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Mike Keneally's Guest Host Hall Of Fame

Roy Berkowitz

The Wetlands
New York, NY
October 23, 1998

I've been contemplating my guest host experience for quite some time now, and its safe to say that putting it to words is a tough task. So, as I sit here listening to Sluggo! for the zillionth time (its sounds fresh and new every time I do!) I'll try.

I was first introduced to MK through the same channel as most of the faithful fans, through the music of Frank Zappa. I clearly remember my first MK experience, Zappa's Universe NYC, MK hosting, green velvet / tall hat. Fast forward to summer 1996, Bottom Line NYC, Ed Palermo plays the music of Frank Zappa w/ guest guitarist Mike Keneally, opening the show Beer for Dolphins. But who are they? Blow them off in favor of a better place to eat dinner before the show? No, check em out, its a Zappa show, how bad can they be. WOW! MK and Beer for Dolphins (3 piece version). The marquee at the Bottom Line always leaves a lot to be desired, like accuracy!

I remember the sound my jaw made when it dropped and hit the table (a table for four that's no bigger than a personal pan pizza made at those huts that's sling 'em) It was MK, in knit cap - Bryan Beller, Jesus length hair and Toss (no mas!) Panos. The hair on the back of my neck raised up and my arms filled w/ goose bumps, it was electric. I was just giddy w/ the joy of seeing/hearing selections from Hat and Boil that Dust Speck performed before my eyes.

Fast forward, G3 tour Vai/Johnson/Satriani - Beacon Theater-NYC, a shredders smorgasbord. But who is that on keyboard w/ green guitar slung around his neck? Knit cap! MK! Goosebumps!

Fast forward, Vai Solo Tour, w/ opener MK and Beer for Dolphins. Birch Hill-NJ - Zappa's B'day - Goosebumps!

Fast forward Summer '98 - Sluggo!, as proclaimed to me by Andre' of Project/Object (Zappa Tribute Band) is an amazing opus. Knitting Factory/Bottom Line - goosebumps/goosebumps!

So I start hitting the internet, bookmark the Keneally Page - coming back to my town! - looking for a guest host - I have to do this! I email Scott my intentions and am offered the Saint in Asbury Park NJ - I pass! Only one person is capable of guest hosting that venue - Mike Umanoff! I beg for Bottom Line - NYC, but who am I to dethrone Oppy!?! - I get Wetlands - NYC - perfect! a jam band's paradise. MK/BFD gets an opener for Oteil and the Peacemakers and the Disco Biscuits.

Anticipation! I'm so excited, gonna meet the man who's music means so much to me. I get to the venue at 6pm on a Friday eve after work, my wife and a close friend take the train into the city to meet me there. I'm early - I go inside, meet Bob Tedde and Peggy Totzke setting up. The Big Shiny Bus pulls up - I meet everyone - help to unload the equipment and hang w/ MK during set-up and sound check. We talked about so many things, his performance 2 days before at the Saint (Yankees won the world series), FZ, Radiohead, record distribution, Steve Vai, Terry Bozzio not playing the Knack, small children (I have 3). It was great! Comfortable, fun.

I worked on a setlist w/ MK, met Bryan Beller's parents (they live walking distance from my house) and at 9pm was called to stage where I thanked the crowd, plugged the merch! and intro'd the Band. I was high on the excitement of the evening, the tequila and marijuana had nothing to do with it. Short yet satisfying set. I cant complain - saw them 2 nights before when they headlined w/ IZ and Project Object opening and will be seeing them 2 days later when they come back and play the Bottom Line w/ Ed Palermo's Big Band.


In summary, the experience I had hosting MK/BFD continues - I have met so many great people through it. Andre Cholmondeley from Project/Object, Carl Restivo from IZ to name just two. My passion for live music is reborn. I cant get enough. I blame this on my guest host experience.

Road Trip - I will be flying out to California in April to catch MK/BFD play a couple of dates - meet me there and I'll buy you a drink.

Sluggo! has just ended - a zillion and one.

--Roy Berkowitz

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Mike Keneally's Guest Host Hall Of Fame

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