Keith Varon
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Keith Varon


Band Pop Rock


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"Local Singer is the "REAL" Thing"

For the second time in less than four months, 23-year-old Keith Varon of Danville has gotten to experience something extraordinary by most people's standards -- hearing his own song played on national television.

When last the Danville Times talked to the up-and-coming singer and songwriter, he was easing down from a first-time high. In August, Varon learned a track from his self-titled EP would be featured on an episode of "Laguna Beach: The Real OC" -- MTV's reality drama about Orange County teens.

Last week, the show called with news they would use another excerpt from his pop album -- recorded earlier this year with producer Joey Muller -- on Monday's season finale.

Once again Varon, a San Ramon Valley High School graduate, gathered on the couch with friends and family, his eyes glued to the television set and his ears strained for familiar chords. This time it was "Never Be the Same," a "really melancholy break-up" melody he was listening for.

If he had sneezed he would have missed the infinitesimal, instrumental snippet played between two scenes. It wasn't much, but it was enough to give him a tantalizing taste of hopefully better things to come, said Varon, who recently moved out of his parents' house into an apartment in Marin.

Right after the first "Laguna Beach" airing, the number of hits on his Web site soared and some larger record labels began voicing interest in him.

"It's sort of taken me from no clout and being nowhere on the radar to 'bam!' " he said. "It all happening really fast."

Since then he has been working double-time in anticipation for the upcoming release of his second, self-produced album, "Love is a Hero." On Dec. 9, he will open for the band "Luce" at Slim's live music club in San Francisco.

Performing at the popular venue will be a milestone, said Varon, who began playing guitar as a kid, spurred on by the classic-rock stylings of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. In middle school, Varon formed a punk band and forged an affinity with the Grunge genre.

After a hiatus in high school, he rediscovered music at Santa Clara City College, sitting around strumming strings with dorm-mates.

In 2005, Varon moved back to the Bay Area and began playing the local music circuit, eventually catching the eye of Muller. He never imagined he'd be hearing his songs on MTV.

Though still a work in progress, this week found him sharing reality show airwaves with Hilary Duff and other "big names."

"It's so funny because Joey and I basically recorded (my EP) in his bedroom," said Varon, a self-described pop-artist with an "edgy band feel."

"I'm making a lot of phone calls, I'm staying on top of my network of people, I'm coordinating rehearsals with the band. Last week I was in LA," Varon said. "It's like the first time you fall in love or the first time you on a roller coaster -- definitely a crazy feeling." - Jeanine Benca

" Edwin McCain with Keith Varon @ the Red Devil Lounge "

Summer is finally here, or should I say, a packed house at the Red Devil Lounge feels like a smoldering sauna filled with cattle. Nevertheless, Keith Varon brought his sultry, emotional pop, made for breakups and rebounds, to the sweaty many. Varon's pseudo-acoustic, super-trio (Joey Muller on keys, Matt Scheoning on cello and guitar) may have warmed the crowd had they not already been simmering. But you can't blame the music. Varon's style of play is undeniably attractive and when he's on-stage you can't help but feel like you're in on a little secret. Maybe it's his singing, which is a half whisper-half pout ala Thom Yorke and Keane or his percussive guitar play, effect heavy and finger pickin' good.

His take on Radiohead's "Karma Police," was refreshing, again playing his guitar like a drum, adding slaps between strums. The cello picked up the harmonies along the way and the keys drove the melody. On "Honestly," Varon's harder strumming and pedal play shine. It feels that at any moment he might lose it, riding that edge, never going over, just holding you there with him.

-Jason Jurgens - Jason Jurgens

"Keith Varon EP reviewed"

DEAR MR. VARON: You're right. Your son is talented. Apparently, the CD fell between my desk and a filing cabinet about six months ago. So did some others, but your kid was better than their kids. Keith Varon is a very accessible Bay Area singer-songwriter who would do well with the KFOG market. He played most of the instruments, with some help from former Counting Crows and Luce drummer Steve Bowman. Varon's playing the Red Devil Lounge in San Francisco on Sunday night. Check out his music at

And no, that's not an invite for every parent in Northern California to start sending me demos. Keith's dad gets him in the door because he knows the music biz. Plus, it was one of the few times I got a hand-written letter that didn't include some sort of threat. - Tony Hicks

"LOVE IS A HERO (CD Review)"

Varon knows the quickest way into a teenage girl's fickle heart is through her MTV. So when his song "Can't Breathe" became a Laguna Beach classic moment, girls everywhere collectively sighed, texted each other and immediately took the Danville, CA native as someone their mothers would adore. Some guys would call that a "Captain Save-a-Ho." But don't dismiss his music as not having enough edge, because Varon certainly has a wild side. On Love is a Hero, two sides to Varon are exposed. One is a Howie Day meets Shawn Mullins Zima drinker (tracks "Can't Breathe" and "Safe Escape"), while the other is a Foo Fighters meets Incubus Ole' E fan (tracks "After All" and "Intoxicated"). The latter hybrid is where Varon is at his best. It's at those moments on the album that we see Varon's true guitar prowess.

For me it's easier to hear his anthems of heartbreak and relationship angst through crunchy power chords and up-tempo beats. "Intoxicated" is the perfect combination of booty shakin' melodies for the sorority sisters and head banging riffs for the frat boys, while "Act That Way" has radio written all over it. "Honestly" (which we at The Owl Mag had the foresight to include on our compilation) will air on MTV's The Hills and prove again that Varon is a hero.

With the help of producer extraordinaire Joey Muller (who happens to lend his talents to practically every instrument on the album), drummers Steve Bowman (Counting Crows, Luce) and Andy Korn, Keith Varon's Love is a Hero is a solid debut. I get the feeling he'll be around for awhile. I just wish he had saved some of the harder songs for the end... then again maybe I need to get in touch with my feminine side.

- Jason Jurgens - The Owl Mag

"Love is a Hero (CD Review)"

It's always difficult to know what to expect from a new musician, especially a solo artist singer/songwriter. The world and the airwaves have become so saturated with these types of musicians that it is hard to tell which acts are there because they deserve to be and which are there because some major label executive thought it would be great to have a billion John Mayer copycats running around. Well, Keith Varon is no John Mayer copycat, and he certainly doesn't have the major label support that he should, but he does deserve to be rubbing elbows with the likes of John Mayer on pop-rock and alternative radio. Varon, with his first full length album, has created on of the best sounding independent releases ever. Each song has it's own personality, which showcases the many different sides of who Varon is as a musician. He rocks. He croons. He spills his heart out. He is truly a masterful songwriter. Having gained success, and a minor popularity from having his best songs 'Honestly' and 'Can't Breathe' appearing in teen-targeted MTV reality shows, Keith Varon should be able to ride a wave of success to the top. Those two songs, along with harder edged tracks like 'After All' and 'Intoxicated' could have Varon becoming the next big rock sensation. What's cool about this album and the songs contained within is that it is accessible by many demographics and a variety of its songs could appear on several radio formats. At the end of the day though, what you have is a talented singer/songwriter with a great independent album. This album is the start of a very good career in music, and it won't be long before Keith Varon is a household name. -

"Local Pop Artist Going Big Time (Front Page)"

Contra Costa Times
By Jeanine Benca
June 23, 2006

I've never been so busy with music in my life.
Tune in, Danville. The next time you do, you'll be hearing from Keith Varon.

For several years, the budding pop-rocker has been straining to make his voice rise above the West Coast music scene's overcrowded din. This week, his efforts began to pay off.

Last Saturday, Varon, 24, performed at the North Beach Music Festival in San Francisco's Washington Park, introducing scores of new listeners to his newly released album, 'Love is a Hero.'

The next day he gave his first live interview, on KPIX Channel 5, and on Tuesday received written requests from Alice and KFOG radio stations to begin playing songs from 'Love.' Less than 24 hours later, the former San Ramon Valley High School baseball player gathered with friends and family around the television to 'watch' a sound bite of his on MTV's reality spin-off series, 'The Hills.'

This marked the third time since the Danville Times first spoke with Varon last summer that his music has been featured on MTV, the previous two spots occurring during episodes of 'The Hills' precursor, 'Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County.'

'A lot of great things are happening to me right now,' said Varon, who got his first guitar when he was 10. 'I've never been so busy with music in my life.'

It's a labor of love. After an adolescent hiatus, Varon reunited with his childhood instrument in the dorms at Santa Barbara City College and began studying music. He has been doing the 'starving artist' thing ever since -- fighting for gigs and name recognition while all the time honing his craft.

If that old, true tale is played out, Varon's voice is not.

Patrons sat up and took notice of his late-night set Friday at Beckett's Irish Pub in Berkeley, where his passionate riffs and emotional croonings drew nods of approval.

Varon, whose vocal stylings have been compared to those of Thom Yorke and Keane, says he is influenced by Jimmy Hendrix, Metallica, Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews and the entire Grunge movement, to name a few.

'Other art really inspires my art, like when I discover a new band and I'm discovering new bands all the time. It's not copying, it's just like, 'Wow, I really like how they do this or that.''

Most of his songs are about romantic torment, fueled by his last few break-ups with fellow musicians.

'I have a hard time dating people who are the boring types,' joked Varon, who adds, 'I just write what I want. I try to be as honest and natural as possible.'

His work has mainstream appeal, as evident by local radio stations' burgeoning interest. Varon, who points to his 'pop sensibilities' says he has not yet reached the infamous indie credibility/Top 40 crossroads. But he knows the day may come.

'There's a part of me that wonders how I would stack up against singers of that caliber on 'American Idol,'' said Varon, a self-professed admirer of Idol star Kelly Clarkson. 'But I wouldn't want to buy into the whole pre-fabricated artist thing. I want to be looked at as an artist who creates his own art.'

The musician recently moved back to the area after a month-long tour and a stint living in Marin County. With his blue and blond-streaked hair, he is hard to miss in Danville -- if they are smart, residents will score autographs now while he's still a hometown boy.

A CD release party for Varon is planned for 9 p.m., June 30 at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. Closer to home, he will be performing at the town's Fine Arts Faire on June 24 and 25.

'The goal I have is more of a long-term goal than an immediate goal,' Varon said. 'It's to have a long-standing career as a musician.' - Danville Times



"Deeper" - TV placement "Laguna Beach" (MTV)
"Honestly" - TV placement "The Hills" (MTV)
"Intoxicated" - TV placement "Next" (MTV)
"Act That Way" - TV placement "Next" (MTV)
"Deeper" - TV placement "Next" (MTV)
"Can't Breathe" - TV placement "Next" (MTV)
" Can't Breathe" TV placement "Laguna Beach" (MTV)
" Can't Breathe TV placement "What About Brian" (ABC)
"A Fall From The Edge" film placement "Locked"
"Safe Escape" - featured Oasis CD sampler
"Intoxicated" - featured on KFOG's local scene 3 compilation

"Intoxicated" - featured on XM unsigned
"Intoxicated" in rotation at KFOG
"Intoxicated" radio performance on Alice97.3fm
"Intoxicated" in rotation iChannel


"What Matters" - film placement "Check"
"Never Be The Same" - film placement "Check"
"Honestly" film placement "Going Down the P.C.H."
"Can't Breathe" TV placement "Laguna Beach" (Episode 3)
"Honestly" featured on "the Owl Mag's" WHO's WHO of the bay area compilation.
"Never be the Same" TV placement "Laguna Beach" (MTV)
"What Matters" aired on Alice97.3



Keith Varon is the classic story of plain hard work and devotion. At age 18 Varon decided that he wanted to have a career in music and dedicated himself to becoming a music major in college. After 2 years of music training Varon moved back to the bay area where he devoted himself to playing the Sweetwater Saloon’s legendary open mic every Monday for one year straight. One of those Monday nights bared fruit with producer Joey Muller who would then be partly responsible for producing what might be the most licensed self-released record to date.

2006 gave birth to Keith’s beloved first full-length effort “Love is a Hero”— the result of an intense two-month studio effort. “Love” represents an extraordinary period of creative growth in which he introduces a sound that is not only fresh and young but also timeless.

In making his new CD, Keith looked back and revised some of the first songs he ever wrote, including "Act That Way" and "Everytime." Songs that have survived the test of time. The project was the most satisfying effort so far in Keith’s young career, producing a recording quality he’s dreamed of for four years.

“Love is a Hero” emerged in an exciting year also notable for reaching new audiences. "Can't Breathe" and "Never Be the Same" were both featured on the second season of MTV's “Laguna Beach.” Shortly following that came the heartbreaking placement of Honestly in the “Laguna Beach” spin-off show “The Hills.” But that was only the beginning of Varon’s never-ending appeal to the mainstream market. 2007 brought about more exciting TV song appearances including; ABC’s “What About Brian,” MTV’s “Next, ” and E! Channel’s “Paradise City.”

Not only has network television taken notice of Keith's music but San Francisco’s legendary radio station KFOG featured his song "Intoxicated" on their annual local artist compilation. The placement of Keith's song in the compilation perpetuated constant spins for several months on KFOG along with a live sponsored performance held in downtown San Francisco. Keith's song was a favored amongst the DJ's.

It’s been almost a year since Varon’s first full-length release and his boundless work ethic and passion have led to non-stop touring. His grassroots approach has touched audiences all across the nation. Varon always in search for something more out of life discovered his love for live looping during a residency in San Francisco and has since been creating a cult following. It’s as if he produces a record right in front of his audiences, playing percussion on his guitar, looping bass lines, harmonies, and piano lines. All of which has evolved from his time spent honing his craft in college in Santa Barbara.

As Keith promotes his latest work, “Love is a Hero,” he recalls that it has been five years since he wrote his first song about a girl that lived thousands of miles away. “From there I knew that all I wanted to do was make a timeless, heartfelt record that represented all that I embody as an artist. This record is my therapy, my girlfriend, my passion, and my soul.”