WORKING THE COUNTER WHO WOULD JUDGE AND MOCK YOU WHEN YOU WENT IN TO SELL YOUR FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS CD YOU BOUGHT A MONTH AGO. I MISS IT.
How long have you been wanting to work on your own solo material? What ultimately convinced you to go ahead and do it? Was it hard to break away from The Killers and do this?
I HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT IT FOR A LONG TIME. I STOPPED TOURING WITH THE KILLERS AFTER LOLLAPALOOZA IN AUGUST OF 2017. SO AFTER THAT I ACTUALLY HAD TIME TO ACTUALLY GET TO WORK AND DO MORE THAN JUST THINK ABOUT A SOLO PROJECT AND WONDER WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE. I WAS PERFECTLY FINE BEING THE GUITARIST OF THE BAND. BUT THIS WAS ALSO THE ONLY WAY I COULD SEE THAT THESE SONGS WOULD GET FINISHED AND SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY. I HAVE CONTROL AND IT ALLOWS ME TO MAKE MY OWN SCHEDULE.
Did anything surprise you about the overall process of putting together your album, “Prismism”? Was it harder or easier then you thought it would be?
I HAD NEVER WRITTEN LYRICS TO AN ENTIRE SONG BEFORE SO THAT WAS A LOT OF WORK AND I WOULD NEVER CLAIM TO BE A GREAT POET SO IT WAS CHALLENGING FOR ME. MOST OF THE RECORDING WENT SMOOTHLY THOUGH, THEY WERE NO BAND MEMBERS TO ARGUE WITH BUT THERE WERE ALSO NO BAND MEMBERS TO BOUNCE IDEAS OFF OF OR GIVE YOU REASSURANCE THAT WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS GOOD. SO YOU KNOW, PROS AND CONS.
What is the inspiration behind the songs on this album? Specifically, how did your singles “Restless Legs” and “Prismism” come together?
RESTLESS LEGS WAS A SONG THAT WAS ONE OF THE LAST SONGS WRITTEN FOR THE RECORD. I JUST WENT IN THE STUDIO AND DECIDED I WOULD TRY AND WRITE A POP SONG THAT DAY. I STARTED MESSING AROUND WITH MY KEYBOARDS AND STUMBLED ON TO SOME COOL SOUNDS THAT BASICALLY GAVE BIRTH TO THE SONG. I WROTE THE LYRICS VERY QUICKLY FOR THAT ONE. PRISMISM WAS ALSO STARTED WITH A KEYBOARD IDEA AND IS THE ONLY SONG ON THE RECORD THAT IS ALL KEYBOARDS AND NO GUITARS. BUT IT IS A LOT OF MY FRIENDS FAVORITE OFF THE RECORD. IT IS MY MOST EXPERIMENTAL SONG ON THE RECORD. IT WAS GOING TO BE MUCH LONGER ORIGINALLY BUT I TRIMMED IT HERE AND THERE.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
IT’S A CLOSE ONE BUT I AM MOST HAPPY PLAYING LIVE. LIVE IS THE PAYOFF FOR WORKING HARD IN THE STUDIO AND THEN FINALLY SHOWING YOUR FINISHED SONG TO PEOPLE, WHICH HOPEFULLY IS A FUN EXPERIENCE WHEN IT FINALLY HAPPENS. THERE IS ALSO AN EXTREME JOY IN THE STUDIO WHEN YOU ARE SEEING YOUR SONG THAT WAS JUST AN IDEA NOT LONG BEFORE IN RAW FORM FINALLY SPRING TO LIFE AND YOU ARE HEARING THE TRANSFORMATION FOR THE FIRST TIME.
How have your recent shows been going? Do you have more touring plans scheduled for the rest of this winter?
THE SHOWS HAVE BEEN GOING GREAT. THE FIRST ONE WAS THE HARDEST BUT LIVE SHOWS ARE THE BEST WAY TO PRACTICE SO EVERY SHOW AFTER HAS FELT BETTER AND BETTER. I AM PLANNING TO TOUR NEXT YEAR FOR SURE AND PLAY AS MUCH AS I CAN AT HOME IN SAN DIEGO AS WELL.
(TOUR DATES WERE JUST ANNOUNCED) YOU CAN FIND THEM ON MY WEBSITE: WWW.KEUNINGMUSIC.COM
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you think being a musician still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
IT IS ABSOLUTELY A DISTRACTION FOR ME, I TURN TO MUSIC TO AVOID THINKING ABOUT ALL THE TERRIBLE THINGS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD. WHEN I TURN ON THE NEWS I NEVER LIKE WHAT I SEE OR HEAR. I HEAR THINGS I DON’T EVEN WANT TO HEAR ABOUT. I DON’T WANT TO GO TOO FAR INTO POLITICS BUT I WOULD PREFER MIKE PENCE TO THE CURRENT DUDE WHO WON’T SHUT UP. AS A KID IN THE 80’S I WOULD HAVE NEVER IMAGINED A PRESIDENT SAYING THE THINGS HE TWEETS OUT DAILY FROM THE TOILET.
What musicians would you love to work with in the future? What artists have really been inspiring you and your music since day 1?
IF I HAD A WISH LIST I WISH I COULD HAVE WORKED WITH FREDDIE MERCURY. QUEEN WAS A BIG INSPIRATION FOR ME FAN AND HIS VOICE WOULD SOUND A LOT BETTER THAN MINE ON MY SONGS THAT’S FOR SURE. BUT IF I CAN’T HAVE THAT I WOULD LOVE TO MEET BRIAN MAY SOMEDAY AND LET HIM SOLO ON SOMETHING OR BETTER YET A DUAL HARMONIZED SOLO, THAT WOULD BE FUN.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
MY MESSAGE IS SIMPLE: I AM JUST TRYING TO HAVE AS MUCH FUN I CAN BEFORE I DIE AND MAKE AS MUCH MUSIC I CAN. LIFE IS SHORT AND I AM NOT GETTING ANY YOUNGER. PEOPLE SHOULDN’T OVERTHINK MY MOTIVATIONS FOR MY ALBUM OR ANYTHING ELSE.