1:41 AM Tuesday morning Jan. 14 1997
The Vai/BFD tour was wonderful and insane. Thank you for coming to see us if you did, and tons of thanks to those who reported on what they saw and heard. Bryan has written an amazing tour report, which I've read in full and am happy to endorse as the official final word on the tour. I didn't have the energy to document anything other than finances (and I can't believe Bryan did) and I don't now have the energy to relive it. I'll say that my favorite BFD shows of the tour were Ventura (which was the first BFD show of the tour, and not because it was such a spectacular performance, but because I was so giddy to actually be doing such a tour at all - after getting through both shows that night I was filled with an ecstasy so intense I was somewhat frightened by it) and Indianapolis (the show of immense anger. It was ironic because the day before that particular display Steve and I had spent most of a three hour car ride talking about positive vs. negative energy in popular music [after some experimentation Steve has come out firmly in favor of the positive, you shouldn't be surprised to discover]. Steve is a fascinating bug - I'd wager that his fans have no idea how down-to-earth he is on the one hand, and how genuinely spiritual on the other. I can say without hesitation that he is an inspiration to me in ways that go eons beyond the guitar, and that I'm now a better person for knowing him).
Beer For Dolphins performed heroically, miles above and beyond the call. Bryan is the king of my life. Toss played miraculously and bore up admirably under circumstances far more difficult than he should be forced to deal with at this point. Ed Lucas, our one-man crew who'd never been out of Southern California before, was understandably overwhelmed but his assistance was certainly appreciated by me, and considering the insultingly short notice he was given to decide whether or not to do the tour at all, I am forever grateful to him.
The audiences were wonderful - geez, I'd expected to be rudely heckled at least once (I'm sure I was, but it wasn't within earshot)! I wish I'd been able to concentrate on the crowd a bit more but I find that I keep my eyes clenched tight almost non-stop through BFD performances these days. I'm wide-eyed and bushy-tailed during the Vai set, so I got to check out the crowd in the latter part of the evening, which was always pleasant.
I'm leaving again on Jan. 19, heading off to Asia etc. I've just received an itinerary from Steve's management. If it's to be believed I'll be touring with Steve until August 31, with approximately two and a half weeks off during that time. I fully expect that some of the shows will fall through, some holes in the schedule will open, blah blah, but it seems clear that this year is going to be absolutely nuts.
I can't be polite about this: DON'T EMAIL ME, pleeeease (I guess I can be that polite, at least). I finally had to resort to a form letter to dispatch the obscene mound of mail that I received while I was gone in November and December, and that was with all my mail from Nov. 18 through Dec. 3 having mysteriously disappeared (I think someone sussed out my password somehow and thought it would be funny to kill a bunch of my mail. Also they spread the word somewhere on AOL that "Boil That" is actually Jenny McCarthy's email address, so I had to waste more time writing no-doubt-disappointing replies to bespectacled masturbators). My wife doesn't check my email, so if you NEED to get a message through to me please write to Suzanne at Immune Records, firstname.lastname@example.org, but only if you NEED to. I thank you a lot for your understanding regarding this matter.
Jan. 7 through 9 I was in San Diego sneaking in some studio time for the next Keneally album. I love what's happened so far. Here's the recording history of this project:
June 12 - Signature Sound, San Diego
Engineer: Mike Harris
Grand piano tracks for "I, Drum-Running, Am Clapboard Bound", "TRANQUILLADO" and "Sluggo"; mix on all three
Two days in late June '96 - Frank Briggs' studio, North Hollywood
Engineer: Frank Briggs
Musicians: Frank Briggs - drums, keyboard, sampling, sequencing
MK - bass, keyboard, sequencing
Working on "Pasion"
Jan. 7 - Double Time, San Diego
Engineer: Jeff Forrest
Drum tracks for "Drum-Running" and "TRANQUILLADO"; bass on "TRANQUILLADO"
Jan. 8 - Double Time
Engineer: Jeff Forrest
bass, guitars and synthesizer on "Drum-Running"; rough mix on "Drum-Running"
Jan. 9 - Double Time
Engineer: Jeff Forrest
Musicians: Joe Travers - drums
Bryan Beller - bass
MK - bell tree, synth, guitars
(first part of session: before Bryan and Joe arrive):
bell tree on "Drum-Running"; synths and guitar solo on "TRANQUILLADO"; acoustic guitars on "the ballad" (working title "Hold It A Minute For A Second"); rough mix on "TRANQUILLADO"
(second part: with Bryan and Joe):
guitar, bass and drums on "Looking For Feet", "Frozen Beef" and "Motor Skills (working title)"; bass and drums on "the ballad"; rough mixes on "Looking For Feet", "Frozen Beef", "Motor Skills" and "the ballad"
Recording drums on the 7th was a real blast. I was learning how to accomplish things on the spot and recording them immediately - a total feeling of discovery. For some sections, for which my still-remedial drumming proved still too remedial, I had to record the kit bit by bit - starting with a kick drum track, then overdubbing hi-hat, toms, snare etc. The results are apparently effective that both Scott Chatfield and Joe Travers thought it was a drum machine on first listening.
The session with Bryan and Joe on the 9th was hysterically fun. At one point I was so overcome with joy at Joe's playing during a playback that I had to leap up and embrace him, slowly pouring half my beer on the floor in the process (Bryan being too encumbered by equipment and disbelief to stop me). The lads had really only played "Frozen Beef" to any extent prior to the session (we'd touched on the ballad a long time before, but it had been so long it pretty much felt [to me at least] like a new song, and "Motor Skills", a tricky number, was sprung upon them at the session). Of course they ate everything up and spit it out onto tape brilliantly. This will be my most accessible album since "hat.", but it will also contain what I consider to be the best composing I've ever done. Hope you like it. Wish I had some time to work on it.
I'm done for the evening, but I'll try to stop by with at least a parting shot before I head off. Here's hoping the holiday provided profligate glee and that the year to come will continue in like fashion. Love you folks!
THE PARTING SHOT - Jan. 18 1996 11:21 PM
There's a cricket the size of an anaconda in here! Jesse's scared of crickets and I don't this one to linger on her sleeping face, so gotta go!