Interview – Keith Mina Caputo


This year, Keith Caputo made public of his decision of a gender change. It  was a topic more debated about than the music or the musician’s current ongoing tour with The Sad Eyed Ladies. My recent interview conducted after the concert at the back of Warsaw’s Progresja Club had no intention of discussing about this subject. The sole objective of this website are and will always be purely music and emotions. With due respect to the musician, I did not see any point in asking about her private life. It was a topic which arose naturally while talking about other issues, but it is not main subject of the interview. If I may add, in order to assist people who feel confused and perplexed towards Keith’s desicion, I do understand the shock, surprise or consternation it might have caused. But it is really very simple – Keith is gone. There is Mina. I spoke to a woman. I interviewed a musician whose feminity was in gestures, thoughts and feelings through her whole being. Most importantly, I experienced a conversation with a very sensitive, emotional and intelligent human being. Simple as that. Here is a recording of the interview:

Hello Mina. Thank you for your time and letting me talk to you. I’d like to start with question regarding beginnings of your solo career. Your first album “Died Laughing“ obviously was very different from everything you were doing with Life For Agony. You turned to more soft and delicate sounds, I would like to ask if there was a particular moment or period of time when you lost the feeling for heavy music?

I still listen to agressive music: Bad Brains, Sex Pistols, The Clash, Cro-Mags. Their “Age of Quarrel” is one of my all time favourite albums. In terms of LOA I left the band, because there was a lot of inner turmoil.

Between you as a group?

Between us as people and between the state of music back then: labels, management, lawyers, drugs, women, personal habbits. I was writing music since I was 15 years old and it had nothing to do with Life Of Agony. LOA was stuck in a genre and the music I grew up on is a complately different animal. I grew up on Dylan, Rolling Stones, Queen, Bowie, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, Blondie, Rod Steward, Miles Davis. I played classical piano, Beethoven, Chopin, Erik Satie, Rachmaninov. Originally I wanted to go to Juilliard [The Juilliard School], which is a classical music school in New York. I wanted to be a professional pianist. But I was young, I came from very old school Italian family that didn’t believe in music as a career, that it would take me around the world, make me a living. I didn’t have a mother and father at that time, I grew up with my grandparents and there was a big generation gap. My grandfather was like god forbid I played music, god forbid I do something I wanted to do. When I did “River Runs Red” [LOA‘s debut album] I was going to collage and I was still wondering what the hell I’m going to do with my life. I never really wanted to sing, I never considered myself a singer. I didn’t want to be in front of people. I didn’t want this game of fame and fortune. I didn’t want people to celebrate my celebrity or iconoclastic state. I didn’t want people to be looking up to me. That wasn’t me. I was very shy, I’m still very shy.

So was it difficult for you to deal with everything what happened after “River Runs Red” came out? That album was very special to many people.

Yes, because it was a different time, it was a special time. What we were doing back then, especially what I was doing vocally was extremely different from every other hard, metal, agressive-based outfit. The reason why LOA was so special was because of the lyrical content, the intelligence behind the band and the sound of the vocal. The sound of what my body produces and at the beginning, I didn’t know it could make this sound, you know. My sound of course changes over the time and you can’t repeat time. That was also part of the problem as to why I left. Once “River Runs Red”  came out there was a lot of preassure, because people had expectations of the band and the band’s sound. People wanted “River Runs Red 2″. Most people can’t grasp the concept of change, that the only thing constant in life is change.

So how did it feel when you got back together years later? At that time you already had quite successful solo career and I think comparing the environment of LOA then; the synergy between people and environment, and when you are working as a solo musician – they are two very different worlds.


How did you manage to switch between those two very different dimensions?

I’m a chameleon (smile). I can adapt to any situation.

Maybe there still was a part of you, that could connect to the LOA world.

More or less, yes. You know, it’s a different spirit and I don’t possess just one spirit. The spiritual world posseses me. That’s how I live my life. I believe, that I’m a spirit and we all are spirits experiencing the human experience, not humans experiencing the spiritual. We all live in this delicate, fleeting world and people don’t understand how sensitive life really is and how special the moment is. Everybody has access to this kind of feeling, but people close themselves off to that, because it’s confronting. It brings up fear. People don’t want to confront their fears. I am the complete opposite. I have gender issues. I want to confront it. I want to understand what the hell is going on inside of me. I need to reveal that to myslef.

Last question related with LOA. How do you recall your performance at last year’s Polish Woodstock, I mean not only the set, but the experince as a whole.

Well, it was overwhelming, but then just because I played in front of 500 000 people it didn’t impress me that much. Speaking of Polish audience, tonight was a strange night. Last two times I played in Warsaw it was at Hard Rock Cafe and it was totally sold out and we had a great time. So tonight coming to a club here, which I hear is far from the city center and seeing the small number of audience it was a bit of a let down, but in addition to that it was the vibe.

Tonight people didn’t react too enthusiastically. Did it feel cold to you?

It wasn’t cold. People react the way react and that’s fine, I’m used to it. But I felt that I was giving and giving and there was nothing back. I forgot lyrics tonight, call me an asshole, do something. So it wasn’t cold, it was a bit empty. The people are like the mirror, they reflect back on us, like the last night in Poznan.

How was it?

Amazing. There was about hundred kids in a small room, everyone was fucking drunk and singing every lyrics. It turned into this insane party. We travelled 9 hours from Dresden, because of the traffic so we didn’t arrived at the venue until 8 o’cock at night. Then we had get on stage without the soundcheck and start playing, because there was a curfew, but it was really great.

Ok, lets focus now on present occurings in your career. Your latest project – The Neptune Darlings is a project with your guitarist Ryan Oldcastle. You have been playing together for quite few years now so tell me how did the whole thing start. Did you feel you wanted to try something else, because TND is a different music from what you do on your solo albums.

It’s definitely different. Well, orginally we became obsessed with Eddie Vedder’s “Into the Wild”.

Oh, it’s such a great album.

Yes, we became obsessed about it around 2009. We bought the book, we read it a couple of times. [The album is a soundtrack to the movie, which is adaptation of the book based on a true story – more details here and here].

Did you see the movie?

Yes, of course. We saw the movie, we loved the soundtrack, we loved the songs, we loved how he recorded it. We had an idea to start a trip in New York, travel across the country, make an album together and at the very end of recording process end up in Alaska and mix it there. Unfortunatelly that idea never happened. Did you hear the song “Alaska” we did tonight?


So orginally the “Alaska” song, that I wrote was going to be on The Neptune Darlings album, but it didn’t make it. We wrote a whole bunch of stuff, lot of ambients works crossed with Lennon’s “Plastic Ono Band” or Zeppelin’s “Going to California”. We had that vibe and we wrote a lot of vibes like the Alaska song, but that one will probably end up on my new solo album. So that’s where it originated from.

I see. Speaking of “Into the wild”, what do you think about the whole story behind it?

Makes me want to do it. Makes me want to forget this materialistic, uncivilized, uncultured, blind world of what we’ve become as people.

You think there is undiscovered beauty into the silence of the nature?

I just think people lost touch of what it really means to exist.

As for existance, let me ask you about what I feel is its one of very important components. Your music, lyrics, your videos, like “Bleed for something beautiful” or “Got Monsters”, they are very intimate. What does the intimacy mean to you, how would you define it?

Compassion, romance, generosity, wisdom. Intimacy is like savouring,  love, the moment. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be love thing. I’m intimate about life. For example when I want to sit and write a song  the envoirnement has to be right, I got my candles burning. Intimacy is about softening, making life really cozy. I have a girlfriend. She’s Austrian and we love to kiss slow, take our time. Lay down before we go to sleep, go for it really slow, don’t really have ugly sex, but be more like a union, oneness, a sacredness. Sharing that moment, revealing the higher self with one another.

To me being intimate with somebody is feeling safe and free among the unlimited closeness.

Yes and bringing someone really really close to your heart, as close as you can with the limitations, that you have. It’s like tasting a drop of eternity.

Thank you for this answer. On to the next one, Frank Zappa..


You know the man, right (smile).

Mina: Sure, he loves Frankie (Mina pointed at her drummer Jochem van Rooijen, who has just entered the room). He just mentioned Frank Zappa.

Jochem: Oh really?

Yes, actually I’m going to quote him now. He said once “There are more love songs than anything else. If songs could make you do somehting we would all love each other. ” Now, you might disagree with the hint, that songs don’t make people do anything, I think they do, so I wanted to ask you what does your music do to people? Would you have any stories to share what kind of effect the emotions, that you transfer in your music have on people?

Well, I’ve had tons of people writing to me or telling me, that I’ve saved their lives, junkies saying they quit drugs because of me.

That was both when you’re in LOA and now during your solo carreer?

Yes. Now that I have pretty much come out as transgender I get a lot of these alpha-male men writing to me and telling me that they’re gay and they don’t tell it to their wives, that they cross-dress and like to be feminized. People are sharing so many different stories, their secrets with me.

Intimate secrets.

Yes, they’re sharing their secrets with me, that they don’t share with anybody else. Some woman mailed about her husband saying that he’s really her and he wants to come out, but he’s so afraid. They wanted to thank me for being so courageous, that I’m in public eye and that I don’t really care what people think. I get so much, you know. I’ve saved so many people’s lifes, I got so many people cleaned off a heroin. I don’t see it, I don’t realize it. Once in Denmark I had this man coming up to me with wet eyes and going  like: “You don’t realize what your music does to people, do you?”. I guess I don’t.

I think that’s the beauty of the music. You put your emotions out there and then people connect with them in their own way. They listen to songs, lyrics and adapt them to their own lives.

I never thought, that I would have that effect on people though. I grew up sitting in front of my speaker listening to Pink Floyd wondering how the hell did they make these sounds. “Wish you were here” [Pink Floyd album from 1975] – that was a big record in my life.  Zeppelin, oh my god, Rober Plant “Ramble on….sing my song…(Mina is humming „Ramble on“ chorus). So I never thought I’d have such effect. I’m innocent about life, you know. My inner child still exists. I still have dreams, that I haven’t fulifilled that I’d love to fulfiil. I don’t have any expectations, maybe I should, but I don’t know how to go about that in life.

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  1. danny Boy

    %A %B %e%q, %Y o godz. %I:%M %p

    Keith (takiego go znam) madry gosc, mozna sie z nim nie zgadzac co do preferencji ale trzeba szanowac to co mowi, LOA to to z czego sie wyroslo, poszedl inna droga – jego sprawa, dla mnie wazne jest to, co czuje jego sluchacz, tez to czujcie !


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