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Mike Keneally

Mike Keneally obviously doesn't like to be labeled -- he's a bandleader and bandmember, a rock and jazz fusion player, and also an outstanding guitarist, vocalist, keyboardist, and percussionist. Taking up keyboards at age five, Keneally's life changed when he moved from New York to California in 1970 and heard Frank Zappa for the first time at age ten. Woodshedding for the next 15 years as a self-taught guitarist, Keneally formed a band called Drop Control in his hometown of San Diego in 1985 and became one of the city's musical heroes. Keneally auditioned for Zappa's band in 1987 as a "stunt guitar" replacement for Steve Vai, and was hired as a guitarist, keyboardist, and vocalist. The multi-instrumentalist would appear on some classic Zappa albums like Broadway the Hard Way and The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life, but little did he know that his lineup would be Zappa's final touring band. Between 1988 and 1991, Keneally performed with Drop Control and Zappa's son Dweezil's band Z, toyed with studio-musician status, and moved to Los Angeles.

After working on the Grammy-winning tribute album Zappa's Universe, Keneally started a solo career with his 1992 debut album, Hat. Quirky and hard to categorize (with Zappa trademarks like classical undertones, stuttering, jazz-like rhythms, and humorous lyrics), the debut was a big hit with critics. But the next year would claim both Keneally's father and Zappa, leading to the moody yet brilliant 1994 CD Boil That Dust Speck. Ranging from intense rock ("Skunk") to ballads ("Blameless [The Floating Face]") to Keneally's closing percussion tribute saga to Zappa, "The Old Boat Guy," the disc showcased every facet of his array of talents. Leaving Z in 1996 and naming his solo touring band Beer for Dolphins, Keneally released the riotous double CD Half Alive in Hollywood, featuring one disc of live-in-a-studio originals and one of live stage performances (including covers of Jimi Hendrix's "Power to Love" and Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song"). He also formed a band called the Mistakes, with Henry Kaiser, Andy West (Dixie Dregs), and Prairie Prince (the Tubes), who released a self-titled album.

The same year, Keneally joined fellow Zappa alumnus Steve Vai's band, playing on the G3 Tour over the next year with Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, Robert Fripp, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Playing classical piano-like keyboard lines, percussion, and intricate harmonized guitar lines with rock virtuoso Vai, Keneally helped the band steal the G3 show often (as evidenced by the G3: Live in Concert CD). Between releases by Beer for Dolphins (1997's Sluggo!; 2000's Dancing) and solo albums (1999's Nonkertompf, on which he played all of the instruments), Keneally also found time to record two CDs with Vai, 1999's The Ultra Zone and 2001's Alive in an Ultra World.

In 2001, Keneally got a new acoustic guitar, which led to the release of the largely acoustic-based and mellow Wooden Smoke, which showed yet another side of Keneally's musical personality. For another interesting detour, in 2002, Keneally was approached by Co de Kloet, commissioning director for Holland's NPS Radio, and was commissioned to write music for electric guitar and orchestra. The resulting music and live performances with the renowned Metropole Orchestra were such a success that de Kloet started the NPS Output label to release The Universe Will Provide in 2004, just a month after Keneally turned around and delivered his hardest-rocking album to date, Dog, with the newly christened Mike Keneally Band. Just a few months after that came Piano Reductions, Vol. 1, an album of Vai songs played solo on piano that was actually recorded in 1999 at Steve's request. As if he weren't busy enough, around the same time he got involved with Henry Kaiser and Wadada Leo Smith's Yo Miles! project, appearing on both Sky Garden and Upriver.

The Mike Keneally Band hit the road in 2005, playing across the U.S., with Guitar Therapy Live appearing as the tour document in 2006. That same year, Keneally acquired the rights to his early catalog on Immune with plans to re-release it in deluxe editions in 2007 on Exowax (each of Keneally's Exowax recordings has been available as a limited-edition package with lots of bonus material). With his wide-ranging talents and ability to be creative in almost any musical situation, Keneally is the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era. ~ Bill Meredith & Sean Westergaard
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: You Must Be This Tall

1. You Must Be This Tall

2. Cavanaugh

3. Plum

4. Cornbread Crumb

5. Kidzapunk

6. Pitch Pipe

7. The Rider

8. Bolarius

9. Popes

10. Indicator

11. 5th Street

12. Glop

x

Track List: Scambot 1

1. Big Screen Boboli

2. Ophunji's Theme

3. Hallmark

4. Chee

5. Tomorrow

6. Cat Bran Sammich Pt. 1

7. You Named Me

8. Cat Bran Sammich Pt. 2

9. Saturate

10. M

11. Cold Hands

12. We Are The Quiet Children

13. Foam

14. The Brink

15. Life's Too Small

16. Behind The Door

17. Gita

18. Dadunda

x

Track List: Wooden Smoke

1. Hello

2. Bags

3. Haugseth

4. 2001

5. New England

6. Nanny-A** Crow

7. Dee 'N' A

8. Boom

9. 5 Legs

10. Father's Day

11. Pantomime

12. Machupicchu

13. Wooden Smoke

14. Thanksgiving

x

Track List: Wooden Smoke Asleep

1. David Lynch's Curtains

2. Me, Innate

3. 4 Legs

4. The Canyon

5. Kane St.

6. Testing

7. Paloma

8. Boom 2001

9. Hi

10. Haunted Wind

11. The Velvet Of Knowing

12. The Haunted Wind Of Commanche

13. David Lynch's Curtains - Sleepwalk With Me

14. Thanks

15. Nanny-A** Coda

16. And, So

17. Mumbledy Bag

18. Manhattan

x

Track List: Nonkertompf

1. What Are You Doing

2. Click

3. I Just Got Here

4. Naked Horse

5. Blue Jean Baby

6. The Knife & Drum

7. Paprika

8. Nine

9. Sunset Over The Paprika Festival

10. Juzz

11. Chew

12. Show Yourself

13. Don't Hurt Our Paprika!

14. Clumpy Clumpy O

15. Oh Angel

16. The Boing-Ah Steroid

17. On A Glandular Level

18. The Blumpy Hop

19. Draconian Blump

20. Rake Bannuh's Men

21. Odon

22. I Love It Here

23. Drumsticks

24. Oprah Talks To Teens

25. Hum

26. Rake's Men Hurt Their Back

27. Piezo Clambake

28. Medic!

29. Hang Tough

30. An Understanding Of My Self As Other

31. Self 'N' Other

32. O, Stamp Collector

33. Show More Of Yourself

34. Lights Out, Eyes Open

35. What Have I Done

x

Track List: Boil That Dust Speck

1. Sooth

2. 'Cause Of Breakfast

3. The Desired Effect

4. Skunk

5. I'm Glad There's Lemon-Freshened Thorax In You

6. Top Of Stove Melting

7. Aglow

8. Bryan Beller's Favorite Song

9. Deep-Fried Skinks Are Go!

10. Good Morning, Sometime

11. Them Dolphins Is Smart

12. 1988 Was A Million Years Ago

13. Yep, Them Dolphins Is Smart, Alright

14. Bullys (Sic)

15. My Dilemma

16. Helen Was Brash

17. Weekend

18. Land Of Broken Dreams

19. Blameless (The Floating Face)

20. That Claim-Jumping Swine, O'bannon

21. Faithful Axe

22. Natty Trousers

23. Scotch

24. There Have Been Bad Moments

25. Frang Tang, The Valentine Bear

26. I Will

27. In The Bone World

28. The Old Boat Guy, Part One

29. The Old Boat Guy, Part Two

30. The Old Boat Guy, Part Three

x

Track List: Hat.

1. Your Quimby Dollars At Work

2. I Can't Stop

3. Ugly Town

4. Open Up!

5. Dhen Tin

6. Spearmint Pup

7. Fencing

8. Always Man

9. My Immense Superiority Over The Silverfish

10. Eno And The Actor

11. The Car Song

12. Heaven Likes You/Apple Pie

13. Backstage With Wilson Phillips

14. Here Is What I Dreamed

15. Here Is Why

16. Performing Miracles

17. Spoon Guy

18. And That's Why It's Called Spunk

19. Johnny One-Note/The Exciting New Toothpaste From Mars

20. Day Of The Cow 1

21. Snowcow

22. Day Of The Cow 2

23. We're Rockin' All Night With The Tangy Flavor Of Cheddar

24. Rosemary Girl

25. Lightnin' Roy

Comments

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clintmemo
No Bio on Mike Keneally? Really?
An accomplished Guitarist and Keyboardist, Mike Keneally began his career as part of Frank Zappa's band. His music tends more towards the improvisatio n a l and the experimental than mere shredding. Other albums include Boil That Dust Speck and Sluggo.

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