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The Faceless: Justin McKinney Says Michael Keene Ripped off the Zenith Passage, Has “a Long Path Ahead of Him to Recovery”

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It’s no secret the most recent mass exodus of musicians from The Faceless occurred under shitty circumstances. I mean, when every member of a band save for one quits simultaneously, it doesn’t usually make people think, “Huh, that sole remaining person must be really fun to work with.” But in this specific instance, there can be no doubt that things ended on bad terms, because Michael Keene, founder and lone consistent member of The Faceless, has already publicly beefed with now-former guitarist Justin McKinney. Speaking about his former bandmates, Keene told fans, “if you knew the events that transpired and the betrayal and disrespect I’ve received in the past few months, your jaw would hit the floor.” McKinney, in turn, accused Keene of “shifting the blame,” alleging that Keene was “stealing money from the band [and] stealing money from fans” as a result of his ongoing addiction to heroin.

McKinney reiterates his stance in a new interview with the podcast Casting Metal (get it?), which is hosted by Fallujah touring vocalist Monte Barnard. The interview was really meant to be about McKinney’s main musical squeeze, The Zenith Passage, but inevitably, the discussion turned to the Keene drama. After Barnard revealed that he was “approached” about possibly being in The Faceless (and strongly implies that he passed), McKinney cracked, “I think everyone was approached.” He then called The Faceless a “shitshow” before continuing:

“It’s unfortunate the way that thing went. But the guy’s got a long path ahead of him to recovery. I do wish him the best, even though I’m still salty about the way we were treated. But I’m trying the be the bigger man here. I think I’ve said all I have to say to him publicly. I don’t want to get into too much detail, because it is kind of demonizing him, and that’s just a path I don’t want to go down. AndI think the public doesn’t really want to hear it, either. It’s a long freakin’ story.”

Still, McKinney went on to allege that Keene accepted money from The Zenith Passage to produce their album 2016 album, Solipsist — but then never did any actual work:

“[W]hen we initially asked [Keene] to do our record, Solipsist, I was real stoked at first, because we all grew up listening to albums he produced, and we thought [working with him] was a no-brainer considering the style that we are. Unfortunately, it didn’t end the way we wanted it to in working with him. He just kind of collected our money and didn’t do anything and essentially months had passed and it came to a point where our label head was like, ‘Guys we just have to go with someone else’… so we ended up losing a big portion of money and nothing really got done [by Keene].”

McKinney estimates that Keene did nothing over the course of seven or eight months, save for record roughly half of the album’s vocals. He goes on to note that The Zenith Passage eventually finished recording Solipist with Zack Ohren (Machine Head, All Shall Perish)… in the timespan of a week.

You can listen to the entire podcast here. The bit about Keene begins around 42:15ish.

The evidence, by the way, strongly suggests that McKinney is being truthful. Just sayin’.

Thanks: Joshua G.

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