Dirtbag Featured Artist: KEONA LEE

Dirtbag Featured Artist: KEONA LEE

This young world traveler, martial-artist extraordinaire, ukulele-shredder, veteran VIP concert-goer and front-lady is an all-around DIRTBAG.

She tells us all about her rock-n’-roll past present and future.

How long have you been playing guitar? Do you remember your first performance?

I have been playing guitar since I was 11 so going on 7 years now. Well, the first time I played live was in a parking lot outside of the building I took lessons at a few months after I started playing. It was kind of like a student showcase. I ended up playing one song…Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses if I remember correctly. The first time I played on an *actual* stage was the following year at Pinstripe Studios where I played Wasted Years by Iron Maiden and Orion by Metallica.

What made you choose the guitar?

When I was little, I would watch my dad’s Motley Crue Greatest Video Hits DVD all the time and ever since I first saw Mick Mars shred, I told myself, “I want to be like him! I want to play like Mick!” My love for music just continued to grow and I looked up to more and more guitarists as the days went on and on. Eventually, I got my first 3/4 scale Squier Strat and began my adventure.

You’re like a world-champion judo master or something… tell us about that!

Hah, well I wish it was judo. I used to compete heavily in Taekwondo and was basically in a different state every weekend for tournaments. By the time I was 11, I had 1 world, 5 national, and 13 state titles in Taekwondo. After the world championships was when I started learning how to play the guitar and school picked up so I don’t have as much time to spend on the martial arts stuff as I’d like to.

You are always going to the best shows, and meeting the biggest rock stars… What’s been your favorite show ever, and your most memorable concert-going memory?

I’d say as of today, my favorite show has got to be when my dad and I went to see Metallica back in 2017. My dad managed to score snake pit passes for my 16th birthday and somehow persuaded me to make a “sweet 16 with Metallica” sign. Who needs a big party when Metallica is coming to town, right? Anyway, I showed it to Lars when James was talking and he asked me if I wanted to kick off Seek and Destroy, so naturally I said yes. I had dreamt of that happening for years and the fact that it actually did happen still blows my mind to this day. I didn’t let go of those drumsticks for about a week after. It’s gonna be hard to top that show when it comes to my list of favorites…but who knows. The future is wide open.

What’s in store for your band, KRYPTID?

We’re working on playing some more shows in the spring and summer…hopefully, they’ll be on a more regular basis. We’re also currently the house band at Jacked Up Brewery as well, and have been playing weekly and have been writing more songs for an upcoming album…so stay tuned!

You are just getting ready to finish high school… what will be your first move?

Yeah, it’s crazy to think there’s just about 2 months left. As far as I know, the summer is wide open so I’d love to play some more shows. After the summer is over, I’m definitely going to college. At the moment, I’m still waiting to hear back from other colleges, but I’m looking at going to Emerson in Boston to study entertainment business. I figured I have the performing and technical aspects, but not so much the business side. I hope it’ll help make me a well rounded artist so-to-speak.

If there was a signature KEONA LEE guitar, what would it be?

I think I’d want it to be a Dean Z explorer that’s metallic red kind of like mine. I would put the Fishman Fluence modern pickups with black speed knobs and black chrome Grover locking tuners. I’d also love for it to have a maple neck with a sculpted heel, 24 jumbo frets, rolled edges, and some kind of epic custom angry tiger inlay. I think that’d be super cool.

All music aside – what are some of your favorite snacks to eat?

Bacon can count as a snack…right? If it does, then yeah. Bacon. ALL the bacon. If I don’t have bacon, I love ramen noodles. Top ramen, legit ramen, you name it. I’ll eat it. Oh, yeah…and pomegranates…if I’m feeling healthy for once. 🙂

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