You Must Be This Tall from 2013 is probably one of the less-discussed titles in my album catalogue, but I think it’s really nifty.
I’ve been thinking more about this album since the BFD gigs at the Baked Potato a few weeks ago, during which the song “Cornbread Crumb” was featured pretty heavily (as it will be again at our upcoming gigs at Alvas). The album is an eclectic collection of mostly instrumental material (although there are four vocal tracks, including “The Rider” which is one of my most classic-rock-type tunes), largely played by me, and I think it makes for a very involving listen.
The CD has been out of print for a while, so when Scott Chatfield proposed it as the newest addition to our Bandcamp roster for this week’s Bandcamp Friday, I metaphorically leapt to my feet, and literally said “yes!” with great enthusiasm.
Fortifying this Bandcamp release is the addition of three bonus tracks: “Pitch Pipe (Vocal Version)” (which is completely bonkers), “The Upkeep of My Volcano” (a radical reinvention of the song “Kidzapunk”), and “Popes Instrumental Mix” (which is just groovy as heck). Plus some additional artwork and promo ephemera which come to you alongside the complete original artwork in digital format. It’s a neat package of neat stuff.
Just in case you never got this album when it first came out, this might be a nice opportunity for you to invite it into your life. And even if you do have it already, perhaps the bonus enticements will, er, entice you.
It premieres on our Bandcamp page THIS FRIDAY, March 1, aka Bandcamp Friday. Yes! (And as yet another enticement, the artists get every cent o’ the dough you spend on Bandcamp Friday!)
NEW KENEALLY/RADULOVICH COLLABORATION: it’s called TUESDAY
Marcelo Radulovich and I released two albums last year, called Monday and Bask – now comes the sequel to the first one, the all-instrumental Tuesday (do you sense the beginning of a trend?).
This ongoing series of albums can be viewed as an episodic examination of Marcelo’s and my friendship and musical collaboration, which has gone on for decades now. Or can just be viewed as a bunch of really unusual and hopefully interesting music.
Tuesday has got a lot more of me on guitar than Monday did, but it’s a minimalistic approach compared to my usual playing, and almost cinematic at times in its vibe. Marcelo’s arrangements, production choices and multi-instrumental contributions remain as vibrant and unique as ever.
Please investigate Tuesday, which premieres on Bandcamp Friday, along with our other two collaborations and Marcelo’s many other stellar projects here.
GIGS A-COMIN’: BFD at ALVAS, and ONE SHOT DEAL at THE GRAPE and CAMPUS JAX
Gonna sneak in a few gigs in March –
Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins (me, Rick Musallam, Pete Griffin and Joe Travers) will be appearing at Alvas in San Pedro on March 29 and 30, 8pm each night. These gigs are going to be absurd, I can tell already. You should be there.
Alvas is at 1417 W. 8th Street, San Pedro, California 90732. I love it there and I love this band.
Me: voice, guitar, limited keys Bryan Beller: maximum bass Nick D’Virgilio: drums and life-saving vocal abilities Rick Musallam: guitar and utterly sweet vocals as well Tricia Williams: magical vibes and percussion Marc Ziegenhagen: wizardly keyboards of varying sorts Evan Francis: direct line back to Trane and Dolphy via sax and flute
This is an audience recording, one of unusual fidelity and vibrancy. I subjected it to some light remastering this week and I think it delivers a hugely effective jolt of early-oughts BFD excitement.
Everyone plays their heads off. And I find it very interesting to hear non-Dancing songs interpreted in Dancing-style big band arrangements – there were a lot of arrangement details on this short tour that were unique to this band, and which I’d forgotten about. For me it’s very great to hear these arrangements again, and I hope you get a kick out of it also.
Free at Last (aka the coda to Selfish Otter) (3:35)
Why Am I Your Guy? (5:11)
We’ll Be Right Back (8:45)
This show of ours, opening for Project/Object, was lovingly recorded by a faithful audience member – really nice frequency range, and you can totally feel the room – but we don’t know the identity of the audient who did the taping. We will happily credit the unknown recordist once/if their identity is made known to us. Is it YOU?
We are very pleased to premiere Live at Lynagh’s as our first Bandcamp-exclusive album (meaning, this is the first Bandcamp release we’ve put out which has never before been released in any format), in recognition of the first Bandcamp Friday of 2024.
(As a reminder: Bandcamp Friday is the day – always the first Friday of a specific month, and usually several times a year – that Bandcamp takes no percentage of income from purchases. On Bandcamp Friday, all money goes to the artist/label. In a cultural environment where musicians really have to struggle to find income streams that make any kind of sense, this is no small potatoes.)
We think this is a special concert recording and we’re very happy to make it available to you. Please! Please, enjoy!
MK/BFD will be at ALVAS on MARCH 29/30
Speaking of potatoes, small and otherwise, the two nights of Beer For Dolphins at the Baked Potato that just happened on January 18/19 were absolute balm for my soul. It had been about a year since I’d played any of my own songs live and it was a true pleasure – such a fantastic response from the crowds and the staff, and the guys in my band (Joe Travers, Pete Griffin and Rick Musallam) were in magnificent form. (Even Bryan Beller unexpectedly popped up, in a very narrow window of his busy touring schedule, and played “Performing Miracles” with us on the second night.) Both nights, all four sets, were filmed by our long-time pal Steve Laub, and maybe there will be something on those tapes that we’ll be sharing at some point.
I am still buzzing from those Potato gigs, so it delights me to report that MK/BFD shall be returning soon to the Southland, on March 29 and 30 at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro. (Is San Pedro part of “The Southland”? I say yes.) Travis Larson will be opening for us solo, and the magnificent Jen Majura will be manning the merch table. Come say hi!
Working on booking more shows! If you own a venue and want MK/BFD to play in it, get in touch!
MK guesting with ONE SHOT DEAL on MARCH 9 and 15
I will once again (or should I say twice again) be sitting in with Joe Travers’ remarkable Zappa band One Shot Deal, during March. On the 9th we’ll be at the Grape in Ventura, and on the 15th at Campus Jax in Newport Beach.
Tickets to the show at The Grape are not yet available online, but you can call and bug them about that at (805) 212 6130.
Tickets to the Campus Jax gig are entirely available here.
PROGJECT REPORT – JUNE 29 and 30 with BILL BRUFORD in NY and PA
There will be lots more ProgJect action this year; shows are in the works for a number of venues around the world. It’ll be great to get this band to a bunch of new places and countries. Details will be shared when they become available – but for now, the first two shows to be announced are at Sony Hall in NYC on June 29, and the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA on June 30.
We will be double-billed with a very special guest at both of these shows: Bill Bruford, being interviewed by Innerviews’ Anil Prasad. (Bill will not be playing – as you probably know, he doesn’t play publicly anymore – but Bill simply speaking is hugely entertaining in and of itself.) These will be very special evenings indeed.
IT’S THE HAPPY HAPPY DAY MIKE KENEALLY VIDEO PARTY FEATURING DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER ETHAN COEN!!
Hi! I’m famed director/screenwriter Ethan Coen!
No I’m not, I’m still just Mike, but I wanted to point you towards a bunch of videos that have premiered online since the last time I spoke to you here.
• Let’s start The Happy Happy Day Mike Keneally Video Party with a video of Steve Vai’s real-time responses to Mikko Keinonen’s videos for my songs “Big Hit Song” and “Celery” from The Thing That Knowledge Can’t Eat. Steve’s responses are fascinating, generous and wise.
The video of Steve watching my videos is here. The original “Big Hit Song” video is here. And the original “Celery” video is here.
• Continuing the video party, we find the delightful Chanan Hanspal interviewing me – he’s done a number of excellent Zappa and XTC-themed vids pretty recently – check out his YouTube channel – so it’s not too shocking that he eventually found his way to me. He’s a superb cat (brilliant guitarist as well) and I sure enjoyed speaking to him in this vid.
• I recently guested on a track by The Powhida/Perdomo Hotline, a cover of a deep Hall and Oates cut I’ve always loved, “Don’t Blame it on Love.” I was real happy to be asked to take part in this cover, especially when I found out the bassist would be John Siegler, the amazing bassist on the first two Todd Rundgren’s Utopia albums (if you tell me to think of a classic solo bass moment on a prog record, I will involuntarily and immediately think of John Siegler’s ultra-cool solo passage in “Freak Parade” from the first Utopia album. It’s one of those musical moments that make life worth living, and I love that I’m on a track with him now).
John Powhida and Fernando Perdomo both bring the rock hugely on this song. Let the Happy Happy Day Video Party rage on with “Don’t Blame it on Love.”
• Let’s invite the avant-garde to the party! One of my favorite albums for decades now has been 1977’s Kew. Rhone. by John Greaves, Peter Blegvad and Lisa Herman, and if you know this album too I think you’ll agree with me that it is undersung, so I was delighted to bring it to the attention of Vaylor Trucks (another brilliant guitarist and great guy), for him to dive into at length on an episode of his YouTube series “The Albums I Have Missed.” His dissertation on the album is inspiring, and he was kind to have me onscreen at various crucial junctures to have my say on the matter as well.
• Where to now St. Peter? Let’s go to the Garden of Earthly Delights for a long dive into my history with XTC, Andy Partridge, Wing Beat Fantastic and Oranges & Lemons. I had a talk with Adam Gimbel regarding all of these things for the We Will Rank You podcast recently – a portion of our conversation was made part of a special Oranges & Lemons themed-episode which is here, but you can also find our unedited, complete hour-long conversation here. XTC geeks rejoice!
• We’ll finish this video party with a beautiful creation from Marcelo Radulovich, that being his new video for the song “Always Make It So” from the album Bask. After I got done with the Baked Potato shows a week and a half ago, I drove to San Diego and stayed at Marcelo’s for a few days and worked on eighteen new pieces of music with him. We definitely have a rapport. And I love that he has the ability to take some improvised guitar parts of mine, work his magic with them, turn them into a heartbreakingly beautiful song and then fashion an utterly haunting video to go with it…he’s a remarkable creator and I get so much joy from working with him.
And here’s all the info about our two releases so far, Bask and Monday, including where to stream and buy them.
BRAND NEW SONG ON MY PATREON PAGE
At the end of last year I made a new Christmas song called “The Day it Snowed Upside Down.” It’s a very fun tune with a bunch of twists and turns. It’s not exactly the holiday season anymore, but since it’s a brand new song of mine you might be interested to check it out, as well as the other vast amounts of stuff I’ve uploaded to my Patreon page over the last 3 ½ years.
As always, all patrons have access to all of my posts – whichever tier you choose to join at is entirely up to you and how much you’re able to support, and for the lowest tier, a mere $5/month gains you access to everything. Check it out if you dare here.
Bandcamp Friday continues afoot, by which I mean apace!
Let me start again!
Bandcamp Friday continues apace!, and for December we are completing the Tar Tapes difecta with the appearance of The Tar Tapes Vol. 2 (we put up Vol. 1 last month, in case that slipped by your transom).
Vol. 2 was compiled in 1998, and was designed to reflect my then-current state of mind, using only music mostly recorded in the 1980s, which was an interesting exercise for me. In addition to home 4-track recordings, there are also live and studio recordings with my band Drop Control, and computer experiments done at Scott Chatfield’s house in the very early ‘90s. Apart from the original versions of “Fencing” and “Always Man” (which pre-date the hat. versions by a couple of years), all the songs are unique to this release.
1. Strange Impulse (1989) 2. Recognize (1986) 3. Meat Under Analysis (1982) 4. Anybody’s Brain (1984) 5. Molehead (1991) 6. Old Homes (1983) 7. Guns (1985) 8. Economy (1984) 9. Fencing (original version) (1989) 10. Always Man (original version) (1990) 11. Things Seem Important (1982) 12. Mystery Eyes (1986) 13. Where Are You (1984) 14. Bazbo (1991) 15. Bazbo the Flea (1991) 16. The Wreckage Was Large (1989) 17. Building Bigger Lies (1983)
It’s a substantial collection! I stand firmly behind all of these songs, with my hands on their little song shoulders!
The Tar Tapes Vol. 2 spans a gaping stylistic range, from me at my most accessible and pop-oriented, to more abstract/complex occurrences, and a myriad of way-stations in between. “Strange Impulse” (atmospheric pop) and “The Wreckage Was Large” (a Crimsonian look at the career of El Debarge) have both made their way into live setlists sporadically over the years, so you may have heard them at a show or two.
But this is a collection of “song” songs that, for whatever reason, mostly didn’t get a further airing later on, and maybe they shoulda. These are good songs, y’know? Maybe I’ll bust out a live version of “Economy” or “Old Homes” on the road with BFD next year (yes I AM trying to book road dates for BFD next year, wish us luck!).
Persons as varied as John Dean, Abbie Hoffman and Mariah Carey are all united in having never listened to this album, ever. You can break this chain! The Tar Tapes Vol. 2 will be available this Friday on Bandcamp, that’s what I’m trying to say!
And this Friday’s the day artists (just like me) get 100% of every penny you choose to spend!
Bask in the 2nd Mike Keneally/Marcelo Radulovich release
Marcelo is my dear pal who worked with me in 2001 on Wooden Smoke, and in September of this year we put out the ethereal instrumental collection Monday.
Our new release Bask starts off in a similarly ambient vein with the instrumental piece “Wake Up Dragon,” before heading off into a massively varied collection of vocal tunes, featuring Marcelo’s amazing voice, playing and production skills, and a whole bunch of me on guitars, keyboards and bass (and some sangin’. I sing lead on the tune “Quarry”).
A lot of it is super-eclectic studio funk, with amazing rhythms constructed by Marcelo, unusual harmonic structures coming out of me, and entire universes of kaleidoscopic sound flying by – Marcelo is an absolute whiz at creating otherworldly atmospheres and marrying them to body-shaking grooves, and then putting his highly compelling, textured voice on top of it all.
I really love Bask and I hope you’ll give it a go over at Bandcamp – you’ll find it, along with our Monday release and a vast treasure trove of other Marcelo projects, at the Titicacaman Records page at Bandcamp right darn here.
Just a reminder, as we plummet boldly forward into this joyous holiday season…
The Scambot Holiday Special (featuring the beloved standard “Holiday Face”) also awaits your kind attentions at Bandcamp. It’s now time to make this winsomely compelling tale of a medieval father and son making their way through a vast array of things on a quest of some sort (highly influenced by the Firesign Theatre and “Greggery Peccary”) a cornerstone of your family’s yearly holiday tradition!
Sit together around whatever modern equivalent of a Victrola you’ve got, share a warm toddy, and thrill together as the legendary owl of holiday hope makes its yearly trek once again. There’s also a sick guitar solo. And all for five bucks! Look, it’s right here.
MK & Beer For Dolphins at the Baked Potato Jan. 18/19
The quartet configuration of MK/BFD (me, Rick Musallam, Pete Griffin and Joe Travers) will do its thing for the first time in a whole entire year. Two nights in a row, two sets per night. Pete is learning a bunch of tunes he hasn’t played before, so we’ll be changing things up significantly over the four sets.
After this last year of me playing other peoples’ music with Devin Townsend, ProgJect and One Shot Deal (granted, all music I freaking love to pieces) I am absolutely, legally all a-quiver to play my own tunes again. I suspect that these two nights will unapologetically rage.
Here, look, look at the screenshot from the Baked Potato Calendar page and see how they use the special Finnish spelling of my name (“Keneaaly”) in the listing. This is a SURE-FIRE GUARANTEE OF A GOOD TIME. You may visit this calendar page yourself, scroll down until you get to mid-January and choose the set or sets which work best for your lifestyle.
I believe I speak for all four of us, even though I haven’t officially checked with the other guys about this yet, when I say that we’d be very happy to see you at these gigs!
Our great bud Syd Schwartz invites you to Jazz & Coffee
The mighty Syd, whose byline some of you prog-heads might recognize from having the written the superb liner notes to the brand new The Yes Album Super Deluxe Edition, has been utilizing two of his specific attributes – his glorious command of the English language, and his deep and abiding adoration of jazz – in a series of album-specific posts on Instagram for quite some time now (you’ll find him here).
Syd’s love-letters to jazz and other musics make you hear the music as you read them, and his texts are always informative, generously appointed and hugely enjoyable to read. Not since the writings of Paul Williams (the one who started Crawdaddy magazine, not the other one [who’s also great btw]) have I felt such true love for music from a writer’s writings. I invite you to immerse yourself in Syd’s world, and visit his new Substack.