NEWS: Mike Keneally’s SCAMBOT holiday special

The ever-awesome Mike Keneally has just released the SCAMBOT Holiday Special as a free bonus for shoppers at his website, or as a $5 download.

If you buy $50 worth of merchandise f you’ll receive a free copy of the limited edition CD-R, The SCAMBOT Holiday Special. Now the SCAMBOT Holiday Special is available as an instant download for only $5 at MooseMart. (The only way to get the physical CD-R hand signed by Mike is still to by $50 worth of MK stuff at MooseMart.)

Listen to The SCAMBOT Holiday Specette, a one-minute sampler, here.

According to Mike’s latest website update…


This is what the cover of The Scambot Holiday Special would look like if there actually was a cover, which there isn’t.

Two days ago (Dec. 4) was the fifteenth anniversary of Frank Zappa’s passing. I’ve been obsessively listening to his music in the car for several months without being specifically conscious of the upcoming significance of Dec. 4, but when I realized yesterday what day it was, I was struck by how strongly Frank’s presence has been exerting itself in my life lately. Sending out strong love and gratitude to Frank right now.

Possibly as a result of all that, I think he had an unusually strong influence on the construction of The SCAMBOT Holiday Special, but I also feel strong echoes of Firesign Theatre in it, and of Brendon Small’s work on Home Movies. And also, very specifically, the influence of variety TV shows from the ’60s to the present. So that’s a little listing of some of the influences on this insane little thing.

This is an interesting little holiday presentation which I’ve written and produced here. It’s about fourteen-and-a-half minutes long; five tracks, with tracks 1, 3 and 5 acting as framing devices for tracks 2 and 4, which are full-length studio recordings of the songs “Holiday Face” and “Salve-Dependent Scorpions.”

“Holiday Face” is a new acoustic instrumental recording done specifically for this CD. It reminds me compositionally of “Thanksgiving” but has an even more intimate studio vibe than that song, and I tracked it with Mike Harris engineering at Chatfield Manor. Me on all instruments: two acoustic guitars, bass, organ, tambourine and other percussion. Bunch of vocals and a wah-clavinet solo at the end that I’m really happy about.

“Salve-Dependent Scorpions” is an alternate take of an instrumental piece from the upcoming multi-volume work SCAMBOT. The basic track was recorded on analog tape by Tom Trefethen, and has me on Hammond organ, Rick Musallam on electric guitar, Bryan Beller on bass and Joe Travers on drums. (This was, surprisingly to me, the first studio session of the Guitar Therapy Live version of the Keneally Band.) Later at Chatfield Manor we overdubbed two takes of Evan Francis on alto sax, and two takes of me on lead guitar. The version which will be on SCAMBOT will be entitled “The Scorpions” and will feature such completely different guitar and sax performances that it’s essentially another composition. Have to admit to a strong Frank influence on the guitar performance.

Tracks 1, 3 and 5 of the The SCAMBOT Holiday Special (“The Quest,” “The Swordfight” and “The Owl”) are twisted little combinations of electronic music done on a Moog, other added effects, and dialogue/narration/singing which advances a peculiar narrative (I originally wrote it as part of the actual SCAMBOT album-slash-comic book story continuity). I couldn’t find a way to wedge it into SCAMBOT comfortably, but it now forms the conceptual backbone of this Holiday Special. It’s in these short segments, which illustrate a surreal imaginary late-’60s television holiday special about a quest of some kind, that the Firesign and Brendon influences come to the fore, but there’s also some heavy Lumpy Gravy and Läther influence in there. I can’t help it, sorry.

The CD-R was mastered by Scott Chatfield at the Manor, and served up fresh to those of you who wisely choose to treat themselves and/or their loved ones to fifty bucks worth of quality Moosemart merchandise (a copy each of the hat. and Boil That Dust Speck special editions, for instance, and you’re already there. Just saying).

I downloaded it the other day and I freaking love it, plus it’s totally awesome to have a preview of sorts for the monumental SCAMBOT project.