Space Brothers and Mike Keneally @ Red Dock Saloon, 2009

I’d like to dedicate this particular post to my friend, and fellow KUR-Meister, Balint, who recently reminded so well that sometimes it’s worthwhile just to post just for the fun of it all, and for the love of the music, itself. Nothing could come closer to that description than the few videos I recently discovered while surfing about the internet of The Space Brothers and Mike Keneally (also featuring Bryan Beller) performing on August 16th, 2009, at the Red Dock Saloon in Saugatuck/Douglas, Michigan, on the lakeshore of Lake Michigan – a venue well known for it’s good food, cold beer, loud music, and nasty bathrooms. Although the audio is somewhat muddy at times, the guitar work in these videos is often absolutely sublime – especially the guitar work in their cover of Frank Zappa‘s “My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama” (above). There are instances I am reminded how much I miss FZ’s live guitar improvisation, and why Keneally is considered “the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era”. Listen to their cover of “Cosmik Debris” as well as a riff from “Inca Roads” (both below) and decide.


17 Responses to “Space Brothers and Mike Keneally @ Red Dock Saloon, 2009”

  1. Thinman says:

    A quote from Thinman:

    … Keneally is considered “the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era”. …

    By whom?

    Keneally does many things (probably too many). But most of the time for me he is like one of those autistic people with this brain defect that causes exceptional talents and abilities (Asperger-syndrom). Unable to use their exceptional talents and abilties to create something of any significance.

    Wouldn’t it have been for his short probationer-job in the ’88 band, nobody would have ever heard about him, I’m afraid.

    Th.

  2. BlackZone says:

    I appreciate his musicianship, but somehow it’s a bit “dirty” for me, without the somehow meditative (?) quality of FZ’s guitar work. like in Inca Roads up here – it sure is something, but has a “hey guys, I can even do this!” habit in it, mixed with “old friends jamming in a garage” feeling. all of FZ’s bands had a “rehearsed to death” professionalism, together with the fun of playing music. Up here they sure have fun – mine is a bit less in the meantime… ;)

  3. Balint says:

    wow – are they playing on a rooftop or something? :-)

  4. Robert says:

    A quote from Thinman:

    A quote from Robert:

    … Keneally is considered “the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era”. …

    By whom?

    Keneally does many things (probably too many). But most of the time for me he is like one of those autistic people with this brain defect that causes exceptional talents and abilities (Asperger-syndrom). Unable to use their exceptional talents and abilties to create something of any significance.

    Wouldn’t it have been for his short probationer-job in the ’88 band, nobody would have ever heard about him, I’m afraid.

    Th.

    Wow, those are damn harsh words, Thinman! However, I must agree somehow with you on your observation that Keneally’s reputation is mostly based on his work with FZ.

  5. Thinman says:

    A quote from Thinman:

    Wow, those are damn harsh words, Thinman!

    FZ himself told an interviewer when being asked about his own sheer AMOUNT of creativity and output: “Could be a disease.”

    In the case of Mike Keneally: I appreciate his musicianship, have some of his releases, met him in person by accident in the early nineties (he won’t remember) and think he is a nice human being – but in general his music always left me cold.

    In recent years I tend to simplify my listening habits (and pleasures): If I want zappish music then I listen to Zappa.

    Th.

  6. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Robert:

    A quote from Thinman:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    … Keneally is considered “the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era”. …

    By whom?

    Keneally does many things (probably too many). But most of the time for me he is like one of those autistic people with this brain defect that causes exceptional talents and abilities (Asperger-syndrom). Unable to use their exceptional talents and abilties to create something of any significance.

    Wouldn’t it have been for his short probationer-job in the ’88 band, nobody would have ever heard about him, I’m afraid.

    Th.

    Wow, those are damn harsh words, Thinman! However, I must agree somehow with you on your observation that Keneally’s reputation is mostly based on his work with FZ.

    By whom?

    Sean Westergaard of the All Music Guide.

    Of all those who played with Zappa, in my opinion, Mike Keneally’s post-Zappa output is by far the most original, creative, and musically eclectic without once resorting to the glib nostalgia that so many of the alumni are unfortunately caught up in.

    Thinman, do you own even one Keneally album, my friend? I suggest before making such broad statements you give a listen to Boil That Dust Speck, Dancing, Dog, Guitar Therapy Live, and most of all, Nonkertompf. There was once a time when all I knew of Keneally was based on his work with Zappa. I discovered there was also a great wealth of fantastic music there to be discovered, too, whether or not you agree with Westergaard’s statement.

  7. urbangraffito says:

    As a general open forum to my fellow KUR-Meisters, who would YOU consider “the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era” anyway?

  8. Thinman says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    Thinman, do you own even one Keneally album, my friend? I suggest before making such broad statements you give a listen to Boil That Dust Speck, Dancing, Dog, Guitar Therapy Live, and most of all, Nonkertompf. …

    I have pretty much all that you mentioned plus Hat and a few others (Beer for Dolphins Half Alive In Hollywood, Mistakes …). I wouldn’t make such a statement out of pure theory you can be sure.

    “the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era” – I don’t think and listen in such categories.

    Th.

  9. Barry's Imaginary Publisher says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    As a general open forum to my fellow KUR-Meisters, who would YOU consider “the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era” anyway?

    Progressive rock is dead, Urb. Haven’t you read the memo? ;) Besides: to label Zappa as “progressive rock” is a misnomer. FZ’s music lives on a planet of its very own…

  10. Nowski says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    As a general open forum to my fellow KUR-Meisters, who would YOU consider “the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era” anyway?

    Coste Apetrea (of swedish band Samla Mammas Manna fame – look them up – the next best to Zappa)

  11. Dark Clothes says:

    Progressive rock is not dead, but it sure smells funny!

    Actually the funny smell has been a defining trait of this particular beast, since the heyday!

    (BTW, I wasn’t aware that there is a post-Zappa era… I wonder what’s typical of that period?)

  12. Matt says:

    He would deny it, but Steven Wilson is a leading prog genius of sorts. But he’s more than just a one-prog pony, working in many different musical genres. And he’s a big Zappa fan.

  13. Balint says:

    A quote from Dark Clothes:

    BTW, I wasn’t aware that there is a post-Zappa era… I wonder what’s typical of that period?

    Heh, same with me! :-) Az in an interview by Tom Mulhern:

    “Without Frank Zappa, where would popular music be? Most likely, right where it is – or very close. That is to say, his approach to music – complex, unpredictable, and often cynical – doesn’t quite fit in with the pre-programmed mainstream of pop music. Elements of all types of music, including contemporary classical, jazz, heavy metal, and practically every other recognizable form are employed with equal aplomb in Zappa’s work.”

  14. SOFA - Philostopher/Chef says:

    Less thsan 15 miles from my home. Did I know about it? No, Did I missit? Yup. Am I pissed? Oh yeah…

  15. Robert says:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    As a general open forum to my fellow KUR-Meisters, who would YOU consider “the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era” anyway?

    Matthias IA Eklundh. Whom some people would shove into the Speed/Death/Whatever Metal box. I for one care less for such labels but simply adore his approach to guitar-playing with less emphasis on effects gear but more on harmonies.

  16. Chris Ingalls says:

    Sean Westergaard’s quote pretty much sums up my feelings about Keneally:

    “Of all those who played with Zappa, in my opinion, Mike Keneally’s post-Zappa output is by far the most original, creative, and musically eclectic without once resorting to the glib nostalgia that so many of the alumni are unfortunately caught up in.”

    Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, and I’ll just say that of all the Zappa alums out there making music, Keneally’s the one guy whose solo output has been consistently interesting, creative, and flat-out spectacular. Unlike some of the other guys, Mike very rarely coasts on nostalgia (despite what YouTube may have you believe – everyone and his brother seems to post video of Mike performing “Inca Roads,” despite the fact that I’ve seen him in concert four times and never heard one note of Zappa music in ANY of those shows).

    Mike certainly gives Frank credit for the inspiration – not to mention the enormous professional opportunity of playing in the 1988 band – but he plays his own music, and many of us love it. I’ll take that over Jimmy Carl Black (RIP) bitching and moaning about unpaid royalties while playing with any FZ tribute band that will have him.

  17. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Barry’s Imaginary Publisher:

    A quote from urbangraffito:

    As a general open forum to my fellow KUR-Meisters, who would YOU consider “the leading progressive rock genius of the post-Zappa era” anyway?

    Progressive rock is dead, Urb. Haven’t you read the memo? ;) Besides: to label Zappa as “progressive rock” is a misnomer. FZ’s music lives on a planet of its very own…

    Sorry, Barry, I guess I didn’t get that particular memo. In any case, it wasn’t I who was labeling Zappa as “progressive rock” but Sean Westergaard who I quoted. Myself, I find most musical categories problematic, particularly as they apply to Zappa, so I found it easier to quote Sean Westergaard in reference to Mike Keneally’s post-Zappa work. That said, I’m pretty much in complete agreement with Chris Ingalls’ comment that “Keneally’s the one guy whose solo output has been consistently interesting, creative, and flat-out spectacular.”

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