Mike Keneally’s Bonus Disc Song Diary, Pt. 1!

What would it be like if I said a few words about each track on Inkling, the second album which comes with the physical edition of Scambot 2?

I think… it might go… a little something… like… this:

Presence

This is a little scene-setting thing I recorded at home around 2008 or so. It was in fact meant to be the introduction to “Popes,” a song that ended up on You Must Be This Tall. In fact after YMBTT came out and I found this track in my files (under the name “Popes Intro”) I was a bit distraught that I hadn’t included it on that album – but now I’m glad I waited. I think that opening chord, and the odd cascades of melody which follow it, work nicely as a welcome into the world of Inkling.

Scambot

It’s kind of funny that this song isn’t on the main album. It was a starting point for the entire series and was under consideration for both Scambot 1 and 2. I love Marco’s drumming on it, and the sound of the SG on the solo. Lyrically the song is a reminder to myself to meditate – maybe that’s why it didn’t end up as part of either of the key Scambot releases, because the message is so personal that it kept acting like a roadblock to the fictional narrative. I’m certainly very happy about its placement now. Everything on Inkling feels to me like it’s exactly where it’s supposed to be.

Boghe

The synth tracks for the main body of the song were recorded for Court TV in the late ’90s at Lyle Workman’s studio, and the acoustic guitars, and everything in the coda, were done years later at Scott‘s. In its original unadorned form, it very nearly was the opening track on Wine And Pickles. When I sent an early version of the Wine And Pickles running order to my friend, composer/producer/radio presenter Co de Kloet, he said that “Boghe” sounded to him more like one of his own ambient compositions than anything particularly Keneally-ish. It is unusually spacious for me, and I think might provide some indication of what Scambot 3 might eventually sound like. The coda of “Boghe” is one of my favorite little bits of music I’ve ever written. It fades languidly away until…

Sickness

…barges in like a plastic pineapple to the head. The basic track for this was acoustic guitar (me) and acoustic bass (Bryan), recorded in 2006 for a Keneally/Beller acoustic album that we decided not to complete (it was mainly to be duo versions of previously released tracks, plus four new songs: “Hallmark,” “DaDunDa,” “Land” and “Sickness”). Once I realized that this one didn’t need to remain a duo piece, I allowed myself to run rampant with the overdubs. There’s a lot of crazy, noisy stuff on this track, but my favorite section is the contemplative bit starting at 0:39. The first bass note that heralds the new section makes me more happy than is reasonable. And the three clean electric guitars that play the harmonized melodies in this section sound like dreams come true to me.

The Coma

“Sickness”/”The Coma” were going to be a set-piece on Scambot 1, but the plotline never made room for them, so I didn’t bother finishing them at the time (if I had they would have ended up on the bonus album Songs And Stories Inspired By Scambot 1). The basic track for “The Coma” went like this: me writing the main rhythmic motif on my Charvel guitar, and showing it to Marco, and then me conducting the ensuing composition by jumping up and down and contorting my body while playing variations of the main motif, and Marco orchestrating my spasms in real time. That was recorded in 2006, and I spent a good part of the next nine years on and off with Mike Harris ladling gallons of guitar and other overdubs onto it, then painstakingly tweaking the proportions. I have so many mixes of this in my laptop it could practically be its own album.

I Named You

This little kitten was very nearly going to be the second song on Scambot 2, as a major left turn after “In The Trees.” Evan’s flute sounds great, and coming as it now does after “The Coma,” it is a major left turn, and it also nicely ushers in “Chunk 2” of Inkling (check out the back cover of the Inkling booklet to see how I think these pieces group together in four chunks. Maybe four sides of a ten-inch pair of 45-rpm discs?).

Falafel

Don’t know why I called it “Falafel,” other than I think it’s a cool looking word. This was actually the original ending of “In The Trees,” before it became clear that “In The Trees” was more effective at a trim, concise 10:28. “Falafel” is a return to the groove heard behind the guitar solo at 3:30 of “In The Trees,” but taken at a slower pace for a heavier grind. It’s a good jolt of adrenaline for Inkling.

O Elastic Love!

Another synth soundtrack excerpt from the Court TV recordings, heavily modified with guitars. The twisty guitar riff that comes in at 0:19 shows up again on the piece “O” from Scambot 2. I like how much ground “O Elastic Love!” covers in such a short span of time, and the piano solo at the end is one of the most personally satisfying keyboard solos I’ve ever played.

Cram

More than any other song that didn’t make it onto Scambot 2, taking this one off kind of broke my heart a little. I really, really, really like “Cram.” It’s based on the same guitar tuning I used for the song “Weekend” (D A C F# B E, an open D13 chord), specifically because I wanted to be able to go directly from “Weekend” into another song (or the other way around) during a gig without having to switch guitars. The day after the Keneally Band rehearsal for NEARfest 2012, only Kris Myers, Rick Musallam and I remained at Chatfield Manor, enough people to get “Cram” (and “Roll”) off the ground. The initial “Cram” jam lasted well over half an hour. The groove on this thing is supremely exhilarating to me. I’ve spent hours blissing out listening to rough instrumental versions of it. When I sent an early version to Kris Myers, he declared it to be cramtastic.

There are so many things I dig about it: Ben and Jesse‘s vocals, the synth bass, the absolutely insane and masterful Kris Myers drum performance, and the interplay between my and Rick’s guitars. (And I may have mentioned before that Rick’s name was accidentally left off the credits of this song? One of the things I will do in the future, believe you me, is to write an essay specifically about all the wonderful things Rick plays in this song. Until that time, strap on your headphones [make sure you’ve got them on the right way] and pay special attention to all the little Les Paul chatterings on the right side of the mix. Beautiful.)

Well that’s half the album and it feels like a good spot to take a breather. I’ll come at you soon with words about the second half of Inkling. Y’all are freaking sweet people. Have some green beans, man, they’re good for you.

Lozenge,
Mike
PS. We just added a couple of Baked Potato gigs to the end of the Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins tour in October/November (see keneally.com for tour dates). They’re on Sunday November 6 and Tuesday November 8 – the second of which is Election Day in the US. I think we’ll all be in the mood for a blowout gig that night. On Sunday it’ll be the Keneally-Beller-Travers trio, but on Tuesday it’ll be Keneally-Musallam-Beller-Travers as we gleefully welcome Rick Musallam back into our ranks.


Scambot 2 Shipping Now!

We’re currently shipping the 2-CD Scambot 2 signed and numbered limited edition of 2000. The double-CD set consists of the Scambot 2 album (65 minutes of music) and the Inkling album (48 minutes of music) in a colorful digi-pak, with two handsome booklets nestled within. You’ll get an immediate download of Scambot 2 as soon as you pre-order. (You’ll have to wait until your CD set arrives to hear Inkling, which, by the way, features the brilliant RICK MUSALLAM on the song “Cram”!!)

Scambot 2 itself is now available as a single-album paid download. (Inkling won’t be available as a download – it’s only available as part of the 2-CD set.)

For the moment, the Scambot 2/Inkling 2-CD limited edition is only available through Exowax. It will go into wider release, through other distributors and retailers worldwide, starting in September.


SCAMBOT 2

1. In The Trees (10:28)
2. Roots Twist (3:02)
3. Sam (3:20)
4. Clipper (4:36)
5. Forget About It (0:46)
6. Pretzels (4:25)
7. Buzz (4:32)
8. Race The Stars (3:44)
9. O (1:26)
10. Roll (6:23)
11. Constructed (3:46)
12. Freezer Burn (5:23)
13. Scores of People (5:22)
14. Cold Hands Gnat (4:00)
15. Proceed (3:19)


INKLING (More from the Scambot 2 Sessions)

1. Presence (0:48)
2. Scambot (2:17)
3. Boghe (4:01)
4. Sickness (2:01)
5. The Coma (2:11)
6. I Named You (0:45)
7. Falafel (1:29)
8. O Elastic Love! (1:23)
9. Cram (8:10)
10. Mystery Song (0:04)
11. E (0:37)
12. The Scorpions (5:32)
13. Skating Backwards (2:15)
14. Tom (7:01)
15. Mayday! (1:25)
16. Lovesong (1:27)
17. Back It Up (2:54)
18. Inkling (1:37)
19. Uncompressed Rag (2:04)

Mike’s Scambot 2 song diary, Side Four!

Ladies! Gentlemen! Cats!

I’ve been getting myself ready for the G4 Experience in Long Island next week. In addition to the classes I’m presenting, I’m playing shows with Joe Satriani, Keneally-Minnemann-Beller, and Steve Vai, so there’s a lot to prepare. G4 is sold out, but there’s a waitlist you can join in case anyone drops out, so here’s the goldurn website.

Scambot 2 is now whirling around the globe to all who pre-ordered; thank you for doing that, those of you who did! The rest of you can now simply order it if you like, never mind the “pre.” And for those who prefer the digital route, Scambot 2 is now officially available as a download (and, when ordered directly from the Keneally Store, the full digital booklet is included with purchase). Again as a reminder, the album Inkling is only available with the 2-CD physical edition of Scambot 2. I hope those of you who’ve received it are as enamored of the album design as I am. Kudos again to Atticus Wolrab – he did truly beautiful work on this album and I am grateful.

And now, I’ll dither a bit about the final four songs on Scambot 2 – the eighteen-minute-and-four-second “side four” of the vinyl two-record set which does not yet exist but perhaps will some fine day…

Freezer Burn

The feeling of the beginning of this song was trapped in my head for months before I started recording it. If I knew anything about Scambot 2, I knew it was going to have one song that started with a vibe like a slow early-ish Pink Floyd track, replete with long held organ chords. Didn’t know what any of the chords were yet, I just had this vibe in mind for a long time, and in fact I think it intimidated me for a while, enough that I avoided concretely starting the song for quite a while. Finally one day I was in the studio with Mike Harris and had gone as far as I could on the other stuff I had been working on, and he said “what’s next?” I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer. I decided on a working title (which, of course, stuck) and an opening chord, and made my way from there.

I had also had it in mind that the song was supposed to be seven minutes long, for some obscure numerological reason. On that first day of working on the song with Mike H., we laid down basic ideas for four sections totaling seven minutes.

I wasn’t fully satisfied with the fourth section though – it was forced, something to achieve this basically arbitrary length. It was a fine feeling about a year later when I officially shaved off the final section (at one point I’d shaved off the third section [the ultra-spacey bit that starts at 4:17] as well, in a fit of overzealous pruning, until Sarah saw me listening to it in headphones and blissing out heavily and asked me “what the heck are you cutting that section out for? You obviously love it!”).

There was also a lot of chatter in my head about whether or not this song should have lyrics. Scambot 2 is obviously a more lyric-oriented album than Scambot 1 was, and I had decided to let the lyrics be more explicit about driving and reflecting the plotline. So I tried a couple of times to begin work on “Freezer Burn” lyrics, and got nowhere with it. Finally one day I imagined a lead guitar in that opening section playing the role of a vocalist – something probably inspired by Satriani. To generate melody ideas I improvised three takes of lead guitar, then carved away until I arrived at a set of melodic statements I enjoyed – then learned those statements, and we recorded a new performance of them as the main lead guitar (you will still hear fragments of the original three improvised takes, dancing around the main guitar).

The second part is obviously Wooden Smoke-influenced, and I was real happy to get some of that flavor into Scambot 2. Part of that texture is due to none other than the much maligned 80s-era digital synth, the Yamaha DX-7. This poor box has been excoriated in the past, but it can really provide an interesting flavor, especially the fake jazz guitar setting which has a real nice pluck and sonorousness to it. (I also used quite a bit of distorted DX-7 on “In The Trees.” You can make some really nasty industrial noise with it [just ask Trent Reznor], especially when you decide to pump it through your guitar pedalboard and go nuts.)

I give a special “yo!” to Jeff Berkley – I used his lap steel guitar as a major component of that ultra-spacey third part. I’d never played lap steel before, but it was a simple enough part that it didn’t give me conniptions. There’s definitely a major Steve Howe influence at play on this last section.
Scores of People

The title and opening lyrics of this song have been around since I was writing lyrics for The Mistakes in 1995, so when I claimed that Scambot 2 has been under construction since the late ’90s, I guess I was technically mistaken. But for many years, the song consisted of nothing more than that title and those opening lyrics, and I believed for a long time that I would never go any further with them, that those few components comprised everything intelligent I could say on the subject of abuse of authority.

I did the music for the first part of this song (the lyric part) during the sessions for Scambot 1. I still only had the first few lyrics, but I wrote the music based on what I had, and presumed the rest would come eventually. I finally hit upon a set of lyrics that felt both germane to the plot and also managed to stand on their own. I think they work both as a sincere reflection of ideals I have and as a slightly parodic look at “cause”-oriented popular music.

The second part, the long piano-based instrumental, is a piece I wrote on Fender Rhodes when I was 16 years old. Gregg Bendian and Doug Lunn really shine on this section. I think there are three Bendian performances superimposed in this section; choosing things that he played and mixing them “just so” was seriously fun, completely my idea of a good time in the studio. The brilliance of Mike Harris also comes to the fore here. Hopefully all you headphone people are having a good time with this one.

Cold Hands Gnat

This was actually recorded before the version of “Cold Hands” that was on Scambot 1. I recorded this one at home, except for the acoustic piano which was later overdubbed at Scott‘s place. It was done as a songwriting demo, but it had a feeling about it that was so different from the version I did for Scambot 1, and I always had love for this version.

I think the gnat voice is endearing, but when Joe Satriani heard it he was terrified by it. You just never know how these things are going to hit people.
Proceed

The band track (me, Musallam, Beller, Travers) was recorded at Tom Trefethen‘s Remora Recorders studio in 2008 during the same sessions that produced the basic tracks for “Life’s Too Small,” “Cornbread Crumb,” “Popes,” “The Scorpions” and “Tiny Red Bug.” It was a very productive couple of days. Trefethen (who engineered the early albums of Ambrosia that I love so much) is a pretty legendary figure with very deeply ingrained ideas about how to do things in the studio, and he surely knows how to create a specific vibe – for one thing, he designed his studio to look like a cave, with rough walls resembling rock, and he takes great pains to mic things up according to principles he’s held dear since the ’70s. We recorded the basic tracks to analog tape, and later brought them into the digital realm for overdubs. I can REALLY hear the benefits of analog recording on all these tracks, especially in the drum sound, which is insanely satisfying to my ears.

Lyrically this song was meant to invoke something of The Who‘s “Welcome” from Tommy, which was sort of an inside-joke reference to Scambot’s status as a “concept album.” But after a couple of attempts at writing the lyrics over a period of years, I finally realized exactly what this song should accompany in the story, and the lyrics emerged pretty effortlessly (with special thanks to Sarah for a couple of important suggestions that greatly improved matters).

The song intentionally leaves Scambot 2 on a note of anticipation – it works as a conclusion, I think, but also leaves one hanging slightly (that last chord isn’t a resolving chord, exactly). That works for me in two senses: there will be a Scambot 3, so I didn’t feel like I needed to wrap things up definitively at the end of Scambot 2; and there’s a whole other album (Inkling) in the same physical package as SB2, and I think the end of “Proceed” segues very nicely into the beginning of “Presence” on Inkling.

More about which, soon!

Finally –

Three new concert dates have been added to the Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins tour later this year – here’s the final itinerary for the tour:

MIKE KENEALLY
as special guest in a tribute to KEITH EMERSON
also featuring JONATHAN SCHANG of District 97
and LUIS NASSER of Sonus Umbra and Might Could
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21
At Reggie’s Progtoberfest II, Chicago IL.

 
MIKE KENEALLY & BEER FOR DOLPHINS TOUR
trio with BRYAN BELLER and JOE TRAVERS:
opening all the Northeast shows is the TRAVIS LARSON BAND

SATURDAY OCTOBER 22: Reggies’s Progtoberfest II in Chicago IL

TUESDAY OCTOBER 25: River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains, PA

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 26: Iridium in NYC

THURSDAY OCTOBER 27: Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA

FRIDAY OCTOBER 28: Kennett Flash in Kennett Square, PA

SATURDAY OCTOBER 29: NJ Proghouse in Dunellen, NJ

SUNDAY OCTOBER 30: The Wheelhouse in Narragansett, RI

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 1: The Camel in Richmond, VA

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 2: The Pour House Music Hall in Raleigh, NC

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 3: The Rabbit Hole in Charlotte, NC

I’m seeing posts online to the extent of “why aren’t you playing in ****?” I would love to play EVERYWHERE, but we’re doing what we can in the small window of opportunity available around Beller’s Aristocrats touring and Satriani band in South America later this year. We’ll try to do more next year, I promise.

Time to go to LA and see Radiohead now. Thanks everyone!

Mike!

Side Three of Mike’s Scambot 2 song diary!

Hi! I’m flying home from the Satriani tour right now. This has been perhaps the most enjoyable Joe tour yet. We had some 2 1/2-hour shows with intermission and some 2-hour shows with no intermission. Seven shows were G3 shows with Steve Vai and The Aristocrats, where I sang Police and Nirvana songs during the jam (seriously fun). We had festival shows of various lengths – Hellfest in Nantes and the Lasko Beer and Flowers festival in Slovenia being particularly enjoyable. It was just an extremely fun tour! And once again, everyone on the band and crew (as well as all the Vai and Aristocrats people) were glorious road-rat humans of endless capability and good humor. Cheers to every freaking one of them! And to every freaking one of you who came to a show, or several.

Now I’m very much looking forward to relaxing at home for a couple of days, and then I’ll be signing and numbering huge stacks of Scambot 2 CD sets so that we can start shipping them to you.

I’m doggone grateful for the tremendous response to the Scambot 2 download (which comes your way immediately upon ordering the physical product). I appreciate all the good words with great fervor! (Steve Vai wrote me the nicest email with his feelings about each song on the album. It means so much to me.)

Shipping will begin soon, and I’m excited that people are about to hear the second album in the 2-CD package, Inkling. It really does have a character of its own.

Now I’ll continue yammering a bit about the songs on Scambot 2, as I’ve been doing for the last two Keneallists. Let’s take a look at “side three,” shall we? Yes! Let’s! Take a look!

Race the Stars

This is pop! Super pop. Pop as heck. (Well ’70s pop, anyway.)

The chord progression was written on Scott‘s piano. I captured chunks of the progression on my phone as I was writing them, and it originally went under the working title “Fogerty,” simply because I had been listening to a lot of Creedence in the car at that time, and not because I thought the song was especially Fogerty-y, musically. It was just a name that came to mind.

As I’ve said, working titles often have a way of sticking – and while in this case, the title “Fogerty” didn’t make it to the final draft, it did have a singular impact on the song. I started imagining, as I was working on the backing track: what kind of vocal melody would John Fogerty actually sing over this progression? I then wondered if Kris Myers from Umphrey’s McGee (who is a magnificent vocalist in addition to being a devastating drummer) might be able to provide some Fogerty timbre to the melody. I asked him to sing the song with me and he was way into it.

On the album, you’re hearing me and Kris singing the melody in octaves: me down below, and Kris bringing Fogerty zang to the upper octave. Then Bryan Beller and Joe Travers brought their effortless brilliance to the rhythm track.

The guitar solo section has a really challenging set of chords to play over, so I decided to write the solo out. It took a number of takes, attempted over several months on several guitars, but ultimately it was Jesse the good old green Clapton Strat that provided the right amount of twinkle and twang. It’s a finger twister and it was very satisfying to finally nail it. On the last part of the solo I thought it would sound good to bring back an earlier take of the solo (played on the koa Charvel) and have both guitars playing in unison – it kicks the arrangement into a higher gear right there.

Kris also joined me on the backing vocals to great effect, and it was his idea to do the overlapping “come on” harmonies at the end – a really nice touch. Thank you Kris!

Oh and the title was unquestionably inspired by a game called Race The Sun, which Sarah was playing with some regularity at the time I was writing the lyrics. I’ll grab inspiration from all possible sources.

O

Here’s one that allows me to say, with all the truthfulness on this airplane, that this album has been in the works since the late ’90s. The basic bed of this atmospheric track was made at Lyle Workman‘s studio, for one of the television documentary soundtracks I recorded back then.

“O” originally consisted of the weird noises at the beginning, the bang midway through, and the long synth drone throughout. The acoustic and electric guitars, and the piano at the end, were overdubbed in 2013 for Scambot 2, making this a collaboration between 36-year-old me and 51-year-old me.

Roll

The basic track for this song was recorded in Scott’s living room, by Rick Musallam, Kris Myers and myself, the day after we finished rehearsals for Nearfest Apocalypse 2012. (The same session also gave us “Cram,” which is on Inkling, and which features Rick Musallam on the far-right electric guitar, a fact inadvertently left out of the Inkling booklet.)

I wrote the main lick for “Roll” on the spot after we finished recording “Cram.” My inspiration was Tony Iommi, and the reason for that was the dropped-D black SG I was playing. We started jamming on that lick, and then the rest of the pieces of the song emerged through the course of the jam, which I edited way down after the fact to arrive at the final song form. The slow 3/4 lick that runs through the chorus was something I came up with while we were jamming, and I realized on the spot it would make a good chorus, so then I started alternating the two licks. The bridge section in 5/4 (“No one leads a charmed life”) was not played during the initial session – the drums in that section are from the original jam, but everything else was written later and superimposed onto the drums. Lots of editing and shuffling and overdubbing went on to arrive at this final form.

The tone of the main guitar is a combination of my Rivera Quiana mic’d up, plus a DI’d signal going straight to the computer where Mike Harris put it through a SansAmp plug-in. The end result is one of my favorite guitar tones I’ve ever gotten on record.

I originally overdubbed a synth bass track that mostly conveyed the vibe I wanted in terms of notes, but sonically it just wasn’t bringing the rock the way it needed to be brought, so Beller came in and did what was required by the universe. The final piece of the cake, or the icing on the puzzle, as they say, was having Ben Thomas sing the verses in unison with me. We slammed both voices together in the center of the mix to make a new mutant double-voice. This song requires maximum playback volume.

Oh and there’s a bunch of Hendrix-inspired slowed-down vocal stuff that shows up during the guitar solos. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

Constructed

Finally, my first country waltz! (Unless “Never Ever Wrong” counts. Maybe it does. OK, then, my second!)

The seed for this song was a voice memo I recorded on my phone called “Constructed,” which consisted only of the words “Constructed, constructed. Constructed, constructed” (as sung at the 3:00 minute mark of the final song by three overdubbed Mikes in the far left corner of the mix, in a tone and attitude intended to evoke The Jordanaires). In the studio with Mike Harris, I used the rhythm of the words as a starting point for the piano part (the intro piano is playing the same “constructed, constructed” melody that shows up at 3:00). Having recorded that intro in the studio with Mike Harris, I continued on writing sections and recording them, until it got to the ending, when it seemed like the right time to bring back that “constructed” motif. Then I improvised the little Thom Yorke-inspired piano coda, and et voila! A song form.

That little snippet on my phone – just me singing “Constructed, constructed” – originally struck me as so funny for some weird reason. It seemed to me that “constructed” was such a mundane word, not really emotionally redolent of anything, and not at all suitable for use as the main hook of a song. But I started writing lyrics for the song, and with God, Bob, and Dog as my various witnesses, I tried really hard to come up with a concept and title that would be something other than “Constructed.” But the lyrics inexorably wended their way towards that inflexible destination, and gradually I came to feel that the idea of “Constructed” as a song concept ended up really working.

Everyone involved in this song treated it with great delicacy and respect. Kris Myers’ drum performance is really masterful – Mike Harris, who is a drummer himself, was freaking out over it while we were making the song. It was one of the performances that Kris recorded in Chicago in his single-day marathon drum session that yielded seven of his drum tracks. There are so many subtle rhythmic touches to his performance here, little hesitations and incremental groove shifts, which propel the song so beautifully. In the wrong hands this drum groove could really just sit there on the ground like a beech nut, but he gave it so much life.

Pete Griffin, who brings incredible heft and power to his electric bass playing on both Scambot 2 and Inkling, was good enough to haul his stand-up bass down from LA to Chatfield Manor for this song, and it could not have been more perfect – in my recollection, it was Pete who suggested that acoustic bass would work for the song. Man, I am so grateful for that insight and for this performance, beautifully recorded by Mr. Harris.

Jesse Keneally provided angel voices. They float around in the back of the choruses just audible enough to be felt – sometimes when I hear this song I wish we’d mixed them higher, but then other times I realize they lend just the right presence to the choruses – haunting, just beyond reach, chilling and lovely. I just want to hear more of them sometimes, ’cause she’s my daughter you see.

You’ll hear a couple of ghostly western guitar parts, meant to evoke pedal steel.

Before I worked out the final lyrics, I actually did an instrumental version of the song with a guitar playing the vocal melody all the way through – I thought that it might work, but although I was infatuated with it for a day or two, it didn’t make me the feel the way this version does. I needed to hear the words “snowy train” in order to see the snowy train. (Some remnants of that melody guitar track do remain in the final mix however.)

Thanks for reading all this. I’ll talk about the last four songs on Scambot 2 in the next Keneallist, and then get into Inkling a little later on once you’ve all had a chance to listen to it.


MK/BFD gigs in October

Also, hey: I’m bringing the trio version of Beer For Dolphins (me, Bryan Beller and Joe Travers) to Chicago and the Northeast in late October of this year. I was a bit stunned to realize that this particular configuration, with whom I gigged so much in California in the ’90s, has never played in the Midwest and Northeast as a trio. There is a certain ferociousness that takes hold on when it’s just me, Bryan and Joe, and it’s going to be fun to finally bring that vibe to the other side of the country for once. We might tack on a few more shows in other locations in the U.S. if the stars align, but our window is small because of Bryan’s and Joe’s prior work obligations. I’m jazzed about being able to do even this many shows though. The very wonderful Travis Larson Band will be opening for us in the Northeast.

In Chicago we’re playing at Progtoberfest II which will be hosting a wonderful slate of adventurous bands. The night before the BFD gig, I’ll be guesting at a tribute to Keith Emerson, which is going to be a heavy emotional situation for me but I’m really looking forward to it. (I don’t think I need to go into much detail here about how much Keith Emerson means to me. But, boy, he means a lot.) I know that Luis Nasser of Might Could and Sonus Umbra, and Jonathan Schang of District 97, are also taking part in the Chicago Emerson tribute, which is nifty – I like those guys a lot but this will be my first time playing with them.

These are the dates! Date it up, date it up, date it up!:

MIKE KENEALLY
as special guest in a tribute to KEITH EMERSON
also featuring JONATHAN SCHANG of District 97
and LUIS NASSER of Sonus Umbra and Might Could
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21
At Reggie’s Progtoberfest II, Chicago IL.

MIKE KENEALLY & BEER FOR DOLPHINS TOUR
trio with BRYAN BELLER and JOE TRAVERS:
opening all the Northeast shows is the TRAVIS LARSON BAND

SATURDAY OCTOBER 22: Reggies’s Progtoberfest II in Chicago IL

TUESDAY OCTOBER 25: River Street Jazz Cafe in Plains, PA

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 26: Iridium in NYC

THURSDAY OCTOBER 27: Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA

FRIDAY OCTOBER 28: Kennett Flash in Kennett Square, PA

SATURDAY OCTOBER 29: NJ Proghouse in Dunellen, NJ

SUNDAY OCTOBER 30: The Wheelhouse in Narragansett, RI


The exclusive Scambot 2 Exowax Pre-Order

You probably already know, but I’ll say it again, that we’re currently taking pre-orders for the 2-CD Scambot 2 signed, limited edition of 2000. These will be shipped in a few days, after I sign and number them. The double-CD set consists of the Scambot 2 album (65 minutes of music) and the Inkling album (48 minutes of music) in a colorful digi-pak, with two handsome booklets nestled within. You’ll get an immediate download of Scambot 2 as soon as you pre-order. (You’ll have to wait until your CD set arrives to hear Inkling, which, by the way, features the brilliant RICK MUSALLAM on the song “Cram”!!)

Scambot 2 itself will be available as a single-album paid download in late July – we’ll shoot you another note when it’s officially available. (Inkling won’t be available as a download – it’s only available as part of the 2-CD set.)

For the moment, the Scambot 2/Inkling 2-CD limited edition is only available through Exowax. It will go into wider release, through other distributors and retailers worldwide, starting September 9.

Y’all rock and you know it.

Love and a balloon,
Mike


SCAMBOT 2

1. In The Trees (10:28)
2. Roots Twist (3:02)
3. Sam (3:20)
4. Clipper (4:36)
5. Forget About It (0:46)
6. Pretzels (4:25)
7. Buzz (4:32)
8. Race The Stars (3:44)
9. O (1:26)
10. Roll (6:23)
11. Constructed (3:46)
12. Freezer Burn (5:23)
13. Scores of People (5:22)
14. Cold Hands Gnat (4:00)
15. Proceed (3:19)


INKLING (More from the Scambot 2 Sessions)

1. Presence (0:48)
2. Scambot (2:17)
3. Boghe (4:01)
4. Sickness (2:01)
5. The Coma (2:11)
6. I Named You (0:45)
7. Falafel (1:29)
8. O Elastic Love! (1:23)
9. Cram (8:10)
10. Mystery Song (0:04)
11. E (0:37)
12. The Scorpions (5:32)
13. Skating Backwards (2:15)
14. Tom (7:01)
15. Mayday! (1:25)
16. Lovesong (1:27)
17. Back It Up (2:54)
18. Inkling (1:37)
19. Uncompressed Rag (2:04)