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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 25 1988

(1998 comment: My voice resumes on the tape, following the Poughkeepsie poker game, without immediately specifying the date - it's not until a few minutes in that I mention that it's February 25.)

After that [meaning the poker game], we got on the tiniest little twin-engine nothing little crackerbox of a toaster-sized plane from Poughkeepsie to LaGuardia airport in New York. I felt ill, and Scott felt ill, and I know Kurt felt ill and Paul looked ill, and Ike didn't like it - I don't think anybody enjoyed it, it was actually horrible. Terrible, awful, awful little flight. So then we got to LaGuardia and we all spilled out of the plane looking pale, vowing never to do that again, and waiting for Detroit with collectively baited breaths for that's where the tour buses would return for good, and we'd never have to be subjected to such a flight again. And we sat in LaGuardia for about an hour and a half, and I read Bobby Ward's "Village Voice" with the Pazz & Jop poll. And I listened to "Wild Honey" and "Smiley Smile" by the Beach Boys. And we finally got on a good plane, a normal plane. A USAir kind of plane, from New York to Pittsburgh.

On the plane were The Village People. And Randy, the cowboy hat guy from The Village People, was sitting across the aisle and one seat up from me, and right in front of me was Chad, so Randy and Chad had a lengthy conversation. Chad seemed to be, uh, politely participating in the conversation. And Scott was walking down the aisle between them and Chad said "Scott, this is Randy." And Scott looked at him and said "I know you. You're a 70's icon, right?"

While on the plane Scott passed a couple of tapes up to Chad. These were tapes which had tossed up to Frank on stage during shows; tapes from drummer fans of Frank. Scott gave them to Chad and said "here's your competition, Chad." I've heard some of one of the tapes so far; it's frighteningly bad. I understand the other one is pretty atrocious also. So of course we had a good laugh at their expense, just like rock and roll stars are supposed to.

We got off the plane...at the airport in Pittsburgh, Albert decided to lay down on the floor against the wall; he looked utterly homeless. Some of the band decided to join him. Walt was even more locquacious than usual, and he got into some kind of trouble for making a joke about guns in the airport. Which doesn't go over well with airport people. From there it was on to the Holiday Inn here in Pittsburgh, where Jonathan was waiting.

(1998 comment: Jonathan Greene is my oldest friend in the world - we met on the first day of kindergarten. He's a respected television news producer now.)

He walked right by me, he didn't recognize me. He hasn't seen me in a while.

All this happened yesterday, by the way, which was February 24. Today is February 25.

Jonathan and I got up here to the room, and rested for a little while because I needed to, and then we went to downtown Pittsburgh. We got a couple of slices of pizza, and we stopped in a record shop and I got a cassette of "La Mystere Des Voix Bulgares" which has become The music of the tour - Scott's CD was played before the show in Poughkeepsie, instead of "Pictures At An Exhibition" which had previously been the pre-show music, and I'm very happy about the change; before it sounded too much like the beginning of a Yes show or something, but the Bulgarian music really gives the proceedings a different feeling, much more appropriate to what follows. When we were listening to it at rehearsal the other day, Frank said "now that's what I call stunt vocals."

So we had that pizza and I bought that tape, as well as "POV" by Utopia and "Old Ways" by Neil Young, and we got back in the car and came back to the hotel because Jon wanted to watch the local news on WTAE, channel 4. Where Jon is presently trying to obtain a job, and they could use him, because their newscast was pretty troubled. Just before the newscast ended at 7:00 we got back in the car and drove over to the West side of Pittsburgh, by the airport, and we saw "Broadcast News" and "Throw Mamma From The Train." Both very interesting films; "Throw Mamma" was nothing like I expected it to be, it's a totally odd movie. We came back here and watched Carson and Letterman, although Jon fell asleep halfway through Carson. Then I went in the bathroom to clean my contacts and made the stultifying discovery that the cap to my shaving cream had come off, and the pressure during air flight had forced the contents of that can entirely out of the can and all over everything else in its vicinity in the toiletry bag. A mess.

Jon and I woke up this morning and had omelettes. Said hi to Kurt and Albert. Came back up and found the maid in the room; when she finished up Jon changed into his power suit and went away to go get a job, and I picked up this little microcassette recorder and did this. And this particular side is just about over so this is a good time for me to say that this particular side is just about over.

Next episode:
FEBRUARY 29 1988

Last episode:
FEBRUARY 24 1988

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