I can still hear Keith's laugh in my mind. He was an artist intellectual with cajones. He possessed an affable, approachable, easy, if complex, aura. He was opinionated, but not a bull. Even as he fraternized with the Alt-Right he managed to have civil conversations with BLM activists. That was Keith's character. He didn't come at you with anger or hostility. Still, he wouldn't shy away from a debate nor expressing an unpopular opinion. He'd let you talk. But more importantly, he would listen and acknowledge your point of view. The maturity to tolerate opposing viewpoints is a sorely missed quality 21 years into the 21st Century. It's absence from social media, from biased news coverage and from deaf-eared politicians is obvious. The truth is, there are a lot more tolerant Americans than there are extremists. Most of us can find common ground, if we try. In his life, Mr. Lee's politics swung from the far left to the far right and was heading back towards the center before his death in the Spring of 2020. Atlanta police ruled his death a suicide. Details surrounding his death remain ambiguous. He was no stranger to controversy, nor chemicals.
Keith was an American. A Southerner. A writer. A musician. A visual artist. A podcast and radio personality. A reality TV participant currently seen on Netflix. A complex organism. A friend.
A posthumous reflection on Keith E Lee's music, art, writings, reality TV role and time as a co-host on a controversial podcast. Also included here are the intriguing Lee's Brigade 91.1 FM WREK Sunday Specials with his ex and longtime spouse, Lynn Lee.
Pen work and comics are featured in the Art section. The pen works begin with an Americana nostalgia, touch on punk and politics, then end in portraiture of friends. Keith worked in other mediums, as well. You'll find an example of one of his lightboxes at the bottom of the section.
Lifelong love of music. Keith immersed himself. He became a music scholar and a really good guitar player. I was happy to be his student as he would describe an obscure artist, a recording session, historical influences and the influence they would go on to have. He spoke to me about Scott Walker, Joanna Newsom, Captain Beefheart, The Residents, Brian Eno, Brian Cook, Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys. He was known locally as the guitarist for King Kill 33°, a cinematic subversive artrock outfit from Atlanta. He went on to play for The Hookers, Snatch, Bride Stripped Bare, Liars Club, and Envie. He performed and recorded with Vanessa Silberman, Met Her at a Murder Trial. He also did numerous solo performances. He joined BOB for several live performances and some studio work circa 1994 - 5.
91.1 FM WREK is Georgia Tech's diverse format student run radio station in operation since the late 1960s. As Lee's Brigade, DJs Keith and Lynn Lee would prepare an informative slice of music history or a dive into individual artists for these eminently enjoyable 2-hour programs. Chris Campbell, a long time WREK veteran, assisted the Lees in airing radio at it's finest. Lee's Brigade shows were aired 2003 - 2013. Use the buttons below to listen to Lee's Brigade presented in 30 minute blocks. Thanks to Chris all 6 specials are available here.
Below, you'll find a number of Keith's published articles about familiar topics and music. You'll find that his writing is competent, economical and clear. It reveals an open-minded evolving political consciousness. In the conversations I was privileged to have with him, even when he wasn't sober, he managed a formidable clarity of thought, mostly.
Keith filled the role of White Nationalist for the 5th episode titled "Outside the Box" on the Netflix reality TV show Trigger Warning with Killer Mike. The "super group" that Mike assembled included a diverse mix of performers. The objective was for each to write a rap to be critiqued by the others for approval. Surprisingly, they allowed Keith to keep the words 'white nigger' in his rap. Moreover, when they performed the song at The Georgia Theatre in Athens, the generally unenthusiastic crowd were rendered utterly silent as the song ended with Keith's words. Punk as phuk. He'd have made Johnny Rotten proud. He later described the overall experience in positive terms, though the director edited out content so as to make Keith appear more extreme than he really was. We don't get to see much of the discussion that ensued between Keith, the BLM activist and the gay activist. Keith explained that his use of the N-word was not directed outward, but at himself to represent his white redneck upbringing. A pity we couldn't see more. Those of us who knew him knew that Keith was far more nuanced in his thinking than a reality TV show with time constraints would permit.
"Jim Goad - Group Hug Podcast" features Keith as a sidekick from episodes 3 - 45. During episode 15 about Portland, Oregon, Keith was in an altered mind state. Goad was not amused. Episode 35: a condemnation of the Beatles' social influence is peppered with commentary about transgender, Jews, blacks, whites and Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan. At one point, Goad wishes he could bring the two dead Beatles back to life so he could kill them again. Was the show politically incorrect? Naturally. Once Goad added a new co-host he succeeded in driving Mr. Lee out. I think Goad was bothered by the fact that Keith was, after all, a Beatles fan. Here's the link where you can be offended: Jim Goad.net.
Keith played guitar and sometimes
sang in these hair BANDS.
Combining disorienting visuals, conspiracy mumbo-jumbo, and tautly-wound electric/eccentric rock, King-Kill/33° was absolutely one of the most exciting and intriguing groups of the Atlanta indie rock scene peak of the early '90s. Forming in the summer of 1990 in the "King-Kill house", (the band) took it's name from a James Shelby Downard essay published by Adam Parfrey in his book Apocalypse Culture. "The essay is about the Kennedy assassination" bassist Donna Smith explained in an interview with Mouth magazine shortly after the group's formation. "It has a lot of numerological and Masonic symbolism. King-Kill/33° was a plot to kill the divine king, which was seen as the only Catholic and non-Mason President in some time," to which vocalist Mitch Foy, who suggested the name added, "The essays are fascinating, there's plenty of mind food in it, but it's not something we promote. We're not anti-Mason, we're not pro-Mason. It's a starting point to play around with."
King-Kill/33° released a handful of singles and compilation appearances in their three years, but they truthfully had to be experienced live to be fully appreciated. More effectively than any other local group at the time, and usually more effectively than any visual-oriented group anywhere, King-Kill utilized an armory of films, slides, strobes, transparencies, and other sorts of visual overload, projected against and behind them as they played. Add to this Foy's affinity for provoking performance art and costumes (his most memorable outfit involved crude stilts made from "blocks of wood two feet high, with some old sneakers bolted into the top of 'em", on which he would teeter above the crowd and his band mates), and King-Kill/33° was an act not soon forgotten.
Jeff Clark - Stomp and Stammer
Learn more about King Kill at Beyond Failure blogspot and .
Keith on guitar. Thys McGoran vocals. Jeff on drums.
Found this image online. Looking for a bio, links to music and photos for this band.
Keith co-wrote all of Snatch's 2nd cd Cornbread & Alister Meowly, sang on a couple of songs and drew the back cover art.
He was a full member (pun intended) of Snatch. He also toured with us to the west coast.
Here's a Snatch 7" single called 666 put out by Atlanta record label Worrybird Records in 1992, owned by David T Lindsay. Keith did not play on 666.
Together with Czech Mike's self-abuse performance art, bloody good, Ray Surinck, et al.
Looking for links to recordings, images, write-ups, video, etc.
Singer and songwriter. Lynn Lee handled video during live performance. Laurie G-force on bass... Donna Smith sang, too.
Liar's Club music posted by Keith on his YouTube channel.
Keith joined BOB for live gigs in 94 and 95 to play on "Animal Speak". It was a song that began with structure for a few minutes before breaking into an extended improv. For the studio version of the song recorded at Bakos Amp Works "Home of the Ponce Sound", Keith brought an assortment of guitar effects as well as a metal fan. "Rounded At The Free End" was BOB's follow up album to "Complex Organism Blues". Hear all 7 tracks that comprised the studio version of "Animal Speak" with Mr. Lee.
Renee Nelson was the vocalist and main songwriter. Michael Overstreet wrote the lyrics. Keith played guitar. Sean Moore on drums. Rich Hudson played bass. There were previous members and others that followed. Check with Renee to see if she might have a recording.
I love how Keith E Lee describes modern musical annihilation through illustration: the modern attachment to the past which we breathe every day; the extreme conviction of some, that nothing good exists today and nothing good will happen in the future. Is this not a story we've already heard? The deliberate classification, demonization and ultimately, the derision of new musical expressions? The nostalgic never die. His use of comic, black and white, text and image criticizes this situation in a calm and veiled manner. He presents humor, satire and sarcasm in a non-convective and modern style. Keith E Lee‘s illustrations have the effect of a bullet exploded at close range. - August 2, 2017 Felix Lombardo at rrrabitblog.com
Hover/ touch an image to see it's title. Hover/ touch outside to return to the image. All works are pen & ink on paper.
Published articles by Keith E Lee appeared in Stomp N Stammer and medium.com. Touch or click the icon below the title to read the article.
If you have Keith E Lee information, insight, or memorabilia that you want to share including writings, art, music, video and podcasts, please contact me.