March 11 1996 1:21:56 AM
First, some news which impacts the MK Page very directly - I just received a (very polite, I'm pleased to report) "request" from the Zappas' legal representatives that all Zappa cover art (this encompasses FZ, DZ and Z releases) be removed from the MK discography. This didn't shock me utterly; and other, directly FZ-related websites will be feeling the clampdown soon, I'm sure. More surprisingly, in the MK discography, the Zappas' representatives took exception to the designation "written guitar parts throughout" as it related to my work on Frank's albums...apparently they thought that it might indicate that I had, in fact, written the parts myself. Well, you'd have to have a real tentative grasp of the English language to receive it that way (unless it was delivered with a seriously stereotypical backwoods type of inbred accent - "yep, I written these guitar parts, all right!"). But on further reflection I realized that not all visitors to this page are primarily English-speaking people, so perhaps clarification was indeed justified (even though my template for the designation was Steve Vai's credit for many of the songs on the "Them Or Us" album - which read "written guitar lines" - I figured that was specific enough for Frank, so what the hey). Anyway, the proper changes have been made - head on over to the discography and check it out.
I'm trying like a maniac to divest myself of the ongoing frustration which America Online has become for me, but my first attempt to escape (via Earthlink) has proven even more frustrating as Earthlink refuses to make friends with my modem. Earthlink faxed me fourteen pages worth of instructions designed to remedy the problem - it didn't do shit. (This situation prompted me to indulge in some classic stupid male-rage-oriented behavior, rivalling the Zappa's Universe Grammy/Tower Records Window incident - after the 800th unsuccessful attempt at linking with Earthlink I screamed at the computer, utterly turning my throat into shredded lunch meat. This is idiotic enough for anyone to have done, but for a vocalist it's unconscionable. If anyone ever does a clinical study on the futility of rage, I volunteer to be "observed"). So while nothing would make me happier than to not have "aol.com" sullying my email address, until I have the time to research my next move, my current address will remain active.
OK, now for the REALLY big news, the turmoil to which I alluded in the last "MTTY" - Toss can't make the tour. He was lured away by a corporate rock evil-doer with a large retainer check in his pocket. I asked Travers to do it and he's not into straining his relationship with the Zappas (by whom he remains enslav...I mean, employed), and no amount of guilt I laid upon him did the trick. Somehow, I refused to worry, even while Bryan was stricken with utter panic and toying with the notion that Toss leaving might somehow be our karmic due for leaving the Zappas in the lurch (Scott Chatfield posited the same notion - and here's why I told Bryan and Scott, two people whom I love dearly, that they were full of shit: Toss was loved and respected by his bandmates (me and Bryan) and we wanted nothing more than to have him remain in the band, but although I would have loved to accomodate Toss' schedule, a lot of tour dates were already booked and it would've been very very bad news for us to cancel them, especially as this is going to be the first real Keneally tour (the two-show "tour" detailed in the "BFD Road Diary" barely qualifies). On the other hand, when I asked of the Zappas that they accomodate my schedule, Dweezil instantly declared me persona non grata [even though there were NO Z dates booked, save for a Conan O'Brien appearance] although he never called to officially dismiss me - still, at this writing, no one from the Zappa camp has officially dismissed me - this is the treatment I get after all this time. In other words, events made it very plain that the Zappas had NO fucking respect for me and that the only proper thing to occur, if I was to maintain any dignity, was for us to part company. Jeez, I wasn't expecting to get into all that).
Anyway. Frank Briggs. That's the name for you to roll around in your head, for you to savor with moist anticipation, the name of the life-saving gentleman who will be the drummer for the "MIKE KENEALLY AND BEER FOR DOLPHINS 'THANKS, TOSS' TOUR APRIL-MAY 1996". Toss himself referred Mr. Briggs to me; he is a recording/touring veteran drummer, as well as a teacher/instructor of long standing (there is a Frank Briggs instructional video, released last year, available from Mel Bay Publications), and he's currently living, interestingly enough, in Chad Wackerman's LA home. Briggs has been submerging himself in Keneallyana in preparation for the tour, a tour which he accepted for the challenge and because, in his words, he "loves" the music...God knows he'd make a lot more money if he stayed home and continued teaching during that month. I can't thank him enough for wanting the take the job on, and while I regret deeply that Toss won't be available for the first real live BFD tour, I'm excitedly looking forward to developing a new relationship with Briggs. A big round of applause for Frank Briggs please. Thank you.
A few days ago I did a very pleasant and thoughtful interview which was conducted by none other than Gerald Fialka, fellow former Zappa employee (he worked in the Barfko-Swill/ICA office and wrapped stuff so that it didn't break) and the guy directly responsible for my being hired by Frank (in that Gerald picked up the phone when I called and asked for a job, and actually passed on my information rather than dismissing it - it's scary to think what might've happened if someone else had answered the phone) and thus indirectly responsible for all the shit that has just gone down between me and the Zappas (although Gerald can hardly be blamed for that). A Fialka-moderated interview veers into many an area which would be considered foreign territory in your average musocentric interview. It was recorded for radio broadcast, and there are several publications where the piece might end up, so I'll keep you appraised of the progress in those areas. Gerry was also kind enough to show me a newspaper clipping about organist Korla Pandit, whose Hammond Organ and turban w/ruby were immortalized in the "Korla Plankton" verse of FZ's "Excentrifugal Forz".
Bryan and I have finished conceptualizing the contents of the initial batch of releases in the MK/BFD Video Club, and this Tuesday we converge upon Rich Lewis' home to begin compiling the actual video masters. While we're doing that, an LA videographer named Todd Dever is doing a pro edit of one of the shows we did with Travers, and Brad Gilson in San Diego is poring through the many hours of "Dust Speck" session video. When all is said and done we'll be making somewhere in the neighborhood of ten full-length videos available this year. Sheesh, are we nuts or what?
Another name you need to memorize is that of Michael Harrison, a filmmaker (meaning actual FILM rather than videotape). He donated a super-high quality DAT machine to use as we see fit, and the DAT which was recorded at the MI show a couple of weeks ago (and which is going to be released on CD this year, as half of "Half Alive In Hollywood") would not have been possible without the patronage of Mr. H. He'll be accompanying us on tour, and when we get to the West Coast Rich Lewis will meet up with us as well and the Karavan will be on its way. Michael is proving to be an essential addition to our little family.
I have other things to say, but I'm getting really amazingly tired. There won't be anything new up on the page for about a week 'cause Scott's going to Ireland for a little bit. Check out the giggage page - I need to start booking accomodations for the band in all these cities. So if anyone has any recommendations for decent places to stay, shoot me some email.
Damn, there's more to say but I'm literally passing out. If there's any typos it's because I'm delirious. If I think of other things to Type to you, I'll communicate them to you telepathically.
OK, I just fell asleep in this chair for a couple of minutes. I'm done, I'm done.
New Coen Bros. movie out. Gotta be there. Gotta damn well be there soon.