An Interview with

'Kenny Kweens'

of 'Villains of Vaudeville' that took place in June 2013.

Interviewed by Glenn Milligan.

Glenn: How did the 'Villains of Vaudeville' come to be, where did the name come from and what made you decide to call it this?
Kenny: I had some song ideas laying around that I wanted to record, so I called a really good friend who is also a producer named Tracy Swider, to help me with them. Tracy had always pushed me to sing and do my own thing. Anyway, we started doing some demos and I think we recorded 3 or 4 songs. The songs came out well, so the thought of calling the project something and throwing it out there came to mind. I dreamed up the name Villains Of Vaudeville.
I've always liked the world of Vaudeville, that old time freak show stuff along with the burlesque and cabaret vibe.

I have also always liked masquerades being from the New Orleans area, so I thought, villains wear masks, 'Villains Of Vaudeville' has a nice ring to it and that was it. It had an old horror feel to it as well and brings to mind the old classic horror films or stars like 'Frankenstein' or 'The Munsters' or 'The Creature from the Black lagoon' or something. It also sounds like a gang and I like that aspect too. Something the fans can be a part of. Anyway, I really didn't even try to go any further coming with other names. I saw that no one owned the name 'Villains Of Vaudeville', so I jumped on it and that was that.

Glenn: What songs are you most pleased with so far from the 'Villains Of Vaudeville' and why?
Kenny: I don't want to come off sounding wrong, but I really like all of them. The goal was to make a record that we thought would be very strong with different elements, but still have a thread that stitched together a beautiful scar and I think that is just what we did. 'The Devil is Waiting' set the bar and will always have a special place in my dark heart, it was one of the first ones that we put together. I really like 'Motor Psycho' a lot. It has that motor-cycle rock thing I've always loved so much. 'Moon Shine Witch Lover' is a fun little number, I really liked how the verses came out with that one, they sound like a voodoo spell. 'Black Heart Saints' has my favorite guitar solo in it and is very anthem like. 'Dead Man's Masquerade' musically is pretty epic and the double meaning behind the lyrics are interesting. I can go on and on, I mean you asked.

Glenn: What has the reaction been so far to 'Villains Of Vaudeville' and what comparisons have been made to it so far?
Kenny: Reaction and comparisons? I don't know. I mean, we've gotten some good reviews and that's always nice, so as long as people like it, I guess that's good, if they don't and they have negative stuff to say, so be it, but I don't really care about all that to be honest. You have to understand going into anything artistic that not everyone will like everything I or anyone else does, that's just impossible. When creating anything you have to first do it for yourself. If you like it, then that's all that matters. Music is an art-form. You paint a picture with words and sounds. If this picture isn't your taste, there are plenty of artist out there for everyone, so go find the one that tickles your fancy. As far as comparisons, we are all influenced to do whatever it is we do. Something down the line made you want to interview people. You were influenced by something or someone to do so. You even may have some of their traits in your interviewing style. It's the same with music, football players or actors or whatever.

Glenn: Who and what influences you musically and in what way?
Kenny:I like a wide variety of music, so this is a hard question to answer. I like stuff from Norah Jones and Adelle, to Slipknot and Rob Zombie, to Nelly and Prince, to The Black Keys and Kings of Leon, to Johnny Cash and Dwight Yoakam to the great classic rock stuff like Alice Cooper, Motorhead and Judas Priest, and I'm sure in some way it all has influenced me one way or another. It's kinda like going on a musical journey and along the way you pick up things you like, sorta like trinkets or souvenirs and after a while your mind is furnished with reminders from your travels. I believe that happens with every influential case, not just music.

Glenn: Why did you decide to choose the song 'Is It My Body?' by Alice Cooper to cover and what set it apart from any other songs in his catalog you could have nailed?
Kenny: I didn't want to do anything too obvious. The first big hit for Alice Cooper as you know was 'Eighteen'. Well what you may not know is that the B-side to that record was "Is it My Body?", so that was the one we picked to do. I also like the sex appeal it has. It was a fun song to record and it was important for us to pay homage to the King of Shock Rock.

Glenn: What bands would you like to see V.O.V. tour with?
Kenny: Well, I really like and am proud to be in the genre that we are in. I am a fan of all things rock or metal or goth obviously, so any band from this genre would be cool. I view other bands in this genre as our comrades and not as our competition. I see it as we are allies and we are carrying the flag together. It seems more and more of that sort of thing is happening and it's cool.

Glenn: How do you stay motivated on your path with regard to life and music or even spiritually versus any obstacles that get in your way?
Kenny: I think as far as music goes, you have to view it more as I said before, as an art-form. An artist will always paint or draw what they feel and see inside them-self whether or not anyone likes or buys their art, they will still continue to paint or draw, because it's inside them to do and they love it. The same goes for music and a musician. You are expressing yourself from within and it's important to continue do that if the desire is inside you to do. So the motivation should already be there, if it's not, then don't do it. There will be obstacles along the way, but if your desire is strong enough, it will push you through the obstacles.


Glenn: Where did the ideas for the video for 'The Devil Is Waiting' come from? What influenced the vibe of it as it works so well with the religious imagery, sepia contrast?
Kenny: It came from the inside of my dirty sinful mind. When I write lyrics I can see visions and colors, so when we do videos I try to make that come to life. James Disspain directed, filmed and edited that video and I think he did an awesome job capturing the vision. We seem to be on the same page from day one. He is now working on a upcoming video for us for 'Black Heart Saints'. Speaking of videos, we just released a new one for 'Demolition Baby'. It was directed by Sean Reed, filmed by Colin Pregent and Sean, and edited by Sean and myself. It was a real fun video to make. Very campy and cheeky. We went for that old 60's kinda sexploitation film vibe, with sex-bot girls in Betty Page style dominatrix outfits.

Glenn: What was it like for you making your videos and what was going on sub-consciously or even consciously in your mind while you were making them?
Kenny: With the new one, 'Demolition Baby', I was thinking, "wow these girls are really hot!" Anytime you have a bunch of attractive girls dressed up in dominatrix outfits spanking each other, you're in for a good time. With 'The Devil Is Waiting' video, I think I had just as much fun or maybe even more fun, behind the scenes helping with lighting or whatever. I love to learn something new and I really enjoy being creative, so I would like to pursue either editing videos or being apart of making them in some way for other artists. I believe especially with this project, that you can bring your message across a lot more clear with a video, than you can by even playing live.

Glenn: What is the main message you are conveying in your songs and video imagery that reflects you on a more personal level since all the lyrical ideas come from your good self?
Kenny: I don't have one main message. That would be boring. I write about experiences that have either happened to me or I have witnessed or questions I may have. I think that is what most songwriters do.

Glen: What is the point you are trying to get across in the videos since they are very dark and sinister with almost a dominating ambiance to them? Is this like a code for something in your life and if so what?
Kenny: That may be a better question geared to my therapist. I'm sure if you dig far enough in this blackened mind you may find something, but I think it is what it is. Some people look at pretty flowers and they smile, some look into the devil's eyes and they smile. To each it's own.

Glenn: How was the record release party for the album and what stands out from it?
Kenny: Getting really drunk stands out the most. I'd like to thank everyone for all the drinks all night long. It was a very fun night. It's always fun to celebrate something you've put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into with your friends, family and fans. I was really surprised that a lot of friends I've known for years, but hadn't seen in a long time showed up and I'd like to take this time to thank them all. That was a really fun night.

Glenn: How was it for you getting Glen Sobel to play drums on the album and how did that come to be?
Kenny: Glen is the best drummer I know. So when we were putting this together, he was at the top of the list to bring in. His style fits perfect. He came into the studio and knocked all the songs out of the park in one day. He is such a pro.

Glenn: Was it kinda like going back to the 'Beautiful Creatures' days for you and Glen almost or what is kinda moved on and different for you guys since that band happened a few years ago?
Kenny: Nah, me and Glen have always stayed in touch and are really good friends and truly care about each other, so it just felt like my friend Glen was coming in to do his thing. Glen is one of the good guys in the music biz, but he will always be a villain as well.

Glenn: What are the immediate and long term future plans of your good self and also 'Villains Of Vaudeville' in general?
Kenny: Well time will tell. I mean, I could die tomorrow, but if I do, I've left a kick ass record behind.

Glenn: How would you say you changed over the years since you first got into the music business?
Kenny: I hope I've gotten wiser.

Glenn: What things would surprise fans about you that they don't so far know about?
Kenny: Probably that I am a big NFL (pro football) fan. My favorite team are the New Orleans Saints. I really like using that as my escape vehicle.

Glenn: Do you have any pets and if so, are you cool to tell us about them?
I do. I have a dog that I rescued 7 years ago, her name is Starla. She's my chick magnet. She is the coolest dog in the world, cooler than Snoopy. She's my buddy.

Glenn: What do you like and also dislike about Hollywood & Los Angeles, California overall and why?
Kenny: I like it here. I like that there is always something exciting to do. I like that if I want or need anything, I can usually find it here. The weather is always nice. I've been all over and it beats out every place else I've been to in my mind, so besides the earthquakes, the smog, the mudslides, the fires, the drive by shootings and the occasional riots, it's awesome!

Glenn: What do you like to do when your aren't involved in music and why?
Kenny: Anything creative is always good for me. I like to paint or customize clothes or even going to see things that are creative like art shows or burlesque shows or costume parties or whatever. There are a lot of cool parties out here in Hollywood, like masquerade or costume parties and there are cool clubs like 'Bar Sinister', 'Medusa (The Batcave)', 'The V Society' and others that have different themed nights, so there is always something going on out here. It's actually hard to keep up. Sometimes I like going to dance clubs or somewhere that I don't really belong, just to experience it.

Glenn: Who styles your hair as it looks so good and how did you find this particular stylist?
Kenny: Kim Ochoa at Capella Salon over on Ventura Blvd in North Hollywood, CA. I can't remember exactly how we met, but she has been doing my hair since I came to L.A.

Glenn: What could you see yourself doing if you didn't have a music career?
Kenny: Anything. I don't think of myself as some one track minded, uneducated rocker. I have interests in so many things and love learning new crafts.

Glenn: What would you like to say to the fans and Metalliville Readership Worldwide who have been reading this interview?
Kenny: Hello Metalliville - Welcome to Vaudeville.

Big thanks to Kenny and also my good friend in Hollywood California, Amy Rae Yard for some excellent input.