All posts by Mr Exowax

REST IN PEACE DOUG LUNN

Me at left, Gregg Bendian in the middle, and Doug Lunn at right, during a photo shoot in Leucadia, CA on March 18, 2014 at 11:45am.

Doug Lunn set me free in 1992.

I thought I knew how to do jazz-inspired improvisation in a rock context prior to then, but it was only when I placed myself in his guiding hands (in tandem with Toss Panos) that the horizon began to reveal itself.

I was honored to have Doug and Toss play on my debut album hat. in 1992, along with a number of other wonderful players. When I decided to take to the stage in support of that album, Doug and Toss were the people I chose to use, and in rehearsals in Toss’ backyard studio I saw how my songs as recorded were actually just blueprints – in their expert hands it was revealed to me just how far into the stratosphere these strange little songs could be piloted.

I had done some jamming out with my own bands in the eighties, and been involved with some pretty crazy free improv episodes during Zappa ’88, but when I got in a rehearsal room with Doug and Toss there was a palpable sensation of new ground being broken in practically every song I played with them.

Toss played with time in the most engaging way imaginable and made me feel that all rhythmic possibilities were valid. But it was Doug’s fearless harmonic underpinnings that opened my eyes, ears and sensibilities wider than I’d ever thought possible.

This song demonstrates to me what Doug’s brilliance afforded my music: “Backstage With Wilson Philips.”

This is actually the improv section from an alternate version of “We’re Rockin’ All Night With The Tangy Flavor Of Cheddar.” It delighted me to the extent that I edited it out and turned it into its own track. It’s like one long bar that shifts, stretches, contracts and congeals, then breaks down and rebuilds itself. Doug and Toss are in charge of constructing the skeleton and I’m left free to explore any avenue I desire on its bones, with utter confidence that they will not let me fall. I’m so grateful for this song because I think, more than any other single recorded example, it brings back to me the way it felt to play with these two gentlemen and have musical mysteries revealed, peeled back and solved simply by way of their example.

We did some unbelievable gigs right off the bat. The full video concert on the DVD that comes with the 2007 hat. Special Edition reissue will give you some indication.

On Dust Speck we had a little more time in the studio to experiment and I was delighted to utilize Doug more extensively in the orchestrations. He told me about the Mick Karn approach to bass recording: double-tracking the bass part with one fretless bass and one fretted bass. His work on the song “Blameless” is just so beautiful.

This was the song where a part of one of the bass tracks – just a couple of bars – was accidentally erased, and Doug made the drive from LA to San Diego without hesitation to fix it. This was back in the firmly analog days – there was no feasible way to patch in his part from another section of the performance, it had to be replayed. This act of unquestioning generosity is entirely indicative of what sort of a person Doug was. He contained such reservoirs of selflessness and giving. It’s humbling even to be inspired by him.

(It was also Doug who instantly noticed during those sessions, after Toss asked the immortal question “do we need beer for ‘Dolphins’?” [meaning, did we need to procure and consume some inspiring beverages before attempting a take on the song “Them Dolphins Is Smart”], that the initials for the phrase “Beer For Dolphins” were BFD. I decided at that instant that it needed to be my band’s name. That never would have occurred to me without Doug’s insight, which was always instantaneous and acute.)

(And I’m further reminded of other Lunn-ian inspirations that continued to yield fruit for quite literally decades to come. The weird little piece at the beginning of hat., “Your Quimby Dollars At Work” – that was never meant to be more than a little cameo, an opening gesture, not really a composition of any great import, but during a lengthy Shankar soundcheck while Doug, Toss and I were standing around for hours waiting for something to happen, Doug suggested taking that theme and slowing it wayyyyyy down. This extended variation on the theme ended up as the opening piece at countless BFD and MKB shows since, and always proved to be a great entryway into a gig, a way of blowing off the events of the day and venturing resolutely into the sacred head- and heart-space of live performance.)

Doug was a master. Not only as a bassist, although his voice on that instrument was unparalleled – he could throw down brilliantly on drums and piano and more besides, and had a compositional sense that was so confident and cool and surprising and breathtaking. Actually he was one of the best and sophisticated composers I ever had the honor to meet. I hope that more people will discover his Doug Lunn Project album. It is a tour de force.

Here’s a live arrangement of one of that album’s songs done at a recent Keneally/Bendian/Lunn gig: “Dyslexia Mango Nixon.”

Doug and I could talk for ages about Miles, Coltrane, Monk – he knew everything about this music that there was to know, and I learned so much from these discussions. It was a privilege to place myself under his tutelage – I somehow felt that he had a direct line to the source of this music. I have an especially fond memory of having played Coltrane’s “Crescent” at the Baked Potato, with Doug, Rick Musallam and Chad Wackerman. I only wish that we’d been able to do more gigs with that lineup!

In recent years it was a pleasure and an honor to work with him a lot more often, often in partnership with our brilliant friend Gregg Bendian. Here is a little segment from an idyllic afternoon spent practicing in Scott Chatfield‘s living room: “Out On The Tiles.”

In addition to the challenging and adventurous Keneally Bendian Lunn gigs we undertook, I was delighted to work with Doug and Gregg on Scambot 2. What a fantastic thing to record with Doug on an album of mine again, nearly twenty years after our last studio work on Dust Speck. He and Gregg did genius work on two of the stranger, more intricate pieces on the album (“Pretzels” and “Clipper”), but my favorite Doug moment on SB2 is his execution of some very simple lines on the latter half of “Scores Of People.”

That flowing bass tone starting at 3:27 – double-tracked in the classic Karn style – feels like a river of stars to me.

Doug was a beautiful, honorable, elegant, smart, brilliantly funny, just-cynical-enough and eminently wise man. I ache for his loved ones in the wake of his passing. I am grateful he no longer suffers. I love him so much.

–Mike

Much New Year’s News!

Happy Tuesday the seventeenth day of the new year!

I got a really amazing Rudolph mask for Christmas – it covers my entire head. What else could I possibly need?

Here are things!:

THE DRAWINGS from the SOUTH AMERICAN TOUR

I lob wide swaths of thank yous to everyone who ordered things at The Keneally Store in December, and thus became eligible to receive one of a bunch of pictures I drew during the December South America Satriani tour (such as the one you see here). I will soon place all of your names into the Rudolph head I just got for Christmas, and pull out the names of the winners, and then I’ll ship the drawings out next week. Good luck! Good luck, I say!

MK/BFD at X-JAMM in ANAHEIM on JAN. 21

I’m excited as cuss that the Beer For Dolphins quartet is going to play at:

X-JAMM!
presented by Blue Mouth Promotions

M3 Live Anaheim Event Center
2232 S. Harbor Blvd.
Saturday, January 21
5:30 pm
(Right down the street from the NAMM show)

It also features
Tony MacAlpine
Andy Timmons
The Travis Larson Band
Mark Lettieri of Snarky Puppy
Teddy Kumpel
Cameron Allen

In addition, very special guest Andy West will appear (and Andy Timmons, Travis Larson and myself will be playing a venerable Dixie Dregs classic with him).

So come see this! It’s 20 bucks at the door – ticket sales begin at the venue at 1pm on the day of the show (no advance tickets). No NAMM badge required to see this show! Just show up!

(If you are attending the convention itself, I’ll be signing photos at the KORG booth on Friday, Jan. 20 at 5pm. Jordan Rudess and Billy Sherwood will be there signing photos as well. Three guys, just a-signin’ a bunch of photos. Skritch skritch skritch. Or psss psss psss. That’s the sound of Sharpies.)

BAKED with BRENDON SMALL and STEVE AGEE
JAN. 28 as part of A NIGHT ON BROADWAY

I haven’t done a BAKED show with Brendon and Steve in several small forevers. So color me sizzling with gladness to be doing it again. Joe Travers will drum and Walter Ino will bass, and there will be comedians! Jugglers (not really)! Fire-breathers (not really)!

It’s part of an event called A Night On Broadway in downtown LA, wherein all or many of the classic and venerable (yes, I’ve used the word “venerable” twice so far. Three times now!) theaters of that region are simultaneously occupied by various entertainment people, so as to produce a huge night of ENTERTAINMENT spanning the entire downtown area. Fun! Epic! Venerable! We did it last year and it was “an hoot.”

Our venue is the Palace Theatre at 630 S. Broadway. It’s beautiful! Look at it! I don’t think we know our time slot yet, or how much the tickets are, but here’s the link for the whole A Night On Broadway event. Right now that site is a husk, an empty shelf, but the details will presumably be posted there once those details exist.
SATRIANI IN ASIA

The Shockwave continues! Joe Satriani and his band of scoundrels (me, Bryan Beller and Marco Minnemann) will be finishing up our touring in support of the Shockwave Supernova album next month in Asia. We’re playing Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, Thailand and Singapore in a two-week run. All the details are here at Joe’s website.

The December South American tour had some of the wildest playing we’ve ever done, and I’m excited for us to play again. I’m also very glad to be going back to Asia – it’s been a long time!

SOME ENTICING ITEMS FROM THE WORLD OF ONLINE

Here’re some things that have popped up lately on the web, which is wide as the world:

I did Jude Gold’s “No Guitar Is Safe” podcast. (It’s episode 36 – click link and scroll down a little bit to find it.) For this podcast, Jude sets up two amp rigs in the interview space so both he and his interviewee can play anytime the muse dictates. So this is nearly two hours of us playing whatever and talking about stuff. Jude is a great guy and this was really freaking fun to do. Thanks Jude for asking me to do it!

Excerpts from this interview with Jude can also be read with your eyes in the February 2017 issue of Guitar Player magazine. On newsstands now!

*

Here’s an interview with AXS.com. Thank you to Kevin Wierzbicki for asking me a small but thought-provoking batch of questions that found me in a talkative mood.

*

I recently went to the home of Anthony Garone, who is the lynchpin of Make Weird Music, which is a website devoted to guess what? You’re right! I did a house concert at Anthony’s for a bunch of demonstrably wonderful people, with Andy West guesting on bass for 10 of the songs. We had us a time, and I can’t thank Anthony enough for inviting us to play.

The following morning Anthony asked me to play through the song “You Must Be This Tall,” and he made a video of it. Then a few days later a young guitarist named Yvan Cluet did a bitchin’ transcription of my performance in the video. Yvan hears “1” in a different place than I do (clue: I hear the very first guitar note as starting on the “3”). Check it out!

Anthony also made a recording of Andy and I having a good time talking about music for about a half hour – there’s video, audio and text of this discussion on this page (thanks to Julie Cord for transcribing this conversation). Many things are discussed: Moby Dick…Mahavishnu…what Crazy Backwards Alphabet were thinking while they were playing…diving deeper into Satriani’s music…lots and lots of topics. It’s a good time. (I’m real glad that I get to play with Andy in Anaheim next week.)

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Tabletop Genesis – this is a seriously fun podcast that allowed me to get my Genesis geekdom on in a maximum-power sort of way. During the recent BFD East Coast tour, I talked with Michael Lord and Eli Noetinger for an hour-long episode of their podcast. It’s Episode 18 (as of January 13 it’s the episode at the top of the page). Yakking on and on about what we love about Genesis = TOO MUCH FLIPPING FUN. I could easily have jabbered for another two hours. Thanks Michael and Eli!

AND NOW I BID YOU ADIEU AND I WOULD ASK ONLY THAT YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND BE KIND TO OTHERS AND HAVE A GOOD TIME

See ya!

Love,
Mike


Scambot 2 Factoids

We’re shipping the 2-CD Scambot 2 signed and numbered limited edition of 2000. The double-CD set consists of the Scambot 2 album (65 minutes of music) and the Inkling album (48 minutes of music) in a colorful digi-pak, with two handsome booklets nestled within. You’ll get an immediate download of Scambot 2 as soon as you pre-order. (You’ll have to wait until your CD set arrives to hear Inkling, which, by the way, features the brilliant RICK MUSALLAM on the song “Cram”!!)

Scambot 2 itself is also available as a single-album paid download. (Inkling won’t be available as a download – it’s only available as part of the 2-CD set.)


SCAMBOT 2

1. In The Trees (10:28)
2. Roots Twist (3:02)
3. Sam (3:20)
4. Clipper (4:36)
5. Forget About It (0:46)
6. Pretzels (4:25)
7. Buzz (4:32)
8. Race The Stars (3:44)
9. O (1:26)
10. Roll (6:23)
11. Constructed (3:46)
12. Freezer Burn (5:23)
13. Scores of People (5:22)
14. Cold Hands Gnat (4:00)
15. Proceed (3:19)


INKLING (More from the Scambot 2 Sessions)

1. Presence (0:48)
2. Scambot (2:17)
3. Boghe (4:01)
4. Sickness (2:01)
5. The Coma (2:11)
6. I Named You (0:45)
7. Falafel (1:29)
8. O Elastic Love! (1:23)
9. Cram (8:10)
10. Mystery Song (0:04)
11. E (0:37)
12. The Scorpions (5:32)
13. Skating Backwards (2:15)
14. Tom (7:01)
15. Mayday! (1:25)
16. Lovesong (1:27)
17. Back It Up (2:54)
18. Inkling (1:37)
19. Uncompressed Rag (2:04)

South America Satriani tour! Win free MK original drawings! Maybe!

Hotel Entirely Delightful, Mexico City, Dec. 1 2016

Hello dear friends – I hope you’re finding a great deal of happiness this holiday season.

I’ll be in South America for two-thirds of this here month of December, playing with Joe Satriani, Bryan Beller and Marco Minnemann starting tonight in Mexico City.

Now it’s a few hours later – I’m in the dressing room after soundcheck/rehearsal, and I got to say it’s a pleasure to be back in Satch world – soundcheck was super fun and I’m really looking forward to these gigs!

Here are the tour dates of destiny:

MIKE KENEALLY
playing in JOE SATRIANI’S BAND
also totally featuring BRYAN BELLER and MARCO MINNEMANN:

December 1
Teatro Metropolitan, Mexico City, MX

December 4
Teatro Coliseo, Santiago, CL

December 7
EDA (Espaco das Americas), Sao Paulo, BR

December 9
Net Live Curitiba, Curitiba, BR

December 11
Teatro Araujo Vianna, Porto Allegre, BR

December 13
Teatro de Verano, Montevideo, UY

December 15
Plaza de la Musica, Cordoba, AR

December 16
Luna Park, Buenos Aires, AR

December 17
Teatro El Circulo, Rosario, AR


While on the road this month, I am feeling a very specific desire to do a batch of ridiculous drawings.

Such as these two I did last night in the hotel.

I enjoy doing these whilst touring. If the hotel stationary is any good I’ll sometimes use that, but otherwise I just do them in the sketchbook I brung with me.

I was thinking that some of you folks might enjoy getting a hold of one of these absurd things, so we’ve decided this:

THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF MAYBE

For the month of December 2016, anyone who buys anything from the Mike Keneally Store will be entered in a contest to receive one of the drawings I do during this tour.

After the beginning of the new year, Scott Chatfield will give me the names of everyone who ordered stuff during December, and I will randomly choose names (from a hat!) and send each winner one of the drawings. I’m absolutely gonna do twelve drawings, but maybe more. Your chances of winning are increased by how creative I feel.

The drawings will be shipped separately from the merchandise you order (in case your order is meant as a holiday gift, I don’t want to hold up the shipment waiting for me to get home from the road – plus I want to keep this contest thing going for the entirety of December).

This applies to both physical and digital purchases – everyone who orders anything from us in December has an equal shot at getting a drawing.


And finally, here are a bunch of new me-related things you might like to see and/or hear:

A video of me messing around with a great big pile of super-fun Pigtronix pedals, including the enticing Infinity Looper.

A video of me playing the song “Roll” for EMGtv – I played four different Scambot 2 songs for EMG pickups, which they will be rolling out (so to speak!) over the next few months… this is the first one.

A new interview for Music Street Journal.

And a Scambot 2 review also from Music Street Journal.

A new interview for Guitar Mania.

And a Scambot 2 review from Guitar Mania.

Another Scambot 2 review, from The Progressive Aspect.

A nice interview with Highway 81 Revisited.

Another interview, this one for Ticket.

And this podcast interview for The Prog Report.

There you go, a bunch of stuff to keep you busy while you’re not shopping. I offer thanks to the many journalists who’ve been keeping me yapping or typing recently, it is much appreciated.

As are you!!

Sending love,
Mike


Scambot 2 Factoids

We’re shipping the 2-CD Scambot 2 signed and numbered limited edition of 2000. The double-CD set consists of the Scambot 2 album (65 minutes of music) and the Inkling album (48 minutes of music) in a colorful digi-pak, with two handsome booklets nestled within. You’ll get an immediate download of Scambot 2 as soon as you pre-order. (You’ll have to wait until your CD set arrives to hear Inkling, which, by the way, features the brilliant RICK MUSALLAM on the song “Cram”!!)

Scambot 2 itself is also available as a single-album paid download. (Inkling won’t be available as a download – it’s only available as part of the 2-CD set.)


SCAMBOT 2

1. In The Trees (10:28)
2. Roots Twist (3:02)
3. Sam (3:20)
4. Clipper (4:36)
5. Forget About It (0:46)
6. Pretzels (4:25)
7. Buzz (4:32)
8. Race The Stars (3:44)
9. O (1:26)
10. Roll (6:23)
11. Constructed (3:46)
12. Freezer Burn (5:23)
13. Scores of People (5:22)
14. Cold Hands Gnat (4:00)
15. Proceed (3:19)


INKLING (More from the Scambot 2 Sessions)

1. Presence (0:48)
2. Scambot (2:17)
3. Boghe (4:01)
4. Sickness (2:01)
5. The Coma (2:11)
6. I Named You (0:45)
7. Falafel (1:29)
8. O Elastic Love! (1:23)
9. Cram (8:10)
10. Mystery Song (0:04)
11. E (0:37)
12. The Scorpions (5:32)
13. Skating Backwards (2:15)
14. Tom (7:01)
15. Mayday! (1:25)
16. Lovesong (1:27)
17. Back It Up (2:54)
18. Inkling (1:37)
19. Uncompressed Rag (2:04)