One Track Mind: Mike Keneally "Draconian Blump" (1999)

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Mike Keneally is one of those quirky, super-talented guitarists who can be creative in just about any setting. Part of a line of Frank Zappa inspired axe men that includes the likes of Buckethead, the late Shawn Lane and Steve Vai, Keneally also excels on keyboards and percussion…and even sings.

His instrumental Nonkertompf album of 1999 is a real jerky, hit-or-miss affair. Out of a true grab bag of spontaneous, wildly varying ideas–“songs” makes it sound too well-formed–comes a track that’s highly reminiscent of Miles’ In A Silent Way-era experimentations. More to the point, it sounds like a dry run version of “Shh/Peaceful”.

It’s more amazing when you consider that this wasn’t a bunch of seasoned musicians getting together to bounce ideas off each other; Keneally played all the instruments and dubbed them together. While Mike is better known as a shredder (he was the stunt guitarist for Zappa after Vai), his guitar here is pure pre-Mahavishnu John McLaughlin. Not even Johnny Mac himself plays such incisive guitar like that anymore and it’s a pity.

It ends all too abruptly at four minutes; you wouldn’t expect Davis’ trumpet to enter for another six or seven minutes.

[SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: Mike Keneally talks with us about the lingering influences of Frank Zappa and XTC, and his magical introduction to prog through ‘Tarkus.’]

Listen: Mike Keneally “Draconian Blump”

Purchase: Mike Keneally Nonkertompf

“One Track Mind” is a more-or-less weekly drool over a single song selected on a whim and a short thesis on why you should be drooling over it, too.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on,, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at
S. Victor Aaron

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