Mike Keneally Interview


Mike Keneally is interviewed in Modern Guitars Magazine, where he speaks on a variety of topics — his experiences playing and performing with the Zappas (Frank, Dweezil & Ahmet), Steve Vai, Henry Kaiser and The Mistakes, James LaBrie and Mullmuzzler, his thoughts on the Zappa Plays Zappa tour, as well as the re-release of his early albums Hat and Boil That Dust Speck.

Zappanale Statue Ceremony

For those among us that couldn’t get to the unveiling at the 2002 Zappanale Statue Ceremony at Bad Doberan, these next two clips are the next best thing — featuring former band members Mike Keneally, Jimmy Carl Black, Bunk Gardner, Bob & Thana Harris, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Ike Willis, Roy Estrada, Candy & Bob Zappa, Pamela De Barres, as well as Wolfhard Kutz, the chief from the Zappanale. The first clip has an excellent, on-the-spot, bilingual improvisational rendition of “Help I’m A Rock.”

Kind of makes you wish you were there.

Viva Zappa

Viva Zappa

From the moment of Frank Zappa’s untimely passing due to prostate cancer until the formation of Zappa Plays Zappa, the only way anyone could hear Zappa’s music performed live was via one of the multitude of cover/tribute bands. From rock, jazz, baroque to big band, wind quintets, and classical ensembles, the variety of musical approaches and bands were just as eclectic and varied as much of the music itself — with names like Project/Object, FiDO, The Muffin Men just to name a few. In Canada, if you wanted a live Zappa fix, the band to see and hear was Viva Zappa, based in Quebec. You can download individual Zappa covers interpreted by Viva Zappa, or download their entire CD, Viva Zappa: The Purple Lagoon Sessions 2006 & 2007, at Zappateers (Sorry, Torrent).

What’s your favourite Zappa Tribute Band(s)?

Zappa Plays Zappa on Rockline Replay

zappa plays zappa

Dweezil and Zappa Plays Zappa are live in studio on Rockline Replay, which includes five individual on air segments, wherein Dweezil answers questions from callers as well as from the host Bob Coburn, in between performances of FZ’s and Dweezil’s music. Ever wanted to know if Frank played with Hendrix? Click and find out.

Livin’ In The Jungle — Flo & Eddie

By the time Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan joined Frank Zappa’s second incarnation of the Mothers, not only had the Turtles disbanded, but their legal troubles had reached such epic proportions that they had lost rights not only to the band’s name, but their own ‘noms de plume’ as well so that while these cases were before the courts, neither of them could tour or perform as themselves. Thus were created the Eddie and the Phlorescent Leech (aka The Sanzini Brothers) personae out of sheer necessity.

In this clip from the Happy Together (Documentary) (1990), Volman and Kaylan explain their now famous “Manager Story” which led to their major legal entanglements.

Remember, this is not an Elton John concert!

I Come From Nowhere — Zappa or Zoloft?

Are you sad? Take a pill. Stressed out? Take this pill. Depressed? Take that pill. Did Zappa envisage the present-day mass marketing of drugs like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil — drugs designed and marketed to modulate your brain chemistry and intended to make you less depressed, more sociable, more happy at work; aimed at altering your mood or “changing” the way you think, feel and act: with over tens of billions of dollars in annual sales and 35 million users worldwide — when he composed the song “I Come From Nowhere“?

According to The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA):

Listening to music for at least 20 minutes each day can help slow down your heart rate and other body functions and can help you deal with the root causes of depression, such as anger, frustration, sadness or anxiety.

I don’t know about you, but not only does 20 minutes of Frank Zappa each day do good for my bodily functions, but the image of that pussy in headphones alone brings a smile to my face…

Portrait of a Zappa Freak

How old were you when you figured out there was something seriously different with you? When did you discover that the world was going in one particular direction, and you the other? That age for me was around eight or nine years old. The same time I discovered the music of Frank Zappa. The album, Just Another Band From L.A. to be exact. It just made sense to me. Then and now. It was also plainly obvious, even to my young mind at that time, that I was different from my peers. I was a Freak.

The freaks, by Zappa’s reckoning, resisted the binaries of right versus left, dominant culture versus counterculture, or squares versus hippies, preferring instead to align themselves with an aesthetic not narrowly defined by fashion or political leanings.

Of course, it drove my family to distraction and despair as my collection of Zappa records grew, and many a Zappa album found it’s way shattered against the wall like a frisbee, or gashed with long scratches across the vinyl from being too hurriedly de-needled. But by high school, my Zappa fix was a close as the nearest record store (or for those who couldn’t afford them — the nearest public library).

Where do you fit along the Zappa continuum? Passing Zappa listener? Zappaholic? Full fledged Zappa Freak? Then read Ben Watson’s paper, “Houston … Fort .. Marcuse: Sin Versus Archetype in Zappa” addressed to the International Conference of Esemplastic Zappology on 16 January 2004 at Theatro Technis, Crowndale Road, Camden Town, London.

Some Zappa Freaks are really out of this world…

FM TV — Documentary

A special type of entertainment for a specialized audience. That’s how Frank Zappa describes his own music in this obscure FM TV documentary first broadcast on July 13, 1982 — featuring interviews with FZ, Don Preston, Adrian Belew, and Terry Bozzio; plus footage of “You Are What You Is” as well as videoclips of “Punky’s Whips” and “Black Napkins” from Baby Snakes.

Sound Theories

Sound Theories

Yes, yes. The amazing new double album is out now. Order the limited edition digipak for your chance to win a Sound Theories Tour Aftershow Pass!

But read the small print first:

2500 red satin passes SOUND THEORIES AFTERSHOW PASSES were randomly inserted into our limited edition 10,000 Sound Theories Vol. I & II digipaks – sold only through the Vai.com Online Store. Please read the following information about the Sound Theories Aftershow Passes carefully:

a.. The Aftershow pass is for ONE person to attend ONE aftershow meet and greet at any Sound Theories concert in the USA, Canada and South America. The pass does not allow you to bring a guest or guests.
b.. Passes remain the property of Light Without Heat/Euphoria Inc. and can be revoked at any time.
c.. Passes cannot be resold on sites such as Ebay. Passes sold on Ebay will become void and purchaser will be denied entry into the aftershow.
d.. Passes cannot be re-used.
e.. The aftershow pass is NOT a backstage pass, and does not allow you any special privileges, backstage or dressing room access, or pre-show soundcheck access. It will ONLY allow you into the aftershow meet and greet at the end of the concert.
f.. The Sound Theories aftershow pass is NOT and EVO Premium Experience pass. Please do not come to the show early and use it to try to get into the EVO Experience. You will be turned away.
g.. After the concert, you will need to come to the front of the stage and show your pass to security. You will then be taken to where the aftershow will take place. Your pass will need to be stamped or dates by a member of our touring crew. DO NOT stick the pass to your clothing before we have written on it.
h.. We reserve the right to cancel or cut short the aftershow meet and greet at any time in the event that Steve is unwell, or due to venue curfew. In the even that the aftershow is cancelled, you will be able to use the passes at a different show on the Sound Theories Tour.
i.. We reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone.

Remember when it was all just about the music?

Live from The Pier in NYC 1984

On the sixth month anniversary of my divorce judgement, and fulfilling the requests of two KUR aficionados, here’s an excellent cover of The Allman Brothers Band classic “Whipping Post” by Frank Zappa’s 1984 band (solos and all). Hey, don’t you feel better already…


It is said that true immortality is achieved only when one becomes part of the popular culture’s collective consciousness. This being said, I wasn’t too surprised to find this reference to Frank Zappa in the Serpent’s Tail anthology, Intoxication: an anthology of stimulant-based writing, edited by Toni Davidson:

“Rancy had only ever been in at Whitey and Bammo’s the five times. It would always be the same — one of his mates would be wanting a bit blow, and what with every other source in the town run dry, they’d’ve ended up at Whitey and Bammo’s; where, ritually, you got teased by the kids, got attacked by the cats and you had to listen to Frank fucking Zappa. ‘Zappaaaaahhhh!’ as Whitey called him. ‘Zappaaaaahhhh!'”

“Moving Target” by Gordon Legge, p.91

intoxication anthology

KNBC Los Angeles

Frank Zappa is interviewed on this unknown talk show (circa 1980) on KNBC Los Angeles, promoting Joe’s Garage, the just released Limited Edition 12″ single “I Don’t Wanna Get Drafted!” and Baby Snakes. He answers some questions, evades others, and provides further evidence of his penchant for putting his female interviewers at ease…

Flo Hits 60

Howard Kaylan (Eddie) performs a video birthday salute for his long time friend and musical co-conspirator, Mark Volman (The Fluorescent Leech), both formerly of the Turtles, to be viewed at his 60th birthday party in Nashville, TN on May 5, 2007. Those of us old enough to remember much of what Kaylan recalls are no doubt running short on Grecian Formula.