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Newly hired stunt guitarist Mike Keneally kept an audio journal during most of Frank Zappa's 1988 "Broadway The Hard Way" tour that included set lists, backstage goings-on and many personal observations. Here are the transcripts of Mike's diaries, originally posted in chronological order on their 10-year anniversary dates.

1988 logo

FEBRUARY 10 1988

It is Wednesday, February 10th...3:29 in the morning; um, about a half hour ago I got done watching Frank on "CBS News Nightwatch", and in a couple of hours it will be being recorded for me in San Diego, California. I know this because I just called Vivian to ask her to do that. At which time she told me that she'd be coming around in a couple of weeks to see us in Destroyt...in Destroyt...in Detroit. MITCHigan. But I'm getting ahead of things. First of all...the night following the big event in the deli with the counter-woman; I found out on the plane from NYC to Washington D.C. that the woman was, indeed, a man. And that's whywas so interested in striking up a conversation with it. He just wanted to find out about its lifestyle. I truly didn't realize that it was a guy - from where I was standing, he was a very convincing woman.

It was February 7th when we took the plane to D.C. We were picked up by a van; everything was fine and dandy this time, there was no mix-ups with vans being at the wrong airport. The only problem was Albert Wing, who generally takes a long time doing anything, didn't get on the van with us. He was lingering behind, or walking slow or something, and we didn't want to wait so we left him at the airport. He took a cab to the hotel. And the van took us to where we are now, which is the Holiday Inn, on Rhode Island Ave. I believe, and it's the best of the three hotels so far. Everything is really nice here. I was having a little phone problem but everything else was so nice, I didn't let the phone get to me. And Washington D.C., or at least the bits I've seen, is a pretty phenomenal place to look at and drive around in. I can't help but feel impressed by the sense of history which is oozing out of every pore here in Wash, D.C.

After I arrived at the hotel on Sunday, I called Bruce and said "come get me". And a half and hour later he came and got me.

(1998 comment - "Bruce" in this case is Bruce Warren, my best friend from junior high and high school days. The next portion of the audio diary concerned doing laundry, eating lasagna, watching TV, being introduced to a DJ called "The Greaseman" and listening to Three Dog Night records...I'll presume you won't mind being spared every detail.)

Then it was February 8th...I called room service to bring me nachos, I didn't have the strength to go downstairs and eat myself...not eat myself, but go down there myself, and eat. And they brought the nachos and I hung around the hotel room and did nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing until it was time to go to soundcheck which was an hour later than usual. We left at 4:30 rather than 3:30 because they were still getting everything together with the new board. We got to soundcheck and it was a lot less trouble than I had figured, working in the new board. I'd expected hours of tedium re-eq'ing, but that turned out to be not the case.

We practiced "Sinister Footwear". There's supposedly a wager: the guys in the horn section swear there's money on it, Bob Stone swears there's not, but Bob Stone "bet" the horn guys that we wouldn't have "Sinister" in performance until at least this coming Friday. And the horn guys said "ha", and Frank heard about it and said "OK, we'll try to prove Bob Stone wrong". Bob kept coming over the intercom saying "no, there's no bet, there's no money involved" and everybody laughed. But, sure enough, we rehearsed "Sinister" and it was pretty shabby. So it definitely wasn't in the show that night.

Here is what was in the show that night, as I walk across the room and pick up these bitchin' new set lists which are, in fact, in Frank's handwriting and xeroxed upstairs by Mr. Ray Upton. Before I get into that I should mention that the tour programs arrived yesterday and they are just as cool as pie. Except for some errors. Paul's name is misspelled in there: K-A-R-M-A-N; and there's some bad lyric screw-ups, with the last lyrics from "Any Kind Of Pain" appearing as part of the "Lie's So Big" lyric page, so it appears that this first printing is something of a collectible. I'm getting bunches of them. Here's what Washington #1 was: Set One - Black Page, Dickie, Lies, Baritone, Pain, Jesus, Sofa, Tiny Lites, Pound For A Brown - let's see, did I do a solo in "Pound"...oh, I sure did, and when I was done Frank gave me a thumbs-up. I was hovering a foot above the stage after that. And then we played Cosmik Debris. Set number two was Peace Corps, Turning Again, Torture/Lonesome, King Kong and Stairway to Heaven. Our little superset there. First encore was Packard Goose and I Am The Walrus, second encore was Strictly Genteel and Illinois Enema Bandit. For the most part, with a few exceptions, these are songs which we were playing very regularly, and it could have been a very workmanlike sort of show, but we really gave it to 'em. It was a great show, it was really nice. Really, really, really nice. It was a good, good show. And that made me scared because up until that point we'd been alternating: good show, lousy sh---ah, I shouldn't say that...here's how it's been 'til now: One great show. One not-so-great show. One great show. One really weird, scary show. And then a great show. So I figured coming up would either be a not-so-great show or a scary show, or maybe a horrible show.

Wasn't the case. Washington #2 was great also. But I'm getting ahead of myself by a bit.

Bruce and Michelle came to Washington #1 and enjoyed it, but it was too loud for poor Bruce, my old friend Bruce, and I said "why didn't you bring something to put in your ears" and he said he should have. Michelle thought the volume wasn't so bad, which made Bruce feel even worse, looking around at everyone and him the only one in the room with his hands over his ears. But he liked it, and bought a program which was a lovely gesture on his part since they're so frigging expensive - they're 12 dollars! They're beautiful but, whoa, that's expensive!

(1998 comment - isn't that cute?)

He gave me his program so the band could sign it, and said I could return it to him at my leisure. After the show we went to this grill and I had a Reuben sandwich. And went to the hotel and wrote some postcards. And that was February 8, 1988. Washington #1.

Woke up February 9, 1988, much later than I expected to. Bruce was supposed to call me to tell me how to properly use the Metro for our meeting on February 10, 1988, a/k/a later today. But he never did. However, Vivian called me and I spoke to her. I didn't eat, and I went to the lobby and got stamps for the postcards. Then we went to soundcheck and that's when I ate my first meal of the day. A deli tray sandwich.

We rehearsed mostly instrumental stuff, which was encouraging because we haven't been playing a lot of them. We rehearsed "What's New In Baltimore", and "Sinister Footwear" which sounded much better, and "Marqueson's Chicken", so there should be some variations in the show soon..."Zomby Woof", which I've been really looking forward to, I like that one.

And then Washington D.C. #2, which consisted of Stinkfoot, Green Hotel, Dickie, Lies, Baritone, Pain, Jesus, Sofa, and for the first time on the tour - Florentine Pogen, then Andy and Inca. Set number two consisted of: for the first time on the tour - Black Napkins, Montana, Tiny Lites, Pound For A Brown, Ain't Got No Heart, Love Of My Life, Bamboozled By Love and Peaches. First encore: Catholic Girls and Crew Slut. Second encore was supposed to be Orange County, but the gentlemen in the horn section said that their lip tissue just couldn't handle that selection at that point in their lives. So Frank called "Enema Bandit" instead, which I was a little sad about because I was very much looking forward to "Orange County", but got a little satisfaction during the "Enema" solo: I stood next to Scott and we cranked on the solo vamp to "Cruisin' For Burgers". It was perfect and gradually the rest of the band caught on, so by the end of the "Enema Bandit" solo we were actually playing "Cruisin' For Burgers" until Frank pointed at Bobby and suddenly it was "Illinois Enema Bandit" once again.

After that show: got on the van, came here, um, watched Letterman and then Frank was on "CBS News Nightwatch". I watched that, and then I did this. And called Bruce and said "Why didn't you call me?" and he said "I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry". He just didn't call me. But then he told me how to properly use the Metro, and to prepare for one of the world's largest escalators, and I'll see what that's like in a few hours from now. And then I called Vivian and she told me that she'd be coming to Destroyt, and woo hoo hoo I'm happy about that, I don't mind telling you. I guess that's truly about it, if I think of anything, as always...I'm almost at the end of this side, it seems a shame to...turn it off, because...if I turn it on again, there's not gonna be...oh, hell with it. I'll, uh...I'll...(ahem) I'M BLATHERING NOW. I'm going to turn off the tape right now. See you later.

Sure enough, I just listened back to all that, and I did indeed forget some stuff. From way back, from the third night in NYC when Fran and Bobcame to the show. They picked up their complimentary tickets and, unbeknownst to me while I was on stage, they were having just a terrible time out there. They were having smoke inhalation problems, and crises of faith, and so I got this note at half time which was scribbled on the little envelope their tickets came in: "Couldn't stay, the smoke made me sick, please give us a call soon." So I tried to call them the next day but the phone in the Howard Johnson wasn't working, of course, and I didn't get through. So as soon as I got to Washington D.C. I gave them a call and we had a very nice conversation, wherein Fran expressed a certain amount of concern about the atmosphere in which I was working. Because she unfortunately happened to witness a show which wasn't very musical, it was mainly sociological in nature, and there was a lot of unsavory business with people's underwear and rubber sex dolls and whatnot - basically the low ebb of what Zappaness is all about. And the noise was really getting to them and everything. I had to convince them that it was professionally and artistically the best thing that's happened to me by far, and that the music is really good and they just happened to catch a bad show. Definitely a shame. They told me they were praying for me. So, I guess they're praying for me.

What else did I forget...oh. When "Stairway to Heaven" ended...they got me a brand new, very long guitar cable so that I could go right up to the front of the stage, so everybody could see me. I'm on my knees at the front of the stage by the end of that song. And after it ended we ran off stage, and then we ran right back on stage and the first thing Frank said to the audience when we got back was "Mike Keneally, the new stunt guitarist, ladies and gentlemen!" He just said that. And everybody cheered a big cheer for me. That was real cool.

And there was something at the second Washington show, what could it have been...oh. "Catholic Girls". When I went up and danced with Frank during the tenor saxophone solo. And during the small break before the second encore Frank complimented me on my dancing, and he actually meant it, he was actually serious about it. I think that's it. I think that's it. Oh, that's not it. We're getting some cool complimentary tour sweatshirts soon. More visible mementos from this time in my life. And I really do think that's it. I'm probably wrong so you'll hear from me soon. But the best thing about coming back to do this is that I think the tape is just about to end and there wouldn't have been time for a brand new entry but there was just enough time for this, this little addendum, and it's working out just perfectly because the tape is really seriously just about to

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