KENEALLY SCREED take one
You--yes you, the collective, reflective you--need to hear Sluggo!, because Mike Keneally is one of those special musicians, certainly among the finest to arrive in the last fifteen years, and without doubt one of the most unusual. He managed to load down this record with potential hit singles, a fact that's compelling simply because Keneally works wonders with popular and "unpopular forms, and froths them together with an irrepressible zeal for the surreal. This is precisely what's been missing for so long in music, at least the sort you hear on the radio, which is why Sluggo! urgently demands a place there too.
But as a service to those who like to swim in simile--and I hope they're few, because comparisons don't serve Keneally's vision--I'll say that Mike is a renegade songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who combines the lush pop auteurship of a Todd Rundgren or Andy Partridge, the melodic libertarianism of a Joni Mitchell, and the free-associative irreverence of a young Frank Zappa. He is (with all the kudo-invoking glee this phrase implies) dementedly talented, and even with respect to the spirit of many of his possible models, Keneally's feel and acuity on so many instruments might humble any of them.
All of Keneally's previous work under his own name--hat, Boil that Dust Speck and Half Alive in Hollywood--were exercises in that sort of pure musical focus and invention, but what got him to this point was obsessive sonic lust. He all but challenged Frank Zappa to hire him in the late '80s, and as a principal player in the late master's final band, Keneally assumed a level of multitasking that for Zappa traditionally required the collective skills of a small ensemble of virtuosos. Mike can summon all the facility required for difficult music and still make it fun, fresh, warm, and, especially in much of Sluggo!, unshakably memorable. Lately, performing as a keyboardist, guitarist and vocalist in Steve Vai's group, he comes at Vai's remarkable music from several angles at once; his unscripted nightly interactions with Robert Fripp on a recent tour further underscore the daring and delight Keneally seeks in his work.
So what else to say about Sluggo!, except that it delights, confounds and inspires? Keneally's songs are infectious demonstrations of the wide musical berth a man of his skill requires, riddled with intricate treasures and chest- slamming force that never dislodge his ceaselessly heartful melodies. His vocals are terrific; in putative ode to his loves and losses, and to Al Hirschfeld, Keneally's vulnerabilities are laid out bare, and he sings them true; assessing the injustices of the universe, he cracks the universal smile. It's nearly impossible to banish from one's head the provocative strains of "TRANQUILLADO," "Potato," "Chatfield Manor" and other gems from this record, not that one would necessarily care to do so anyhow.
I don't mean to understate the case here, but there's something to all this absurdist musicalizing. The stuff going on behind the scenes, under the overtones and between the lead sheets in Sluggo! is unmentionably high-minded, and the record's pleasures are as barefaced and uplifting as anything you'll hope to hear in pop today. If you listen, you will thank yourself, and then you'll want to thank Mike, because he is from whence the "next" will come.
My own half-drunken Sluggo comments:
Preface: is the poor dead kitty on the cover in any way connected to the mystery lyrics in "Top Of Stove Melting"? Also, the upper-right hand logo is a riot. It's hard to see, but I did pick up on the dolphins-as-Charlie's Angels.
I just comprehended the "ban-E" logo in the lyric booklet and the apparent Dan Quayle reference therein. Cute.
Wasn't there some famous dead composer who delighted in folding up one-of-a-kind scores into airplanes and tossing them out windows? I wish I could remember his name.. it could apply to this song. I guess I'm only a spudboy lookin' for that real potatoe.
This song could almost be "Panama". That's a compliment, dammit!
2. I, Drum-Running, Am Clapboard Bound
Where did the title come from? For some reason it reminds me of some hipster dreadlock-types I know who play in reggae bands, who found their calling doing soundtracks for snowboard movies. They play conga drums, and are clapboard bound.
Aybe Sea 1997. I hope you carry a piano on tour. You could tell me that was Ian Underwood on the ivories and I would almost believe you. Good choice, doing your own drums, I sense a random organic tempo that would be about as tough for another drummer to compute as it must have been for Vai to transcribe Jazz Discharge party hats... But then again, you've done that as well. Beller sounds great.
The track is effectively faded and muted to conceal any apparent tape hiss. I wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't have pointed it out.
3. Why Am I Your Guy?
The other anthem of the album.. Well placed if you were concerned about the effect of the second song (though I don't see why.)
Bryan is really pushing.. it's a great dynamic, and a killer tone. This is the Geezer Butler song for BB, right? Distorted lead bass rules.
I can see why toss wanted to overdub.. I can hear the old version without even hearing it. The guitar and bass are way forward in the groove, and the tendency must have been to play drums right on top of the beat as well.. this masterful overdub slips into the back pocket and drags ever so slightly, playing just behind the beat, which gives the best rhythmic counterpoint this song could get. Can't say I've heard a better example of drums and rhythm working against each other in quite some time. BB is straining at the reigns, and Toss somehow keeps it under control. Helluvan overdub. That boy must have an internal clock. No click track, huh? So tell us; what other songs were midi'd? Acoustic guitars was a great choice.
4. Looking For Nina
One of the strongest on this listening.. I assume the scissors graphic in he liner notes refers to the cut&paste composition of the song. This is one of those compositions like "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" which was composed in lots of different bits that will probably sound incredible if it can be pulled off live-- I realize what I'm asking for here, Mike.. massive sampling and live sounds manipulation.. but I think this could be a real mind-blower of a live track.
Ici Francaise? Reminds me of MC Solaar. Wildly differing textures rule.
I keep looking for your signature in the music.
5. Frozen Beef
Killer bass.. I have yet to play with a bassist who fully understands that sometimes NOT playing for the first few measures can actually draw attention to himself.
Joe is no slouch either. Gotta love a hard-hitting drummer.
Great falsetto vocals-- please continue to yodel-- and that lick where you say "If you ask Billy he'll say that he don't know me".. that is truly lighter-waving-worthy. Descending 7ths? I don't know what it is; it fucking rocks. The character sketch reminds me of Dirk Diggler from "Boogie Nights."
The last sung verse, beginning with "She's a well-heeled veganette" is about as punk as I've heard you sing. 6. Tranquillado
A very nice story. Tranquillado must be sort of a modern day Benji. Definitely a Steely Dan solo.. I caught that one without having to read about it. Man, how are you going to do all this live? There's grand piano, neat sounding accordion synth thing, and Walter Becker solo all the same time. You'll need a couple extra people at least. This is the song that could have been on Paul Simon's Graceland. (Tired of being compared to other people yet?)
7. What Happened Next
If this is part two of "Floating Face" then I am doubly confused. What are you singing? Sounds like "I am floating." If I knew what "Floating Face" was really about I think this would make more sense to me.
8. Chatfield Manor
This is the best prank I have heard of in a long time. So much so that a friend and I are ripping off your joke and doing it for a guy who's album we're producing. He's got a single from about 25 years ago that he doesn't even know exists, and we're putting it on as unlabelled bonus tracks just for the hell of it. We think at worst he'll be miffed, and at best thankfully surprised, and if he hates it, we'll tell 'em it's your fault and give him directions to Scott's house! (hang a right, hang a right).
This is the tune I mostly hum to myself as I drive around. Wacky tuning. You gotta love a tuning you can pronounce. I sense that there is a story about psilocybin.. is Scott the "straight" guy who drives you home when you get too trashed? Also, Mike, for your own sake, be careful with alcohol and hot tubs!
If I didn't already know the lyrics I'd think one of the lines was, "no matter when I show I gotta piss on the floor."
I've already said my peace about this tune, my favorite song on the album. Sprechstimme rules, and you pull it off with finesse and imagination. I know you can do this one live. You gotta love a song that sounds so fun while the lyrics are talking about how most everyone is useless and should die. Diary pieces are my favorite lyric sources. I'll second Vai's opinion that this is an impressive song not just for the technical stuff, which is cool nonetheless. Toss does indeed devour this groove. What's he got tied to his drum rack? A pot lid? A tea kettle? Great sound.
10. I Guess I'll Peanut
Don't quite know what to make of this one yet.. I guess I'll have to wait for parts two and three and whatever follows.. it's an interesting notion, though, I wonder what Linda would think of it? All I can suggest, Mike, is you might try avoiding those rarebits before going to bed!
11. Voyage To Manhood
No one has mentioned the Christopher Cross quote in this song, which I think is hilarious. That reminds me of my own personal voyage to manhood, which was buying "For Those About To Rock" instead of the new Christopher Cross album despite my parents wishes for little Patrick to not buy something buy a group that had names for songs like "inject the venom." I was young. In any case, Bryan and Toss deliver this groove mercilessly, and your satch-y wah-wah sends this one to the wall. The last line is my favorite.
And yea, Buddy Rich could certainly have used some leisure time at that.
12. Egg Zooming
Oh, ouch! What a burn on Anthony, that hurts! That is a horrible little balloon.
Yeah, this is one fucked up song alright. You say you scored this while on the road with Vai? Nah, say it ain't so! I don't want to say it sounds like him, because it doesn't at all, it sounds like you. But I get the same feeling from this piece that I did from Vai's "Salamanders in the sun", which he wrote while on the road with Zappa. Just the feeling of being away from home can give you different kind of creativity, and I pick up on music scored on the road. The orchestral bits of 200 Motels, for instance, sound like motel room exercises, and this piece is a workout. Keep it up!
That illustration was the first thing I noticed as I perused the liner notes for the first time, and remains my favorite in the package. That poor little bunny.. how is he ever going to get to the cookies? Very thoughtful art.. any way to get a larger one of those? Does Atticus sell prints or anything?
This is a heavy rock & roll sort of song with a good heavy beat and slick production. Nice tight vocals, doubled I imagine, this is about as "alternative" as I've heard you. This is the one I picture you playing on a late night show. Can't you just imagine Paul Schaffer sitting in on this one?
Generic Sycophantic Album Review
Okay, I've had Sluggo! for two months and I think I can safely say new album fever has passed and I no longer have an excuse for all this drool. This album is so wonderful, it almost makes up for discovering 10 years later (exactly 10 years later) that I missed the best band I never heard in my life playing six miles from my house (uh, dorm room) while I was parked in a cheesy-smelling apartment practicing for the one gig of the worst band I ever heard in my life.
Nah, screw it, it more than makes up for that because Mike can still tour. Not only that, but I don't hear any Korg M1 pianos at all on this record. In fact, there's more grand piano here than on all the Yes, Genesis and Steely Dan records of the last 20 years combined (so I'm cheating on the Steely Dan a little, OK?) Cardboard Dog may be the best song written, ever, by anyone. I think I've converted two people based on that track alone. Please get this album out into the world some more so I don't have to quote URL's every time I play it for someone or shamelessly plug it on Usenet. I gather you're working on that right now. (Ten bucks says TRANQUILLADO would be a bigger hit than Potato. If Ben Folds can do it....)
See, I told you I was over new album fever. I hope Mike has some more albums as good as this up his sleeve to make up for when I find out I missed all the dates he played around this neck of the woods before I had heard his records.
Oh yeah, and I think Frozen Beef has more of a Radiohead vibe than Guy? does.
Famous First Impressions...
Okay, here we go. Sluggo! finally arrived, bloody Australia Post around x-mas time, methinks, and thus I thought it would be interesting to post my first impressions, then followed by my "worn-in" impressions later.
In case you are wondering who the hell this is Mike, I actually have not emailed you before. Saw you in Sydney on the Vai Tour. Good show, bar the blackout!
As for you Beller, you probably know me as the "Steinydork", among the hundreds of email buddies you have replied too over the years.
It is amazing how you can pick definate "moods" on Keneally albums..."hat" was excited, "Dust" was anguished, and "Sluggo!" is very much contented, I feel.
Firstly, I would like to say...HOORAY FOR THE DUMB POP SONG!!!!! Of course, some in this forum(Sluggo-Rama) have frowned upon tracks like "potato" and "why am I your guy" because they have a pop element. Oh, come on guys! The whole point of this stuff is the guilty pleasure we all get out of this type of material. Zappa used to do this to great effect, and I feel Keneally does it even better. The Zappa cynicism is a LITTLE obvious after a while on his tracks in this vein. Keneally admits his guilty pleasure...Frank seemed to always deny his. (I know Frank loved DUMB POP, I KNOW IT!!!)
The denser compositions like "Drum Running" and "Egg Zooming" are going to take a while to consume. My first impressions are that I prefer earlier material, like "Lightning Roy," probably because I like the warped humour element. But, I really will reserve judgement till I have consumed this stuff further.
My first impressions on the heated "Afraid" debate? Well, I think that far sappier material has been recorded, especially by Keneally friend Steve Vai. (The single most annoying aspect of Vai's "Fire Garden" album is the fact that we have to put up with songs like "Brother.") Keneally at least has some elements in this song that are of interest, and I personally like the vocal touches. Not Mike's greatest work, but still a damn sight better than a lot of other heartfelt tributes.
I'll end off with three things that have stayed most clearly in my mind after my first listen:
1. Potato's Chorus (Long live DUMB POP!!!!)
2. Bryan's tone on "Why am I your guy"
3. The Piano playing throughout...albums like this remind us all that there is a place for the piano outside of the mass-commercial Elton John and Billy Joel tours. (Thank God!)
the artist presently known as ed sez sluggo is fuckin cool!
one thing is clear, if there is ever a chance of mike keneally pulling all the tricks out of his sleeve, one can be sure its a very (fucking) long sleeve. sluggo pulled maybe a couple of tricks. this is a good thing; we're still around the wrist i think. some of you may recognize my name- i was helping BFD on the fall "96 tour, the hell tour. during that time i saw some incredible guitar playing. of course there were no keyboards in that tour for the BFD set, so i had no way of being prepared for the superb keyboard playing that populates sluggo. I originally started my musical development on drums and have now progressed to the inclusion of guitar, bass and keys, for my own recording. there was no doubt that mk excells on the instruments he is commonly known to play, but the big surprise was his drumming. listen to "tranquilado" and consider that it just as well may be toss or frank playing the drums. about the only difference is that mk doesn't physically punish the drums like toss or frank (i speak from experience, i set up toss' gear on tour..I remember having to hold back toss' kick drum in a theater with a slick floor for the duration of an extended double bass heavy rosemary girl. headache, much?) oh yeah, sluggo. i think it comes across as being more consistent sonically and compositionally than hat or dust speck. more uniform, but still evading sameness. i do miss the little tracks that fit between the key songs and it was a revelation to actually hear the ends of songs! there is enough pop in these tracks to get them lodged in your head. i think if there was a song called "looking for beautiful cardboard potato dogs" i'd never hum anything else! all those years of math in school is paying off too; this music requires me to count to a whole variety of numbers. good god! back here in san diego, i sometimes work for bob tedde and mark deC in rockola and they provide spot on renditions of your favorite rock classics (please see them or the equally superb steely damned when in sandy eggo) the decision to have them sing harmonies all over this album is a smart one, as they are fantastic. the bob part on tranquillado is something that i earnestly look forward to.
really, if you only do one thing today, please put sluggo in your cd player, push play and set up the infinite shuffle repeat. some tracks you'll like today and the rest you'll love the rest tomorrow, i'm sure.
(I'm gonna steal some space here to blab about some of my own shit...)
I have 2 projects in the works at present. Hog Heaven is a nearly continuous bit of work I recorded in 1997, and am now trying to prepare a cd-r release for those who would be most interested. MK and Marc Z have heard the early version that has now been retooled and updated for the cd-r. If ever there was an encouraging word it was hearing MK say he liked it. Sonically it echoes the sweeping sounds of Frippertronics and has dark textures aplenty. Lyrically is is about as honest and personal as Peter Gabriel's US.
My newer project is almost entirely as different as I could get from HH. The soundscapes are absent, the drums and bass and guitars are plenty prominent, and the lyrics are decidedly irreverent and stupidly goofy. It features a few friends of mine on guitars and stick and drums, and I plan to have it segue or collage into one complete track if possible (a la "hat") .
If there is any similarity to the whole MK thing, I think it is in the free spirit of throwing out a variety of ideas and letting the chips fall where they may. The cd's will be $10. I can be reached by old-fashioned means:
6555 Mt Ada Rd. #208
San Diego, CA 92111
(619) 874-3669 (home)
(619) 986-0925 (vox mail with the sick message.)
have a very nice day, and see you @ the shows.
Hey Mike, you know what the best part of Sluggo! is? The sides. Of course the music is great too, but the sides... wow.
these are my kind words for Sluggo! if it pleases the court
exhibit a) Potato: this song does exactly what it claims it will: "now you're going to sing..." don't even bother trying not to. "Too late to apple the doctor away" wins as my favorite ominous line...maybe of all time.
exhibit b) I, Drum-Running, Am Clapboard Bound: never seems to end when i expect it will. I'm not sure how i feel about that.
exhibit c) Why Am I Your Guy?: gee, is somebody playing bass on this song? mod mr. beller rules the world. this is a splendid song, my favorite pop! goes keneally song since "rosemary girl", though part of me would some day like to hear this recorded with a country arrangement and sung as a duet with willie nelson. i'm serious.
exhibit d) Looking For Nina: the slowed down voice reminds me of Rush, (sorry if anyone finds that offensive) the rest of the song sounds nothing like RUSH! when i first saw the title i mistakenly thought it was about christopher columbus's ships.
exhibit e) Frozen Beef: i love everything about this song with the exception of the guitar solo. i realize that compositionally it probably needs to be there...but, it is just too much for me. after the solo on just kills me! there is a line in a mst3k episode where crow exclaims something like "the soundtrack is beating us up" and that's how i feel at the end of this song, utterly pummeled. as i rule i have said that songs with "NA NA's" in them should have been outlawed after "hey jude" but i will always welcome any worthy exception to the rule.
exhibit f) Tranquillado: Mark DeCerbo and Bob Tedde should be knighted by the queen. can i direct the video? please?
exhibit g)What Happened Next: this song comes on during the favorite part of my walk home from work. and i even know what he's singing! but that'd be tellin.
exhibit h) Chatfield Manor: i think this is what makes mike keneally different from other performers, this whole cd contains things that are genuine. There are zillions of songs in the world that anybody could have written, those are generic but i think only mike could have done this:see also beautiful, afraid, potato etc..... and while i shutter at the notion of crowd participation songs, the idea of 20,000 people singing the chorus in a soccer stadium in brazil sounds pretty good to me in this case.
exhibit i). Beautiful: see also exhibit h
exhibit j) Voyage to manhood: really love the very beginning, kinda just like the rest.
exhibit k) Egg Zooming: type 11 error !!! system shutdown
exhibit l) I'm Afraid: sorry guitar boys and girls but i have no problem with this song. i'm pretty sure mike knew it would anger the guitar gods in the crowd and to quell them i'd love to hear a screaming sped-up version of this song live, in the vein of "Own" . maybe then they'd get it
exhibit m) Cardboard Dog: for some reason i keep thinking this song is about the tobacco industry. i just do.
exhibit n) Sluggo: there was this guy who worked in my office who is a guitar player and after he heard this just said in a one half inspired one half defeated tone "Man.... I wish I could do that" i'm sure a lot of people feel that same way
This is my dig
Here's Sluggo in a nutshell: It's easily the most listenable of Keneally's albums. That being said, is it good? That answer...yes. Very good. In fact, I've had the album for less than a week and it has vaulted to the top of the MK/BFD album list. I've read some of the reviews here of some of the people who object (however slightly) to songs like "Potato" and "Why Am I Your Guy" as being too poppy (or whatever) for MK/BFD. To that I say....Plugh (If anyone gets that, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send you a puppy, live or stuffed, your choice).
Anyway, I admit to having a sweet tooth for songs that "rock." I'm not the biggest jazz fan in the world, but what attracts me to Keneally's work is the way he uses jazz but still can jam with the best of 'em. So when I hear "Frozen Beef" or "Own" I want to crank it up like Freedom Rock Vol. 9. Go MK/BFD.
Here the songs I'm not too sure about: "Looking for Nina" (I enjoy the weird part in the middle, but the deep "I Am the Slime" voice part does nothing for me) and "Cardboard Dog" (I dunno...maybe it'll grow on me). Other than that, I don't agree with the placement of "Drum Running," but after reading MK's thoughts, at least I understand. Whatever. That's why they made CD players, I suppose.
Anyway, if you've read this after reading four billion other Sluggo! reviews, you need help. Call me in three years after I've graduated from law school (had to sneak that in there, I got into Seton Hall yesterday) and maybe we'll sue somebody.
--Kevin Parsons, Esq. (one day, anyhow)
Sluggo! is here (finally)
I know, Sluggo! was released months ago, but somehow Immune didn't manage to get the cd shipped to my Dutch recorddealer (thank you very much!) and I had decided to wait on them to do so. I know I should have ordered it directly, but hey, it's here. It was in the mail on Friday-morning, so I listened to it in the car to work (a 15 minute drive). First impression: it's as good as all of you keep telling me. It's very different from the Slugfest-medley I have been fetishing for the last six months or so. After work I had to rush to go to a concert and I got home way after midnight. Finally I could listen to it. Damn, what an album. What a guy!
And today I am here again, typing this while listening for the second time:
It's one hell of a song (I have a feeling I'll be repeating myself later on). Lots of guitars on this one. Damned good way to start the album with.
I, Drum-Running, Am Clapboard Bound
Grand piano, wow, sounds great. The piano-track on Tar Tapes was great, Sluggo (the track) has great piano too, I hope MK does more of that. Bryan Beller-solo, great way to start off the BB-bass-contributions. Hey, wait a minute, listen to the drumming! Man, what's happening? It's brilliant, the best composed piece MK has done so far.
Why Am I Your Guy
This kicks ass, panning guitars, very British. Uhh, I know about Radiohead, but doesn't this remind anyone of Therapy?, Foo Fighters or XTC? It seems everybody else likes it but I don't really like the bass-sound, too busy and one does not distort one's bass in my opinion (I would have gone for a McCartney-Rick-sound, but hey, who am I? [BB will say: "Yeah, who the hell are you?"])
Looking For Nina
I like the lyrics on this one. For me it's a metaphore for the way I sometimes catch myself listening to the musicians instead of listening to the music. hat hat hat! Uhh, this is a very great song. I like the stuff in the middle.
Frozen Beef (Come With Me)
Somehow this reminds me of something which could be on Shampoo Horn or Music For Pets. Lots of MK-CCC in this one. I like the "little vixen"-part. Great drums/bass togetherness, uhh, like that.
More piano (luvvit). What's that song on hat? Solo: HELLO Steely Dan. Mallets (marimbas or whatever you call it) sound great. Very MK though.
What Happened Next
Bass sounds like Scott Thunes (the fat, processed sound). Reminds me of something frome a Fripp/Summers album. Nice.
Great lyric. Having read most of the Obvious Moose pages, I guess this is a perfect thank you to Mr.and Mrs.Chatfield. Another one that has a Z-feel to it. A Zep-slide (can't place it, it might be something on Presence or In Through The Outdoor). Nice solo. Beautifully balanced. I'll pick this one as my favourite for now.
As difficult it is for me to understand most of MK's lyrics (I need to translate it, I miss the American culture things and most lyrics are pretty abstract anyway), this one is pretty clear. Damn, I like that solo. And I'm not even going to say anything about the melodyline (I hate you MK!).
"I Guess I'll Peanut"
I'd like an album full of this kind of stuff. (And Linda McCartney actually saying these words) Somehow it reminds me of stuff that Vai stopped doing after Flex-Able.
Voyage To Manhood
I used to play Live Rust back to back. The tape didn't leave my walkman for weeks. I like this song. Nice words. Maybe Christopher Cross will quote "Guess I'll Peanut" one day. BB: great bass-lines!
Nice bassparts (oow, two basses, can I handle this, ahh, yes I can). There's a Vai-feel to this one. Wow, the mallet part is like a reference to Inca Roads/RDNZL. I wish the guitarsound had been bigger (how 'bout it Mike? When are you going to split the guitarsound to extreme stereo?) And a warm thank you to Mr.Moog (as if Keith Emerson and Tommy Mars shake hands). Great solo by the way.
The big sound. I like Leslied guitar (check out Hendrix' First Ray Of The Rising Sun). There's nothing (well almost) like a guitar through a Leslie (and loud please). Hmm, there's another Z-feel (just in front of the solo), and the solo has a King's X-ring to it. Nice bass. BTW I like the way that on this album MK lets the songs last as long as they need to; so 7 or 8 minutes is cool. The songs really get a chance to (wait, something just happened in the other room), uhh, develop themselves in time.
Nice song. If any of the songs on this album could have done with liner notes, it's this one. It has a Beatles' ring to it, cool. (Is the first line a reference to the Beatles' Birthday?) And for those out there who don't like songs about people you love: blow me!
Can I just say that, besides everything else, MK is a great musician? I mean, this is no Lenny Kravitz-I'll-Do-It-Myself-album. There's high-quality performance throughout the album, but the drumming really surprises me. Even though I know how they were recorded. There's a jazzy feel to it. This track has something 70's about it, I don't know what, but something. There's that Steely Dan-guitar again. Now I'm going to listen to the rest of it.
Ah yes, it swings like hell! A great ending of the album.
So is it all magic? No, I still don't really like MK's distorted guitarsound too much (it sometimes sounds as if it's still coming from the SansAmp-thing) and some of the weirdness is gone. Well, that's why I could do with a new Mistakes-album. I wish I lived in the US so I could see MK/BFD perform. I wish I was in the band. I wish I could only have 1% of MK's talent. Sluggo! rules! I wonder what more MK has up his sleeves.
That's my contribution. I'm going to torture myself a bit more now. First the Trans-Fusion-tape and then I think I'll pop in Sluggo! again (and again). So bye,
Sluggo From The Land Of Conceptual Continuity Part 1
3/4/98. I waited this long to get this CD. This is pretty strange since my appreciation for MK and BFD music goes as far as documenting the thought of having a pair of my shoes attend each and every live BFD performance. Let's just say I waited for a special occasion for this purchase. This being the 10 year anniversary of Frank Zappa's Broadway The Hard Way Tour stop in Chicago where Mr. Sting joined in on the festivities could be a reasonable excuse to subdue the insanity on the true reason on why I waited so long on this purchase. As I had done in the past with the Mistakes CD I will do again with Sluggo. I will attempt to listen and type out thoughts as I listen in real time to this release. Mike was quite amused when I had pictured microphones suspended above baby Jesse's crib. Let's see what Sluggo brings us. I purchased the CD at Music Arcade not too far from where Mr. Keneally spent a portion of his adolescence on Long Island. As I entered the store I was singing FZ's ROLLO."St. Alfonzo really loves it when he rubs it for him!" As I sang and made my way to the front entrance I wondered who would be on the other side and what might they think of these lyrics. The thought of the cartoon sketch in 200 motels was racing through my mind. "He's making you think bad thoughts Jeff". As I sang my way through the entrance a sales person was assisting a customer and the lyrics did raise an eyebrow. Before asking for the title in question that I had requested be held aside for me I thought I would go check there rather large used vinyl section for some Epidemics. Not a Dust Speck of luck. After my purchase I headed home. While driving I took the wrapper off but hesitated to go any further in examining any of the inner contents. I figured that it may be best to occasionally glance at the front and back artwork and try to establish some images for the opening which I now write. While I had seen the front cover artwork right here at Moosenet.com I now look at it again to get a fresh image. I think of those 80's King Crimson records. Discipline, Beat and Three of a Perfect Pair. Each had a solid background color, a text descriptive and symbolic reference that one can associate as being part album the albums concept. It's not to say that when an artist chooses to use a photo on the front cover that it can not be conceptual . Just look at Apostrophe as an example. The album breathes Conceptual Continuity. Anyhow maybe you see my linking Sluggo's front cover to that of Crimson. Very interesting back cover. I'm wondering if that could be a Monica Lewinski dress. I'm having it checked for cum stains at this very moment. The purple color is actually a dye that helps check for foreign materials. If you use your special No D glasses. Wait!.. Wrong artist. I could be opening myself up to liability. Strike the NO D reference from the record your honor!.. But if you look closely you can see some very large areas where the dress is discolored and if you hold it up to the light you can see that the good Dr. Smith is attempting to get his hands under the dress. These mysterious alterations that I am speaking of are the product of the inner tray graphics bleeding through when you hold the case up to the light. I will leave my comments solely to that of the similarity to that of Lost in Space and leave the photos of the good musicians alone but I will print the following( Now is the time for everyone to fantasize what they think the good musicians would do on the Monica Lewinski dress!!!). !!. The photo in the upper right hand corner looks like one of those planetary photos where someone is trying to tell you that the face of Jesus Christ can be seen in the photo. In this photo I see Ronald Reagan. Take a look at that monkey it's him. ..Below Ronald In The Moon we see some typical looking back of the album type of text and then you guessed it another symbol. What this means I do not know. Back to the symbol on the front cover. I did not post comment on the upside down question mark black cat but here goes. Cats are supposed to be promiscuous and I was singing about St. Alfanzo being rubbed. If you turn a cat upside down and rub his stomach he likes it too. Let's assume Sluggo is the name of this black cat and he likes to be rubbed. Pretty simplistic though but I don't know what else to make of it. Could be a game show. Just guess what the prizes might be. Now that I've set myself up I can now listen to Sluggo.
Before even commenting on the tune itself I must voice my extreme pleasure that MK has penned a tune called Potato. I've waited almost a decade for someone to bring the potato to a level of satisfaction for the 90's. The parent company that I work for (Bertlesman Inc.) owns The Bertlesman Building which is the largest building in Times Square. This is the place that homes The Virgin Megastore and The All Star Caf. I think back to the early 90's when my colleagues and I worked hard overnight through a very large snow storm in order to get the computer network up and running. I guess you could say that I helped build the place. During a dinner and after a few beers the conversations were really starting to get strange. I remember one of the mangers was feeling good. He folded a table napkin into a hat and wore it upon his head. He wanted to show us how they would party back home in Indiana Anyhow I raised the topic that while the food was wonderful that something really needed to be done with the potato for the 90's. I mean the 80's had brought us curly spice fries but so far nothing special had been dome with the potato in the 90's. I said that a hole should be cored through the middle without affecting the round like quality of the potato. Once you got the hole it could be deep fried and or stuffed. One guy insisted that the potato should be filled with vodka and you would drink the vodka and eat the potato. As the line in the song says it's Potato Potato Potato. We were a party of 12 and each had there own version of what should be done. We were not up all night but we did spend about 15 minutes on the topic. Some of the more narrow minded people could not keep expanding beyond that point but believe it or not no less that 10 times in the next few years did people in that party ask me if I've yet to come up with something for the potato in the 90's . Now I've got something to tell them. It's Potato Potato Potato!..Now You're going to sing cause I needed someone to write a song about Potato. The Potato Is Broken . It don't work anymore. The Potato Is Broken! The Willing Suspension of the Potato. Yes that's right you've heard right the secret word for tonight is flanger. Potato Potato Potato Potato!!! Great fucking tune.
-- Gary Titone
"Sluggo!" Strikes Fear In The Hearts of The Untalented Top 40
"Sluggo!", along with the rest of MK & BFD's albums, is the kind of music that comes along maybe once or twice in a life time. Where The Beatles and Bob Dylan were the voice of the 60's, and in a lesser vain the Bee Gee's were the glittery, stretch pants voice of the 70's, Mike is our voice for our time. It is music so good that I think the world isn't ready for it, because when this stuff hits the air waves and BFD becomes a household name, music in America will never be the same. You can't do better than this. You can't teach this kind of talent, it just happens, which is all the better for us the listener. But when top 40 stations start playing songs like "Potato" or "Frozen Beef ( Come With Me )" in heavy rotation, all the bands that have been on top for so long now will be in big trouble. Everyone will realize what a bunch of bullshit recent "popular" music has been for so long now. Puff Daddy will be, thankfully, put out of business.
People, be thankful, we have Mike Keneally & Beer For Dolphins. Excellent music, humor, purity, passion, ( plus the guys just rock! ). What more do you need? Now, go and tell the rest of the world. Our time has come!!!
--Chad E. Williams
ps: really, I'm serious!!
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