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hat. - Mike Keneally

hat.
Mike Keneally

Released 1992, remastered/expanded/reissued 2007

  1. Your Quimby Dollars At Work
  2. I Can’t Stop
  3. Ugy Town
  4. Open Up!
  5. Dhen Tin
  6. Spearmint Pup
  7. Fencing
  8. Always Man
  9. My Immense Superiority Over The Silverfish
  10. Eno And The Actor
  11. The Car Song
  12. Heaven Likes You/Apple Pie
  13. Backstage With Wilson Phillips
  14. Here Is What I Dreamed
  15. Here Is Why
  16. Performing Miracles
  17. Spoon Guy
  18. And That’s Why It’s Called Spunk
  19. Johnny One-Note/The Exciting New Toothpaste From Mars
  20. Day Of The Cow 1
  21. Snowcow
  22. Day Of The Cow 2
  23. We’re Rockin’ All Night With The Tangy Flavor Of Cheddar
  24. Rosemary Girl
  25. Lightnin’ Roy

Personnel: Mike Keneally: guitars, vocals, keyboards, bass, scront goont, percussion Doug Lunn, Scott Thunes, Doug Booth: bass Toss Panos, Alan Silverstein, Tom Freeman: drums, percussion

Guests: Mark DeCerbo, Kevin Gilbert, Gregory Page, Darryl Monroe, Carlos Olmeda, Cici Porter, Bob Tedde, Andy Vereen: vocals Marty Eldridge: percussion; Buddy Blue: dobro, vocals; Paul Abbott: acoustic guitar; Marty Keneally: guitar feedback

Producer: Mike Keneally

Mike’s comments (2013):

Everyone has to make a first album (everyone who makes albums does, anyway), and (barring the cassette-only Tar Tapes releases, which sort of count, but sort of don’t) this was mine. All these years later I’m still not ashamed of it…in fact, there are far fewer cringeworthy-moments for me on this album than on several that were to come; something to do with the purity of innocence, or not knowing enough yet to really screw things up. I was still heavily in thrall to Frank Zappa, and the music on hat. reflects that, as does the sequencing/pacing, the use of sped-up vocals, some of the lyrical content, the crazy-ass unison lines etc. etc.

It’s also the only record of mine that Frank actually heard, and to my delight he didn’t dismiss it as a second-rate copy of himself – he told me he thought it was “great” and went on to praise it in some interviews. At that point I could probably have given up album-making entirely and still considered the whole adventure a rousing success just on the basis of his approval, but I decided to forge on, until album-making became an addiction which I’ll happily never be able to shake.

This album contributed a bunch of songs to my live repertoire, many of which are still staples to this day: “Uglytown,” “The Car Song,” “Performing Miracles,” “I Can’t Stop,” “Lightnin’ Roy,” the “Cowlogy” (our shorthand setlist-speak for the trilogy of songs “Day of the Cow 1,” “Snowcow” and “Day of the Cow 2”), “Spoon Guy,” “Cheddar,” “Open Up!” and “Rosemary Girl” have all logged countless hours on many stages by a number of my bands, and a few of the other tunes have made occasional cameo appearances as well. There is something enduring about these early songs that makes them a real pleasure to return to time and again.

The full 14-minute “Lightnin’ Roy” (dedicated to Frank Zappa) has never gotten an airing on the live stage – instead a shortened, sort of fusion version (as heard on Guitar Therapy Live and Half Alive In Hollywood) was devised for performance purposes. The complete piece pretty much defines self-indulgence, but it’s something I’m very glad to have done and remain grateful to have been able to share it with the world, whether the world found it useful or not. Someday I’d really like to work up a live arrangement of the whole thing, but I always feel too guilt-ridden to force one of my bands to learn it. Someday I’ll get a budget to do the full-production worldwide tour of my dreams, with a whole frigging month of rehearsals to prepare for it with my musicians getting paid the whole time, and nothing will stop me then, boy.

There’s some crazy guitar playing on this record, some of my most unfettered and freewheeling ever recorded. There really is something to be said for not really knowing what you’re doing, sometimes. The harmonized guitar epic “Fencing” (so glad that I got Scott Thunes to play bass on this one, by the way) is a rigorous musical workout which demonstrates a lot of crazy, youthful hunger – I was truly obsessive about working out those harmonies. It was important!!! to do. And also really fun. Not a single one of my guitars was run through a standard guitar amp on this album, by the way – all the guitar recording was done direct through a SansAmp pedal. Pretty badass guitar tones, actually. The sounds I got on stuff like “Cheddar” and “Backstage With Wilson Phillips” were fairly face-shredding, I have to admit.

But some of my favorite moments on this album are the tiny, unassuming ones. “Spoon Guy” is a rarity for me in that all the parts were entirely written out on paper prior to playing it, and I do think there’s something special and complete about this recording, even though it’s barely over a minute long. It’s one of those times when there’s absolutely nothing I’d want to change about the final result.

Another track I really love is “Eno And The Actor,” and it might be because I don’t think anyone else understands why it exists. I’m not sure even I do, but it’s a little puff of absurdity that just makes me giggle a lot, the sort of thing where it just pleases me to no end that something so strange and indefensible is actually being listened to by a decent number of people in a variety of corners of the planet. It scratches a particularly idiosyncratic itch for me in a very satisfying way. I’m also delighted that Kevin Gilbert was able to play the role of The Actor – I’d wanted to do more work with him, in fact was planning to ask him to co-produce Sluggo!, but it wasn’t to be, so I treasure the small sliver of collaboration that we did manage to do. (He also sang the angelic backing vocals on “Heaven Likes You,” at one point slipping in a sly “Kevin likes you” as a secret message to y’all.)

Many of the players and singers on the album are drawn from the hotbed which was the early ‘90s San Diego music scene, including Doug Booth and Alan Silverstein, the rhythm section from the band my brother Marty and I had in the ‘80s, Drop Control. The songs they play on, like “Rosemary Girl,” “Performing Miracles,” “I Can’t Stop” and “The Car Song,” were all regularly performed as part of Drop Control’s live act.

Another buddy who’s no longer with us, Buddy Blue, provided dobro and a little opening narration assistance on “The Car Song.” Buddy was a great guy, a legend in San Diego roots rock and a hell of a journalist too – learn more about him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Seigal

When we set about preparing this album for reissue, I auditioned all available master tapes and learned something pretty startling: the digital tape containing all of the discreet pieces of music, PRIOR to digitally editing it all together, was unquestionably richer and more detailed sounding than the final, edited-together version released on CD in 1992. Somehow, the signal path or software that was used during the editing stage back in 1992 degraded the audio, and we didn’t catch it at the time (too excited by the idea of digital editing in the first place, I just wasn’t careful enough). So, we reverted back to the pre-edited master, and I replicated all of the original edits (with some intentional differences – I messed around with the pacing in certain sections, just for a laugh) – and also took advantage of the increased playing time now available on CD to include the complete versions of “Snowcow,” “Here Is Why,” “The Car Song” and “Lightnin’ Roy,” all of which I had to edit down for the original 1992 issue. Between the wildly improved audio, the newly restored music, and the vast quantity of valuable material included on the DVD that comes with the special edition (including a live take of “Here Is Why” with Doug Lunn and Toss Panos that I really enjoy a hell of a lot), the reissued hat. is a release I’m exceedingly happy with.


hat. – Standard Edition (Expanded & Remastered)
Mike Keneally

Exowax Recordings 2007

Promo copy:

“This album is the sound of someone who can’t believe he’s finally being allowed to make a real live solo album. I was giddy while making this album,” Mike wrote of his 1992 debut, hat.. “One listen to this thing and you’ll know a lot about what makes me tick.” Out of print for years, hat. has been remastered and music previously cut to fit a 1992 CD has been restored. “You’ll now be able to hear ‘Lightnin’ Roy’ the way it was supposed to be heard,” explains Mike, “and songs like ‘Snowcow’ and ‘The Car Song’ will have their guitar solos reinstated to their full fullness. All-in-all we were able to add in another three minutes of music which you should have heard fourteen years ago, so I’m plenty jazzed.” All Music Guide gives hat. four-and-a-half stars out of five. Mike is supported on hat. by the likes of Doug Lunn, Scott Thunes, Toss Panos, Mark DeCerbo and Kevin Gilbert.

Here are the songs on the remastered hat. CD:

  1. Your Quimby Dollars At Work
  2. I Can’t Stop
  3. Ugy Town
  4. Open Up!
  5. Dhen Tin
  6. Spearmint Pup
  7. Fencing
  8. Always Man
  9. My Immense Superiority Over The Silverfish
  10. Eno And The Actor
  11. The Car Song
  12. Heaven Likes You/Apple Pie
  13. Backstage With Wilson Phillips
  14. Here Is What I Dreamed
  15. Here Is Why
  16. Performing Miracles
  17. Spoon Guy
  18. And That’s Why It’s Called Spunk
  19. Johnny One-Note/The Exciting New Toothpaste From Mars
  20. Day Of The Cow 1
  21. Snowcow
  22. Day Of The Cow 2
  23. We’re Rockin’ All Night With The Tangy Flavor Of Cheddar
  24. Rosemary Girl
  25. Lightnin’ Roy

 


hat.SE - Mike Keneally

hat. – Special Edition (Expanded & Remastered)
Mike Keneally

Exowax Recordings 2007

Promo copy:

In addition to the expanded and remastered CD, the hat. Special Edition also contains a region-free NTSC DVD featuring bonus tracks, rare studio footage, vintage live concert material, interviews with participants, and video from a 2006 reunion of the original core band (Mike Keneally, Doug Lunn and Toss Panos) performing songs from both albums. And of course, the first 3000 copies of each Special Edition will be personally signed and numbered by Mike.

The hat. DVD includes

  • Footage from the 1992 recording sessions
  • An entire concert from 1993– the first Mike Keneally show under his own name, featuring the live debut of many hat. classics
  • A 2006 reunion session with Keneally, Doug Lunn and Toss Panos playing “Cheddar,” “Here Is Why” and “Here Is What I Dreamed”
  • Interview footage with key album participants
  • Other odds and ends, mostly odds
  • The “hat salad” function, which allows you the choice of experiencing these items in random order, an unpredictable banquet of entertainment chunks much like the original album.
  • Also– the DVD has an audio archive with nearly 30 additional tracks, including home demos, alternate mixes and the promo-only “Rosemary Girl” single mix

 


hat. (Original release)
Mike Keneally

Immune Records 1992; re-released by Guitar Recordings 1993

CD song list:

  1. Your Quimby Dollars At Work
  2. I Can’t Stop
  3. Ugly Town
  4. Open Up!
  5. Dhen Tin
  6. Spearmint Pup
  7. Fencing
  8. Always Man
  9. My Immense Superiority Over The Silverfish
  10. Eno And The Actor
  11. The Car Song
  12. Heaven Likes You/Apple Pie
  13. Backstage With Wilson Phillips
  14. Here Is What I Dreamed
  15. Here Is Why
  16. Performing Miracles
  17. Spoon Guy
  18. And That’s Why It’s Called Spunk
  19. Johnny One-Note/The Exciting New Toothpaste From Mars
  20. Day Of The Cow 1
  21. Snowcow
  22. Day Of The Cow 2
  23. We’re Rockin’ All Night With The Tangy Flavor Of Cheddar
  24. Rosemary Girl
  25. Lightnin’ Roy

Personnel:
Mike Keneally: guitars, vocals, keyboards, bass, scront goont, percussion
Doug Lunn, Scott Thunes, Doug Booth: bass
Toss Panos, Alan Silverstein, Tom Freeman: drums, percussion

Guests:
Mark DeCerbo, Kevin Gilbert, Gregory Page, Darryl Monroe, Carlos Olmeda, Cici Porter, Bob Tedde, Andy Vereen: vocals
Marty Eldridge: percussion; Buddy Blue: dobro, vocals; Paul Abbott: acoustic guitar; Marty Keneally: guitar feedback

Producer: Mike Keneally


Rosemary Girl - Mike KeneallyROSEMARY GIRL

promotional CD single (Immune/Guitar Recordings)

released in 1994

Mike’s comments (1997, edited for clarity 2013):

This was, supposedly, sent to radio stations by Guitar Recordings, but no airplay resulted. This version of “Rosemary Girl” is quite different from that on “hat.”; I added a bunch of guitars, re-sang the first verse, and added a new rhythm section: me on bass and engineer Jeff Forrest on drums. It’s a lot punchier than the version on “hat.,” but I should’ve double-tracked the vocals for that real glimpse of pop heaven. The single also contains “The Car Song” and a track labeled “???” (which is simply me saying “San-san-santa Claus, quintupla-time HAT,” one of the weird little segues from the album. Guitar Recordings wanted it on the single for some reason).


Releases:

Immune Records / IMM001 / 1992 (cd)
Guitar Recordings / 99303 / 1993 (cassette/cd)
Third Venture / TVCD201 / 1996 (cd)
Exowax / EX2301 / 2007 (cd)
Exowax / EX2301-1 / 2007 (SE cd/dvd)