You never know what you're going to find in the Valley.
Guitarist Mike Keneally, who's performing this Friday at Bourbon Square in Van Nuys with his band, Beer For Dolphins, toured the world and recorded several CDs with the late Frank Zappa starting in 1987.
Zappa once said rock journalism was people who can't write interviewing people who can't play for people who can't read. Or something like that. Well, er, that is certainly not the case here.
Keneally can definitely play.
Whether they like Zappa's music or not, most rock music professionals will concede that he was a serious composer who always surrounded himself with excellent musicians who could play his relatively complex compositions.
Keneally currently works with Frank's son, Dweezil Zappa, in the band Z, and with another band, the Mistakes. In his spare time, Keneally is also an occasional columnist for Guitar Player magazine. And if that wasn't enough, he's an Immune Records recording artist himself with two CDs currently available. Both his albums, "hat," and "Boil That Dust Speck," reveal some of that Zappa sensibility.
But, inquiring Valley people want to know: Is Keneally a Zappa retread?
"I can't say there is no influence," Keneally says. "It's definitely there. His stuff's hard to play, so is mine."
Keneally says that his style of music is freer than Zappa's, with more improvisation.
"There's more [musical] conversing with each other," Keneally says. "Of course, we're only a three-piece, Frank's was like a 12-piece band."
Mike Keneally and Beer for Dolphins at 11 p.m. Friday at Bourbon Square, 15324 Victory Blvd., Van Nuys. $5 cover. Call (818) 997-8562.
On the Edge: Jackson Browne and his younger brother, Severin, grew up in Southern California. As teenagers in the 1960s, they both were influenced by the music of the time.
But Severin Browne, who's performing at the Coffee Junction in Tarzana this Friday night, says that while his brother was a die-hard Bob Dylan fan, he was touched by the music of Elvis Presley and the Beach Boys. And when it came to writing their own music, their musical tastes were reflected in the songs they wrote.
"Jackson was developing his poetic side; I didn't understand poetry at all," Severin Browne says. "I was into the music. I didn't get into lyrics until later. I consider Jackson the poet of the family."
Severin describes his music as pop rock with a folky edge and jazz leanings.
Severin Browne's new CD, "From the Edge of the World," is his first album since 1974, when he was an artist and staff writer for Motown Records. He then took a hiatus from the music business, working at a variety of jobs. The new CD was completed about a year ago and is scheduled to be released in the United States next spring. It's already been released in Japan.
Songs include "The Edge of the World," "Mystery," "My Love Mo Betta" and "Dance Until Tomorrow."
"I had so many songs laying around," Severin says. "I needed to get them out of my system.
"It's like the 'Best of Severin Browne' for the last 20 years."
Severin Browne and James Coberly Smith will perform at 8 p.m. at the Coffee Junction, 19221 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana. No cover. Call (818) 342-3405.
Goin' Country: The band High Noon will be playing the sets at the Cowboy Palace Saloon in Chatsworth this weekend. The band consists of J.D. Wilson, Mark Marino, Jimmy Harris, Gary Snyder and Jim Klingler, all country music biz veterans with extensive resumes.
Right about the time when the cowboys and cowgirls are slapping their collective leather or pushing their tush, Wilson and her compadres will occasionally slip a countrified version of a pop classic such as the Beatles' "I'll Be Back" into their usual mix of country standards and originals.
I like that.
High Noon will play from 9 to 1:30 tonight, Friday and Saturday at the Cowboy Palace Saloon, 21635 Devonshire St., Chatsworth. Call (818) 341-0166.