Newly hired stunt guitarist Mike Keneally kept an audio journal during most of Frank Zappa's 1988 "Broadway The Hard Way" tour that included set lists, backstage goings-on and many personal observations. Here are the transcripts of Mike's diaries, originally posted in chronological order on their 10-year anniversary dates.
FEBRUARY 17 1988
Hello! I'm watching "Dave" and it's a commercial so I thought I'd recount some of the events of the last couple of days.
Yesterday was February 15th - slept late, as usual - no wait, I'm out of my mind, I didn't sleep late, I hardly slept at all, I was up at 6:30 and I went down to the coffee shop which is called "Coffee's", and I had a Belgian waffle and apple juice, then I came back up and oh yeah, THEN I went to sleep. And eventually we went to the airport and we got on the plane and we flew to Hartford, Connecticut which is where I am now. We arrived at this particular hotel in Hartford, Connecticut, where I am now. And I called room service and ordered a chicken salad sandwich and some nachos and a couple of Heinekens, and just when the food arrived I got a call from Bob Stone saying "would you like to go to the El Torito's across the street" and I said "oops", so I had my room service food and loved it. It was really, really good. I love room service anyway, even though it's exorbitantly expensive, it's just so cool. Afterward I found out from the other guys that El Torito's was horrible, so it's a good thing I didn't go. But it's like total monopoly on the world because it's the only restaurant around here. This hotel is in the middle of nothing, it's a lovely hotel but it's a totally desolate, isolated area. And so yesterday was a travel day, and a room service day, and a sittin' around watching "Hard Days' Night" on the television day, and that sort of thing.
Today is February 16th - actually it's very early on the 17th which is why I'm able to watch Letterman at the moment - and I woke up at a reasonable hour but I didn't do anything, I just sat around, and I wasn't hungry so I didn't go downstairs to get breakfast or anything, I didn't go across the street to El Torito's because I'd learned The Big Lesson, although I think I should go and see for myself. I'm just that kind of guy. I don't trust those people. They're wonderful and I love them but I don't trust them. So I took a shower and shaved, and spoke to my brother Joe to see if my niece Jill would be coming to show tomorrow night - she is - and then it was down to the lobby and then it was in the van and then it was over to the Bushnell which is an auditorium that usually plays host to the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. And you can tell, it's really nice in there. It's really nice in there.
We rehearsed the "Stick Together/My Guitar Wants To Kill Yer Mama/Willie The Pimp" medley, and "Joe's Garage" and "Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?", and "Filthy Habits" and "Cruisin' For Burgers". Only "Cruisin' For Burgers" made it to the show tonight, and even that was unexpected, Frank just called it on stage, sending the horn guys scrambling for charts. After rehearsal we had dinner which was a very nice noodles with meat on it type of dish, so much better than the catering in Philadelphia.
I left the set list next to my monitor at the Bushnell, so I'm in the process of piecing together exactly what we played tonight. I'm about three songs away from completing the process so I'll turn off the tape and figure it out, but first I should mention that ever since the first show in Philadelphia, Frank has made a recurring motif of "Girl From Ipanema" in his guitar solos. I was wondering if he was going to leave it behind in Philadephia, but no, he managed to work it into tonight's solo in, I think, "Trouble Every Day."
Set one was "Black Page", "Dickie", "Lies", "Baritone", "Pain", "Jesus", "Trouble Every Day", "Penguin In Bondage", "Green Hotel" and "Orange County." Set two was "What's New In Baltimore", "Packard Goose", "Alien Orifice", "Inca Roads", "Lucille", "Peace Corps", "King Kong" and "Stairway To Heaven." The first encore was "Walrus" and "Sofa", at which point Frank made the announcement that as partial compensation for those members of the audience who were late getting into the auditorium, because of extensive searching procedures and exceptionally complicated registering to vote procedures, the show was going to be made longer at that point, and he whipped "Cruisin' For Burgers" on us at that point, we weren't expecting to play it. But I was very happy to do so because it's such a totally, totally cool song, and tonight was its tour debut. One of my favorites, maybe my favorite song to play. Then we went away and came back and played "Crew Slut" and "Strictly Genteel." Hung around backstage while well-wishers flitted about autograph-gathering and flattery-splattering. Usually the trail from the hall to the van is lined by people, often heard to yell "Good job, new guy" and "WHAT'S YOUR NAME?" because they either couldn't understand it when Frank introduced me, or they didn't buy a program, and then I tell them and they ask me for an autograph and I comply. And tonight was no exception.
Got back here, called up Scott to see if he wanted to do something, and he said that he had already taken his clothes off and opened a beer. Which means he's ready to stay home. So I went downstairs to the lounge where Bob Stone and Paul and Bruce - well, first I went to Ike's room, which is next door, and Walt was in there, and Colin and one of Colin's buddies, and they were waiting for one of Ike's friends from Connecticut who was bringing a case of beer. THEN I went down to the lounge and that's where Bob and Paul and Bruce were, and eventually Walt showed up, and Kurt was there with a couple of friends. And I got a Beck's and came up here and called Viv, who told me that Frank was talking about me on the Larry King radio show. And I started to watch the Letterman show which is what I'm doing now. And here's Jerry Seinfeld, and good night.
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