A Day With Mike Keneally
Willie Oteri isnâ€™t sure when he first heard Mike Keneally, but it was probably in one of Frank Zappaâ€™s pieces. This is a little story about another fantastic musician who is brilliant, easy to work with and a lot of fun!
As I write this the two have yet to perform together live, but the prospect is exciting. Oteri says that jamming with Keneally in the studio was a blast. â€œMy first real experience with his playing was when he was tracking for Spiral Out,â€ says Oteri, â€œ When [producer] Ronan [Chris Murphy] and I were in LA mixing Spiral Out, Ronan mentioned bringing Mike in to add some keyboard. Mike drove up from his home in San Diego and knocked it out in a day.â€
Just like that? I was trying to dig for a story, and I pried Oteri for those awkward, dramatic, emotionally tense moments that we see in the movies. â€œHe's a great player and good improviser,â€ says Oteri, â€œHe's very creative, always re-inventing himself and plays guitar as well as he does keys.â€ There was nothing to see here except the priceless professionalism that producers dream about and some creative comedy.
I asked Oteri to tell me more about that day and what it was like to work with Keneally, â€œMike was just like having one of the boys at your house for a jam. Very easy going, funny, great musical ideas.â€ I asked Oteri what stood out the most when he remembered Keneally that day, â€œHis sense of humor,â€ Oteri explained, â€œThere is a little secret about the track Lamont on Spiral Out. It was pretty much Mike's sense of humor that makes that track.â€
Thereâ€™s at least four people who know exactly what Oteri is talking about, but you would have had to have been there, â€œMike started singing a very funny line during the song so we recorded it and it's purposely buried in the mix.â€ I had to listen to Lamont again for myself.