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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

MARCH 1 & 2 1988

Click to playRealAudio Part One begins

(Bus noises are heard.)

MK: What's today's date?

Albert Wing: How long did it take us to get to here today? About four hours?

Paul Carman: Uh, first today. The first.

MK: It's March 1. I'm on the bus. Nearby is Paul Carman.

PC: (demonic laughter)

MK: Albert ...

PC: 11-ounce Corona!

MK: ...with an 11-ounce Corona, only available in Muskegon...

Albert Wing: ...the same distance!

MK: Albert "Aqueduct" Wing.

Carl the driver: 172.

AW: I was right, wasn't I?

MK: What's his name?

PC: Carl.

MK: Carl the driver.

Carl: Carl the driver.

MK: Bobby Martin.

Robert Martin: Alias Robert.

MK: They're all in here.

Carl: Take off, you hosers!

MK: And...oh, hold on just a second...yesterday we left Troy on the bus, where I am now. We finally got our really bitchin' looking cute big new bus. All the non-smokers are on this bus.

(1998 comment: I switched to the smoking bus very shortly after this entry, even though I didn't smoke, because I was closer with the smokers in the band: Bruce and Walt and I played cribbage constantly, and I spent more and more time with Scott as the tour progressed. Frank rarely took the bus, but when he did he was, of course, on the smoking bus, another reason I wanted to be on there.)

We got to where we are now, which is Muskegon, last night.

Albert Wing: You know what would be funny, if this bus (obscured by the sound of someone coughing loudly) all smokers and the other guys quit smoking...


MK: And I watched television and fell asleep. This is Ed Mann.

(band chatters about smoking for a while)

Ed Mann: Is this for your wife?

MK: Um, yeah.

EM Hi.

MK: Ed says hi, Vivian.

RM: Hi1

MK: Bobby says hi, Vivian, too. Paul and Albert ignore you.

RealAudio Part One ends

(chattering recedes into the background)

MK: I stayed up until about 4:30 AM last night watching MTV, because this is the only hotel we've had with MTV in it. Then I woke up when Scott called me at noon and said "turn on MTV right away", and it was a game show called "Remote Control", which he'd never seen before. But it's really funny. And Dweezil and Moon were the VJs on MTV this afternoon. Um, got on the bus and went to rehearsal. At rehearsal we did the Beatle medley again, and also did a new arrangement of "What Kind Of Girl." Then we ate and then we did the show which consisted "Stink Foot", "Peace Corps", "Turning Again", "Alien Orifice", "Tiny Lites", "Pound", "Lucille", "Pogen", "Andy" and "Inca." Then we went away. Earlier during dinner Bruce was laying bets as to how long it would be before we did an entirely Republican set. As it turns out the second set tonight was pretty much that.

Click to playRealAudio Part Two begins

MK: Ike just walked on the bus. The second set consisted of "Confinement Loaf", "Stolen Moments", "Lie's So Big", "Jesus", "Norweigan Wood" aka "Texas Motel"...

(overheard in the background:

Albert: What's "Brazil" about?

Ike: The futchum!)

MK: "Strawberry Fields" aka "Texas Motel", and "Lucy In The Sky"---actually, the order on the setlist here says "Norweigan Wood", "Strawberry Fields" and "Lucy In The Sky", but we didn't do that. That ain't what happened. Frank pointed at me after "Norweigan Wood" and I reflexively went into "Lucy In The Sky"...

Ike (as Fernando): Darling, darling, about this 400 dollars that you lost, do you know what I'm saying?

MK: No. She knows about that.

Albert: You know who you are.

MK: Huh?

Ike: I love it. I love this guy. Look at this guy, it's like...WOO WOO WOO WOO WOO...

Carl the driver: Who's got a little cord with two alligator clips on the end of it.

Mike: Why, we gotta jump...start...

Carl the driver: Yeah. I'm gonna jump start the TV.

Robert: Talk to Marqueson.

Ike: We have to bridge, we have to bridge the TV?

Robert: We're the band, we ain't the crew.

MK: We're the band, we ain't the group?

Robert: The CREW.

MK: Oh , the CREW, OK...

Ike: No unwanted passages!

MK: Oh, and the second set ended with the tour premiere of "What's a Girl Like You", which was really rough...

Ike: There you go...man, this sounds like, this must be a job for Genital Hospital!

RealAudio Part Two ends

MK: Um, first encore: "The Closer You Are/Johnny Darling", "No No Cherry", "The Man From Utopia/Mary Lou", second encore: "Illinois Enema Bandit" - that was the scheduled final song of the evening but there was a lot of time left to fill, so we came back for a third encore and did, um..."Watermelon in Easter Hay."

Ike: My guitar player's wife is Rachel Ashley.

MK: And we're on the bus now and we're going to be driving through the night, arriving in Chicago hopefully no sooner than 6:00 AM because they're not going to let us in the hotel before 6:00. So I'll listen back to this when I get to the hotel in Chicago and see if it's audible. Talk to you later. Bye.

(Later that day, in the hotel...)

That seemed reasonably audible. I'm in Chicago now. I'll read the setlist over again, just to be on the safe side...

( I do so.)

Click to playRealAudio Part Three begins

We arrived in Chicago, I think around 6:00 AM, it's tough for me to tell, because...after we watched "Brazil" and stopped at a really truck-stop-type truck stop, y'know - the spoons weren't greasy but it was definitely a truck stop - and I got a really good cheeseburger there, and then we came back in the bus and watched the rest of "Brazil" and then I went to sleep, but I think that the bus stopped around 6:00 and the hotel wasn't ready for us yet so I remained sleeping on the bus for about another three hours, and finally was roused and told to go into the hotel. I got up out of the bus and I was still asleep, carrying my little bags, and it looked like I was in a shopping mall, and I said "Ike, I have a practical question to ask at this point. Where am I?" And he said that this is the hotel, you go through here, and it turns out that this Holiday Inn is sitting atop a mall. It looks pretty exciting. I haven't been downstairs yet since I was asleep, but I'm gonna go down and check it out shortly after I take a shower.

So I came up here and turned on the television. Vivian called and I spoke to her. I ordered up some pancakes and they delivered 'em. And it's not bad here at all, I'm sitting here in this Chicago Holiday Inn suite - it is a suite, it's enormous, it's got a bar over there, there's one table with two chairs and I'm sitting at another table with two chairs and there's a big old bed, with two lamp table things on either side of it, and then a BIG LONG TV table-slash-dresser, with a chair at that and a big mirror, and there's a lamp on that too, and there's a big closet which I haven't looked in yet...lemme see what's in the closet...AAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!!! No, there's really nothing in the closet except two extra pillows! Cool! 'Cause I was hoping there were more pillows. Great!

RealAudio Part Three ends

There's one...there's two, I have four pillows now. And there's about eleven hangers here. And a laundry bag. And a sprinkler, there's sprinklers all over the place here. There's even a trouser press in the closet. (Trouser press noises.) See? So it's luxurious as all get out. Nice big sort of foyer leading up to the front door here...here's the bathroom...a "you are here" sign...and just the most wonderful panoramic view of Chicago right outside my window. This is definitely Chicago, no doubt about it, it's ugly and it's dirty and it's just terrific. It's great. There's CNNW, and Chicago Northwestern System and River Center, and lots of cars and smog and smoke and I can see our building reflected in this big glass building directly across the way. And there's a thing over there that says "Brawn Bottles". So this is just nice, we've got a day off today, and then two shows here in Chicago. And I just spoke to Viv and she's talking about quitting her job and coming on the road with me and I sure hope she does that. I'm going to turn off the tape now.

Click to playRealAudio Part Four begins

The elevated trains are going by the window! It's just, there's a, an elevated tr --- OOOH, they're all over the place. I'll try --- oh, one of 'em's not elevated, one of them is. And, um...and there's oh, and um --- lemme find the thing in the little book here...in case you've never seen the elevated trains...(pages turning) "The elevated trains were used in the opening credits of the original 'Bob Newhart Show' and 'Hill Street Blues,' in chase sequences in 'Running Scared' and 'Code Of Silence,' and in the lovemaking scene everyone remembers from 'Risky Business.'" There you have it. Those are the elevated trains, and that's what they did with them.

RealAudio Part Four ends

Next episode:
MARCH 3 1988

Last episode:
FEBRUARY 29 1988

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