Mike Types To You
from Chatfield Manor
FZ's birthday 1998 8:15 PM
OK, first of all, I love you people to pieces. The staggering mounds of Christmas/birthday wishes, MK/BFD CDs which I didn't know existed and other cool stuff which I collected just today had to be liberated from my PO Box with six crowbars and a stick of dynamite. You are way too neat for words for sending me all these things. I've daintily begun listening to the tour CDs and tapes you've sent (I always need a break from my own music following a tour, but I am dipping my toe) and they are neat and fun, and even though this may be commercially unwise, I just LOVE going to the mailbox to get Keneally albums I've never even seen before. It's totally literally a dream come true. Maybe after people start selling them in Tokyo bootleg shops for forty dollars apiece I'll become more curmudgeonly on the topic, but right now it's bitchin' city.
(The next part of this was actually primarily written at Rich Pike's house a week and a half ago or so, although I'm doing some revisions on it right now.)
"As you've all no doubt ascertained during the four years of this website's existence (happy birthday to this website, by the way), I have a miserable habit of getting started with tour journals and not following through to the bitter end. Part of it is, I'll admit, a draining of enthusiasm regarding the task at hand, but more vitally, other tasks invariably rise to the fore and siphon away my attention and waking hours. In this case, within days of arriving home from tour I had to start woodshedding Ambrosia tunes for a show I did with them in Mammoth (Northern California) in late November. What fun the gig was! We also played live on radio and public access TV - I didn't get copies of those tapes, but presumably they're floating about somewhere. (I don't say things like that to annoy tape collectors, believe me, I'm just writing things which I believe to be true.) Then I had to start getting ready for two different album projects - the big time- eater being the new Vai album, which has a six-day a week, eight-hour a day recording schedule (it is day five as I write. Four songs exist on tape in varying degrees of undress, plus some stuff Steve had previously recorded on his own for another project which will probably be on this album. Oh, if you get his new CD "Flexable Leftovers," you may hear some familiar keyboard stylings on the opening track "Fuck Yourself," but you won't find your humble narrator's name in the liner notes. Yup, Steve forgot to give me credit for the performance. It's OK, though...he apologized profusely, and then he blew me). The less time-eating of the album projects is the new James LaBrie solo album - he's the lead singer for Dream Theatre, and I'm doing guitar on his album next week (Steve is kindly giving me a couple of days off from his sessions). Mike Mangini is the drummer on the LaBrie project, and wow hey, check this shit out, Beller is playing bass. Happy!"
OK, it's now Dec. 21 at the Manor again, and since writing the above, the first two-and-a-half week round of Vai recording has been completed. I played only keyboards (I'll be doing guitar overdubs on some of the tracks in January), and I believe we recorded 21 songs, of which I can't wait to hear at least eight of them again. Also Bryan's, Mangini's and my work on the LaBrie album is now completed, and it is going to be a very interesting album - I've never been involved in anything remotely like it before. My parts were done VERY quickly - I had zillions of overdubs to do in two days of sessions, and needed to sneak in another eight hours through the next two days to get them all done. There's all kinds of Zeppy rhythm parts and weird texture things. It's going to be a powerful record. It'll be coming out on the Magna Carta label, probably in about a week if the production schedule of the recording was any indication of their timetable.
Speaking of, "Time Table" was the Genesis tune which Bryan, Toss and I recorded for a Genesis tribute album in late 1997. The album has recently come out, with our track stricken from the running order. A real shame, as it was a very sweet rendition, but someone at the label has his head up his ass. Just thought I'd let you know so's you can mourn along with me.
There are a bunch of other albums that have either just come out or are about to come out that involve me, and I need to do discography entries for them...first of all, I think I forgot to do an entry for "Tar Tapes Vol. 2," isn't that right CEO Chatfield? That sucks. I also desperately need to do one for Chris Opperman's "Oppy Music Vol. One - Purple, Crayon." which is a fascinatingly marvelous and peculiar album that you need to order right now. I'll write more about that in the early part of '99. Then there's my mystery appearance on "Flexable Leftovers," and VERY significantly there's Neil Sadler's very formidable "Theory Of Forms" (which also features Beller, plus a slew of '88 FZ alumni) - lord, what a fine album this is. There's also Faux Pas' "This One's For The Children" which is one of the few kids' albums with a parental advisory on the cover - I worked on this album something like five years ago and it's finally coming out. It's hysterical. There's a second "Trummerflora" compilation, called, enticingly enough, "Trummerflora 2, with me making horrifying noises on the guitar on one live track with Ultra 7, recorded a few months ago at a gig in San Diego (the cops shut us down). And there's the second Jip album, "Not Altogether Unlikely," which is really wonderful - and I think that might be it. At least five, possibly six, of those albums are out now, so I'll do my discographical duties as promptly as time allows.
Anyhooo, the point I was about to make four paragraphs ago is that I've finally finished up the BFD '98 tour journals, so head over there and check it out.
Oh and hey, Spiegelhalter's album is really, really good, so make him send you one if he's got any left.
Happiest of holidays to you. 1999 will be ridiculously cool.