MIKE TYPES TO YOU right this moment and it's MARCH 30 and it's 1996 and it's 4:25:46 AM
Tonight (OK, last night, nitpickers) we played at Badlands in Lakeside, California (a licensed subsidiary of San Diego). Full-on sports bar, breaking bottles in the parking lot, gun rack vibe. While we were playing, Brad Teaby (leader of Jip) had his car broken into with a fucking sledgehammer and got his stereo ripped off. That's the environment - add the fact that it was Frank Briggs' first show with us, after barely a week and a half of rehearsal and circumstances were ripe for a disaster. So me and Bryan are hating life now, right? Nah. It was fun. Shaky at times, very new experience for the Bellermeister and myself, but a good wholesome musical fun time. Briggs leaves WIDE OPEN SPACES for me and Beller to run around in. It's almost disconcerting after the gleeful overplaying of our drum kids Toss and Travers. But then he'll burst forth with a spasmic display of virtuosity which takes us by surprise and puts smiles on faces. By the time we get another week of rehearsal under our collective belt and get on the road we'll have those pesty kinks worked out and all will be paisley and beautiful. Briggs is a magnificent drummer, and the regulars in the audience approved of him. Coolness.
Since you last heard from me, Beller and I have been crazily overworked. Bryan's young, handles it better - every once in a while my nervous system says TILT and I have to lie down. But we've gotten a lot accomplished, most specifically we've got four, nearly five videos assembled for the MK/BFD video club, using the equipment and hospitality of angel-of-mercy Rich Lewis. I think we've had four editing sessions so far. Five two-hour videos. Can we talk about GRUELING for a second? Can we talk about one evening where we all nearly LOST OUR MINDS and I had to actually leave the house and walk around in a short sleeve shirt in subzero temperature so I wouldn't start smashing expensive and pleasant equipment? But it's good material. We're inserting a lot of stupid shots of ourselves toiling in the video bay, at work, at play, some cool weird musical material which will be unique to these videos, in addition to the enormous quantity of live onstage stuff. I also found studio footage of the "hat" sessions which is being spread around a couple of the tapes, and an entire tape will be devoted to the "Dust Speck" sessions. You, if you care enough to be reading these words right now, will get a BIG kick out of these videos. Coming soon to a house near you, probably yours. We hope to have all eight titles (last time I said ten, it's actually going to be eight, at least for the first wave), available within a few months.
(4:12 PM - BAD NEWS UPDATE: examination of first generation dubs from the S-VHS masters have turned up UNACCEPTABLE SONIC ANOMALIES rendering a portion of the work we have done unreleasable. We need to go back into the video studio AFTER the BFD tour (which ends in early May), when we have clearer heads and more time, to do justice to the material and make sure that you, the consumer, are getting the best quality product we can offer. Trying to assemble vast quantities of video while simultaneously working in a new drummer is not a good idea. Time must be budgeted wisely, equipment must be mastered and tamed, for the sake of the product and of our sanity. This means you'll have to wait a little longer for the videos - it also means that they'll be worth waiting for. Sorry.)
The names of the videos:
THE HOODY-HEEDY-HOODY-HA GOODTIME SUNSHINE HOUR
THE L.A. RIOT (also featuring "hat" sessions)
VETERANS OF NAMM
THE CLUB LINGERIE SHOW
URINAL IN A CONVENT - A VIDEO SAMPLER
SOAP SCUM REMOVER
THE MAKING OF "BOIL THAT DUST SPECK"
Specifics regarding each title will be made available when it's appropriate to do so.
It's official: we'll begin recording the next Keneally studio album in early July, right around the time that the live BFD 2-CD set will be made available. You'll have more than enough things to buy this year.
OK, "Music For Pets". It's out now. I'll guess I'll have to stick it in the MK discography, cover art restrictions or no...I'll get around to it before we leave on tour. Maybe. The response to the CD from my email correspondents has been so overwhelmingly negative that I have to wonder if some people are going out of their way to bash it for my benefit. Gesture appreciated but unnecessary - I hereby grant you full permission to enjoy "Music For Pets" if you want to, even if Bryan and I have dog heads on it. Oh, by the way, Bryan and I have dog heads on "Music For Pets". What? The band picture on the inside front cover of the booklet, which featured all five Z-heads on the French issue, now has dog heads where Mike and Bryan heads once protruded. DZ actually delayed the release of the album a couple of extra weeks just to alter the artwork so we could be dogs. Several people have encouraged us to sue the Zappas in response to this defacement of our likenesses. Not only can't we afford it, it would be a huge honking distraction from much more important business. So me and Bryan have dog heads. Actually when I first saw it I thought it was cute and funny, and I was pleased to have at least received reasonably proper credit for what I did on the CD, and then Bryan and I read the Music For Pets Website and it was REALLY funny, and also that same day I read an article about me in a San Diego publication called Chord, wherein the well-meaning author, in the process of singing my praises, felt compelled to utterly trash DZ, which I thought was somewhat uncalled for - anyway the confluence of all these events gave rise to a momentary wistfulness, a bit of nostalgia for the old days, a thought that "gee, it's too bad it all had to end that way etc. etc.". Then Bryan reminded me that me and Bryan have fucking Dog HEADS on the new Z CD and I got over it.
Beller and I went into a deli and there was Ahmet (this happened last week). It was a great and happy thing for me. We hung for over an hour. It was a page out of yesterday, as though nothing unseemly had happened. I adore Ahmet and I'm glad that our relationship seems to be unaffected by what's occurred. If he ever was to ask me to work on a non-Z project of his I'd come a-runnin'. Oh, if you ever get a chance to view the twenty-minute video press kit that Dweezil put together to promote "Music For Pets" you will understand as you have never understood before how unbelievably hysterical Ahmet is. He is PAINFULLY funny.
Bryan's sitting next to me as I write and he's realizing that the next "Life Of Bryan" is going to be just as ridiculously long and unwieldy as all the other installments have been. (BB: "big fucking suprise") The only negative feedback he's gotten to his writing has been regarding its superhuman length. What are you gonna do? He's got a lot to say. I for one enjoy the hell out of it. Hey, it's too long for you? Go take a bath.
I also loved the writing of Brad Dahl on Bryan's "the best of my email" installment. Go read it again if you don't remember what I'm talking about...he's the poison control guy. His stuff is unbelievably funny. Brad emailed us a review of "Music For Pets" - he mostly liked it I think. Bryan will tell you more.
What else? I'm working on the liner notes for "Half Alive In Hollywood", and still have to edit CD #2. I've been having to do drum charts for Briggs. I still have to do charts for "Day Of The Cow 2" and the live "Lightnin' Roy" and "Top Of Stove". Any volunteers? I need them by Tuesday. Actually, on the serious tip, I'm getting more and more interested in making the music from "hat" and "Speck" available in printed form - solos and all. Requests for the stuff are always coming in, and I agree that they'd make a great couple of books. What I don't have is the time or, frankly, the transcription chops to do the material justice - I never really boned up on my dynamics markings and all that. What would be more bitchin' is to have a royal hotshot transcriber human do the hard work and I could check it for accuracy. I guess I'm trolling for candidates to fulfill this function. Anyone interested? The money would suck! I'm not on a payroll anymore!
In the rampant paranoia dep't.: word on the street has it that the matriarch of a certain Amercian show-business family is having my solo albums examined for evidence of my having plagiarized the patriarch. Jesus. Personal note to Mrs. Matriarch, whom I still respect tremendously: you won't find anything, and there are FAR more constructive uses of your time and energy available to you. Love, Mike.
There've been requests for the return of "Mike's Likes", and I've just done a batch, so go look at them.
Jesse, Jesse, Jesse. Oh my God she's stunning. (This is my daughter for those of you who are catching up.) She'll be 2 in May and she is just so damned perfect, sheer joy for me. She knows the alphabet, can sing or recite it and can identify each letter, out of order even. Her vocabulary has grown to the point that it actually surprises me when she utters a sentence that doesn't make perfect sense. OK, I'll keep the fatherly beaming to a minimum, but I jcan't say enough good things about this kid. I love her, love her, I love my wife too. Couldn't live without them. Viv (my wife) just had a birthday on the 22nd. We saw "Fargo" and loved it of course. More on that over at "Mike's Likes".
What else? I'm jazzed that I'll be playing both with BFD and The Mistakes in Santa Cruz and San Francisco. Actually I'm jazzed about the whole upcoming tour, even though it's going to strangle my guts to be away from Viv and Jesse for that long. Intellectually I'm resigned to having to be away from home a lot this year - a LOT of lost touring time to make up for - but emotionally it will unquestionably take its toll. At least I'll have the guys around to keep me from getting too distraught. Bryan understands my moods. If you see me on this tour, buy me a beer, I'll need it.
What else? Gifts. At the show last night (it's 6:16 AM now, so it really is last night) I got a gorgeous custom MK/BFD knit cap from The Ladies (four wonderful women who faithfully attend the shows - thanks for everything, Ladies) and a twisted rainbow-colored Strat-style guitar from Chris Henry, guitarist from Faux Pas whose childrens' album I produced and which is scheduled for August release. I love it when people give me guitars.
OK, this is getting almost as long as a Bryan installment, and I really ought to go to sleep, but I'm pretty wired actually. The Chatfields have a brand new pool out back, maybe I'll do forty or fifty laps before nappin'.
You people rock. See you soon.