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Keneally’s ‘Wing Beat Fantastic’ tour to swoop into Columbus

Courtesy of Scott Chatfield/ ExoWax

Mike Keneally is tackling near impossible guitar playing for himself as opposed to his former gig for ’80s musician Frank Zappa. And he’s willing to share his talents with Columbus.

Keneally, former stunt guitarist for Zappa, is scheduled to perform 9 p.m. Thursday at Rumba Cafe.

With the release of his 14th solo album “Wing Beat Fantastic,” Keneally is slated to perform with solo artist Rick Musallam as part of their duo tour.

“When some people hear that it’s just a duo tour, they might expect just the two of us sitting there with acoustic guitar strings for a few hours,” Keneally said, adding that audiences can expect much more than that.

“We’re switching out instruments, we’re playing electric guitars, I’m playing a lot of keyboard,” Keneally said. “It’s an actually very varied evening of music.”

Having released his first album “hat.” in 1992, Keneally has had extensive experience playing hard rock, art rock and progressive rock music. A member of several bands, such as Beer for Dolphins, The Mistakes and Drop Control, Keneally has also worked with Andy Partridge, Steve Vai and Wadada Leo Smith.

Keneally said through the years, he has seen a transformation in himself, from wanting to show off to looking for ways to capture the attention of his fans emotionally.

“I’m a lot more interested in trying to impress people emotionally, whereas before I wasn’t concerned with such matters,” Keneally said. “(Before) I was excited about having a flashing surface and making a big impression.”

Jon Witzky, a buyer at Used Kids Records, located at 1980 N. High St., said the store does not stock Keneally’s albums, but Zappa albums are a popular seller.

“(Frank Zappa)’s got it pretty good. His albums kind of fly out the door when they come in,” Witzky said.

Todd Dugan, managing partner at Rumba Cafe, called Keneally an “aficionado” guitar player.

“The technical side of what these guys do with guitars is just mind blowing,” Dugan said, adding that Keneally’s concerts are not for the average concert goer.

“It’s kind of really super fans (who) like (those) type of guys,” Dugan said. “It’s kind of music geeks that come out for these shows.”

So far, Keneally said he and Musallam have mostly received positive feedback from fans about their duo tour.

“We’re doing somewhere in the neighborhood of 22 to 24 songs a night,” Keneally said. “From all the albums I’ve done over the years, there’s a large catalogue to (draw) from.”

Keneally said this is his first duo tour and he was excited to improvise with Musallam.

“One of the nice things about what Rick and I are doing right now is that with just two musicians, we have the opportunity to really bend and twist the song forms any way we like,” Keaneally said.

Tickets for the concert are available for $20 at Rumba Cafe, located at 2507 Summit St.

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