English translation of new Italian interview

Recently an interview with me was posted on the Cronaca Torino newspaper website, link here. With the kind permission of the interviewer Alessandro Gazzera, here are the original interview questions and answers in English as conducted via email:

1. Hello, mr. Keneally and thank you so much for the interview, It’s really a pleasure for me. First of all, why don’t we start with the new tour with Joe Satriani in South America? How to play with musician like him?

I’m having a great time playing with Joe. It’s constantly inspiring and challenging to play guitar next to him – he plays with such ease and mastery, and when we’re trading solos on guitar I definitely need to be at the top of my game. It was an unexpected surprise to get a call from him in 2010 asking me to work in the studio with him, and there has been a lot of recording and touring in the years since, and it’s always enjoyable. I’m glad he called me.

2. Mike Keneally have a really long career with a lot of collaboration. What is the secret of your success?

I just refuse to stop making music. I keep at it and over time I guess more and more people find out about what I’m doing. It’s important to remain open to collaboration; even though I spend a great deal of time working on my own projects, I try to do as much work with other musicians as I can when I’m called about doing other recordings and live gigs. It’s good to mix my own energy with that of other artists, and in terms of career exposure it makes a lot of sense to put myself out in front of different audiences. Playing in front of Satriani’s audience the last few years has been great, and I also play live with a metal band called Dethklok which has given me a very different sort of exposure that I would never have expected. It’s all great and it’s all helpful.

3. What is the most important moment of your career?

Probably when I decided to pick up the phone in late 1987, call Frank Zappa’s office and ask for a job. Frank had no idea who I was – hardly anyone did – so there was no reason to expect he would hire me, but if I hadn’t taken that ridiculous leap, things would have turned out very, very different for me.

4. When did you start to play the guitar and the keyboard?

The keyboard was my first instrument. I received an electric organ for my seventh birthday and loved it immediately. Never having played one before it still felt somehow familiar to me, and I remember walking up to it and picking out the melody to “Paint It, Black” by the Rolling Stones. I still wanted a guitar very badly, mainly because of my love for The Beatles. Four years later, on my eleventh birthday, I got my first acoustic guitar and began teaching myself to play based on what I knew about music from playing the organ.

5. In Italy we really love Frank Zappa and you played in his band for very long time. What do you remember of that period?

I was in constant disbelief that I was in his band at all. I was such a huge fan of Frank’s while I was growing up, and the idea of playing with him seemed like an unobtainable dream. I remember watching Frank onstage during his guitar solos on “Inca Roads” and being practically dizzy in the surreality of the moment. But I also remember hours of laughter during rehearsals putting new music together, and Frank using my familiarity with his repertoire to help bring older, long-unplayed songs back into the setlist, like “Who Needs The Peace Corps?” – if I hadn’t been in the band it’s quite possible that song wouldn’t have found its way back into the repertoire. I’m glad I was there!

6. The italian fans really like you work with Steve Vai. What, in your opinion, the best album you worked on?

“Alive In An Ultra World” was really special because Steve kept writing new songs during the tour for us to learn and play at the shows. He was very busy writing and we were very busy learning, and that made it an extremely unusual tour and I’m glad there’s such a good document of it. But the most special for me is “Vai Piano Reductions Vol. 1,” where I did solo piano arrangements and performances of 11 of his songs. He chose the songs, but gave me total freedom in how I chose to interpret them. It was the hardest album I ever made because solo piano is such a naked and unforgiving medium. But I was very happy with the results, many people have enjoyed the album and most importantly, Steve himself was thrilled with what I did. I couldn’t ask for a better result.

7.  For know better you: what do you think about Italy? Here you have some fans…

I am half Italian (on my mother’s side) so it’s always a good feeling when I get to Italy. The people are wonderful, I love the architecture and sense of history. And the food of course! I’ve had countless great experiences on tour in Italy and look forward to many more.

8. Project for the future?

At the moment I’m primarily concerned with completing work on my next album, Scambot 2. It’s the middle installment in a trilogy; Scambot 1 came out five years ago so I’m very eager to continue work on the second volume. I’ve done a lot of work on it already, in fact I’ve been working on some arranging for it while on the road with Joe Satriani in South America. My hope is to complete the album in the first part of next year, but part of the Scambot concept is that I don’t push too hard with it – it’s a very intricate, multi-layered, narrative work and it kind of has to happen on its own schedule. I’m excited about it though and am eager to share it with the world. But first I’ve got some more touring with Satriani in a few weeks in New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, and early next year I’ll be in the studio with Joe working on his next album. So Scambot 2 has some competition for my attention – but it will be completed next year.

9. Is there a particular artist that you’d like to work with?

Wayne Shorter and Neil Young – ideally both at the same time.

10. Favourite Food?

I don’t think so. There’s so much good food I can’t think of one that stands above all. I wouldn’t want to make any other food feel bad by neglecting it.

11. What do you do in your free time?

I relax with my girlfriend Sarah playing various computer and board games, going on walks, and I love to draw ridiculous pictures.

12. Is there a model for you? Who has most influenced your music?

So many people have had major influences on my music – The Beatles were the first and were a huge influence, Frank Zappa obviously and perhaps he had the greatest impace. But Andy Partridge’s songs for XTC were also a major influence, Todd Rundgren had a major impact on the way I write chord progressions, and John Coltrane was like a lightning bolt for me in terms of improvisational approaches. Miles Davis and Bob Dylan in terms of staying true to your artistic impulses, and The Residents and Captain Beefheart for being unafraid to be absolutely incomprehensible at times. Radiohead for atmospheres and emotion. And a million others.

13. A message for our readers

I very much appreciate anyone who’s taken the time to read this interview, and I look forward to returning to Italy soon. I always relish the chance to play there. I’d also encourage anyone who’d like to know more about my music to visitwww.keneally.com, and you can link from there to my Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as to Radio Keneally, on online radio station playing my music 24 hours a day.

Greetings from South America!

Greetings from South America!

Felicitations! Hope you’re doing well, campers.

a box of human eyesPresently I’m on the South American Satriani tour. We just did the second show of the tour here in Bogota (I’m looking out my hotel window above). The first was a couple of nights ago in Mexico City (where the first thing we saw upon arrival was a box of human eyes at the airport).

The shows have been great so far. Joe, Marco, Bryan and I have a great time onstage and the audiences have been fantastic. If you can make it to any of the next batch of shows, please do. The details are tucked neatly away elsewhere in this missive, as well as information about the New Zealand/Australia/Singapore leg starting in late October.

Right before we leave for New Zealand, I’ll be playing with Dethklok (our first gig in two years!) at Festival Supreme on Saturday, October 25, an epic day of music and comedy hosted by Tenacious D. Dethklok are headlining an amazing lineup of acts (including the reunion of The State, Cheech and Chong, Fred Armisen and Bill Hader, Maria Bamford [whose new-ish comedy special is outrageously good], Drunk History live and way, way more). It’s at the Shrine Expo Hall and Grounds in Los Angeles. All info is at www.festivalsupreme.com.

Dancing DemosIf you haven’t downloaded Dancing Demos maybe you should! It’s a snazzy little release. Oh if you already did download it, there was a piece of information missing from the initial version of the digital booklet that comes with it. A bit of poking around on my very own website revealed something I’d forgotten – the piano/vocal demo for “I Was Not Ready For You” was actually recorded at Signature Sound in 1999 during the Nonkertompf sessions, engineered by Mike Harris. The other eight demos were recorded at Chatfield Manor the following year, engineered by Scott Chatfield. The digital booklet has been re-designed to include this vital information.

Work on Scambot 2 marches boldly forward. A lot of new writing and recording took place recently and I’m messing around on the laptop with stuff while I’m on the road. I won’t mention song titles of the new stuff since it’s all likely to change. But it’s all shaping up to be an interesting continuation of the Scambot saga, of a piece with the first installment but very much its own beast. Scambot 1 was of course very dense and intricate, and a major component of the entire three-volume work is the idea that, sonically, things get clearer and less cluttered as it proceeds. So Scambot 2 represents the mid-way point of that process. I think you’ll be surprised and hopefully entertained by the way it all turns out and I’m eager to continue recording later this year.

We’re also working very hard on live dates for my band in Europe in 2015. Planning is very much in progress so I won’t say too much at this point, but if it all pans out the way we’re hoping it’s going to be great. More on all this as soon as things (hopefully) become official.

I have to get ready for our flight to Santiago now. Take care, please stay in touch with me via Facebook and Twitter, and check out keneally.com and radiokeneally.com whenever you get a chance. Thanks for hanging in with me through all the twists and turns of my career all these years. I really appreciate it!

Pet a dog,

Mike


JOE SATRIANI TOUR
Unstoppable Momentum World Tour 2014

(Joe Satriani, Mike Keneally, Bryan Beller, Marco Minnemann)

The Satriani Band

Sep 20 – Metropolitan Theatre – Mexico City, MX
Sep 23 – Parque Salitre Magico – Bogota, CO
Sep 25 – Movistar Arena – Santiago, CL
Sep 27 – Gran Rex Theatre – Buenos Aires, AR
Sep 28 – Gran Rex Theatre – Buenos Aires, AR
Oct 01 – Citi Bank Hall – Sao Paulo, BR
Oct 03 – Net Live Brasilia – Brasilia, BR
Oct 05 – Agora Casa de Cultura – Quito, EC CANCELLED

Nov 01 – ASB Theatre – Auckland, NZ
Nov 02 – The Opera House – Wellington, NZ
Nov 04 – The Tivoli – Brisbane, AU
Nov 06 – State Theatre – Sydney, AU
Nov 08 – Palais Theatre – Melbourne, AU
Nov 09 – Her Majesty’s Theatre – Adelaide, AU
Nov 11 – Astor Theatre – Perth, AU
Nov 13 – Star Theatre – Singapore, SG

MK on the road with Satch, Bryan Beller & Marco Minnemann

Sep 20 – Metropolitan Theatre – Mexico City, MX
Sep 23 – Parque Salitre Magico – Bogota, CO
Sep 25 – Movistar Arena – Santiago, CL
Sep 27 – Gran Rex Theatre – Buenos Aires, AR
Sep 28 – Gran Rex Theatre – Buenos Aires, AR
Oct 01 – Citi Bank Hall – Sao Paulo, BR
Oct 03 – Net Live Brasilia – Brasilia, BR
Oct 05 – Agora Casa de Cultura – Quito, EC CANCELLED

Nov 01 – ASB Theatre – Auckland, NZ
Nov 02 – The Opera House – Wellington, NZ
Nov 04 – The Tivoli – Brisbane, AU
Nov 06 – State Theatre – Sydney, AU
Nov 08 – Palais Theatre – Melbourne, AU
Nov 09 – Her Majesty’s Theatre – Adelaide, AU
Nov 11 – Astor Theatre – Perth, AU
Nov 13 – Star Theatre – Singapore, SG

Mike debuts Dancing Demos download!

Dancing Demos download

Greetings from scenic Rapperswil, Switzerland! Heading onstage with Satriani in a little bit. This has been a wonderful tour so far, I hope some of you in Europe have been able to see a show or plan to see one in the coming month.

This is a quick note to let you know we’ve made a new downloadable album available – Dancing Demos. This is a nine-song, 37-minute collection of the demos I recorded in 2000 to distribute to the members of Beer For Dolphins, prior to beginning the rehearsals for the album Dancing.

I did these demos, with Scott Chatfield engineering, at Chatfield Manor. These are extremely stripped down, but they aren’t just one-man, live on-the-spot renditions – some songs have both guitar and keyboard parts on them, and there are some vocal harmonies present as well. Some of the tracks feature some spoken instructions as to what I’m thinking about different parts of the songs (eg. the “Stravinsky” section of “Lhai Sal”) and some additional music, chordal approaches and melodic ideas that didn’t make it into the final versions.

Scott found these essentially lost recordings a few months ago, and I had exactly zero recollection of having made them! I find them to be rewarding listening, and they actually reminded me of some of my original and subsequently abandoned musical ideas that I’d like to re-institute the next time I approach these pieces for performance.

The download also features an 8-page digital booklet, handsomely designed by Atticus Wolrab, featuring newly written liner notes, as well as a letter I wrote to the members of BFD at the time (which accompanied the CD of these demos which I sent to them). The letter is a good window into my mental processes at the time regarding what Dancing was supposed to become (including the listing of a running order which is quite different from what eventually happened).

All in all, a rewarding archeological dig for aficionados. And a mere seven bucks for an album length download (back when albums were forty minutes long, more or less). I hope you enjoy the holy heck out of it!

La Cathedrale de Strasbourg,

Mike


JOE SATRIANI TOUR

Satriani BandI’m back on the road with Joe Satriani, Bryan Beller and Marco Minnemann for a spate of gigs for a few weeks across Europe, South America, Australia and New Zealand. If you weren’t able to catch us on the road last year, I hope you’ll be able to make it to a gig this time around. There will be more touring later in the year. I’m excited to get back on the mighty Satch steamroller and really looking forward to this year’s gigs:

Unstoppable Momentum World Tour 2014
(Joe Satriani, Mike Keneally, Bryan Beller, Marco Minnemann)

Jul 12 – Teatro Axerquia – Cordoba, ES
Jul 14 – Grec Theatre – Barcelona, ES
Jul 19 – Festival de Carcassone – Carcassone, FR
Jul 20 – Crazy Week!! The Nice Pop Rock Festival – Nice, FR
Jul 23 – Salle de Etoiles – Monte Carlo, MC (Joe Satriani as the guest of Marcus Miller, no Keneally, Beller or Minnemann)
Jul 24 – Theatre de Verdure – Patrimonio, FR
Jul 26 – Palais de Longchamp (OUTDOORS) – Marseille, FR
Jul 28 – Chapiteau (TENT) – Marciac, FR

Aug 11-15: THE G4 EXPERIENCE

G4 Experience

I, along with Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert and Andy Timmons, will be diving deep into all aspects of guitar playing at The G4 Experience this August at the Cambria Pines Lodge in California. I will relish the opportunity to explore all the facets of my musicianship and share it with everyone there. I suspect I’ll be learning a lot about myself in the process! The location looks to be heavenly as well – I’m looking forward to everything about this.

Sep 20 – Metropolitan Theatre – Mexico City, MX
Sep 23 – Parque Salitre Magico – Bogota, CO
Sep 25 – Movistar Arena – Santiago, CL
Sep 27 – Gran Rex Theatre – Buenos Aires, AR
Sep 28 – Gran Rex Theatre – Buenos Aires, AR
Oct 01 – Citi Bank Hall – Sao Paulo, BR
Oct 03 – Net Live Brasilia – Brasilia, BR
Oct 05 – Agora Casa de Cultura – Quito, EC
Nov 01 – ASB Theatre – Auckland, NZ
Nov 02 – The Opera House – Wellington, NZ
Nov 04 – The Tivoli – Brisbane, AU
Nov 06 – State Theatre – Sydney, AU
Nov 08 – Palais Theatre – Melbourne, AU
Nov 09 – Her Majesty’s Theatre – Adelaide, AU
Nov 11 – Astor Theatre – Perth, AU

Mike on tour with Joe Satriani!

Satriani BandI’m back on the road with Joe Satriani, Bryan Beller and Marco Minnemann for a couple of shows on the East Coast of the US and then a spate of gigs for a few weeks across Europe. If you weren’t able to catch us on the road last year, I hope you’ll be able to make it to a gig this time around. There will be more touring later in the year. I’m excited to get back on the mighty Satch steamroller and really looking forward to this year’s gigs:

Unstoppable Momentum World Tour 2014
(Joe Satriani, Mike Keneally, Bryan Beller, Marco Minnemann)
Jun 7 – The Space At Westbury – Westbury, NY
Jun 10 – The Ridgefield Playhouse – Ridgefield, CT
Jun 14 – Loreley – St. Goarshausen, DE
Jun 15 – TivoliVrendenburg (Ronda Hall) – Utretcht, NL
Jun 16 – Posten – Odense, DK
Jun 17 – Amager Bio – Copenhagen, DK
Jun 18 – Rockefeller – Oslo, NO
Jun 20 – Rockhal Club – Esch-sur-Alzette, LUX
Jun 21 – La Trebendo, Paris, FR
Jun 23 – L’Olympia – Paris, FR
Jun 24 – Openluchttheatre – Antwerp, BE
Jun 25 – Garage Saarbrücken – Saarbrucken, DE
Jun 26 – Zeltfestival – Ulm, DE
Jun 27 – Tollhaus – Karlsruhe, DE
Jun 28 – Jazz’n’Blues Festival – Rapperswil-Jona, CH
Jun 30 – La Laiterie – Strasbourg, FR
Jul 01 – Casino – Amneville, FR
Jul 02 – La Cooperative de Mai – Clermont-Ferrand, FR
Jul 03 – Cascina San Giacomo – Rezzato, Brescia, IT
Jul 04 – Diga Nazario Sauro – Grado, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, IT
Jul 06 – Festival Jazz a Vienne – Vienne, FR (with Jeff Beck!)
Jul 08 – Espace Malraux – Six-Fours-les-Plages, FR
Jul 12 – Teatro Axerquia – Cordoba, ES
Jul 14 – Grec Theatre – Barcelona, ES
Jul 19 – Festival de Carcassone – Carcassone, FR
Jul 20 – Crazy Week!! The Nice Pop Rock Festival – Nice, FR

THE G4 EXPERIENCE

G4 Experience

I, along with Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert and Andy Timmons, will be diving deep into all aspects of guitar playing at The G4 Experience this August at the Cambria Pines Lodge in California. I will relish the opportunity to explore all the facets of my musicianship and share it with everyone there. I suspect I’ll be learning a lot about myself in the process! The location looks to be heavenly as well – I’m looking forward to everything about this.

Mike types to you from the KBL tour van…

Keneally-Bendian-Lunn rip into “Skies of LA” at Orion Sound Studios in Baltimore MD on May 22, 2014. Video by Guest Host J.D. Mack, audio by Mike Potter– thanks, you guys!

Hi, it’s Mike – having a great time with Keneally-Bendian-Lunn on the road, a rocking little trio if I do say so myself. We had a real blast last night playing the NJ Proghouse in Dunellen, NJ, maybe our best playing of the tour so far. So we are feeling good and warmed up for the last four shows of the tour.

Tonight is The Middle East in Cambridge, MA, with School For Robots and Bent Knee opening. Tomorrow night is the Bearsville Theatre in Woodstock, NY, with our good friend Jesse Gress sitting in with us for a few classic tunes by Mahavishnu, Jeff Beck and Todd Rundgren, and Paul Green’s Rock Academy kids opening. (Part of our Bearsville soundcheck will be broadcast live on WDST-FM starting around 5pm EST.) We’re winding up with gigs in Charleston, WV and Scottsville, KY (this one’s free!). A whirlwind of shows in two weeks, it’s going by like a flash but I’m having a tremendous amount of fun and the audiences have been really into it. I hope to see a bunch of you at the final four shows.

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Mike Keneally’s Road Report!

Keneally Bendian Lunn

Yo!

We’ve done five shows on the Keneally-Bendian-Lunn tour so far and things are developing musically in a fascinating way every night. The setlist is being honed and altered each night and it’s a challenging, fun ride for us and for the audience. Touching on so many different styles and dynamics, we’ve put together a song order that has a really satisfying flow. Response has been absolutely fantastic – thank you to all who’ve been a part of the shows, so far, from the superbly generous and helpful Guest Hosts and Associate GHs, to the venue owners and staff, and of course the audience. This is turning out to be a really enjoyable tour!

Check out the info below for the remaining gigs, and if you’re planning to go to any, please consider buying your tickets in advance online (we’re hitting up some new venues on this run and it’s nice for them to see some decent sales in advance of the show, and helps us in the long run in terms of future touring).

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Keneally-Bendian-Lunn tour starts Thursday!

Keneally-Bendian-Lunn tour

Plus, new Scambot 2 video, save 20% at the MK Store!

Hey pals!

Presently I am re-jiggering my pedalboard and about to change my guitar strings – not the sort of activities which generally bring me much joy (I am so NOT a gear-oriented guy) but today I do them with a keen sense of anticipation. The Keneally-Bendian-Lunn tour starts this week (first show is Thursday the 15th in Nashville) and I’m jazzed about it.

I want to thank, with all sinceriosity, the people who volunteered to be Guest Hosts (and Associate Guest Hosts) for the upcoming shows, and are doing all they can to help us spread the word. If you have pals who might not know about the gigs and would enjoy them, let them know what’s happening!

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