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Q&A with Brian Kenney Fresno
[Note: This interview was conducted and submitted by Felix Muzquiz]
As part of my Rundown of the FunTown (tm) series, this week I'm interviewing Brian Kenney Fresno about his new CD, "We'll Always Have Fresno". I caught up with him just as he was interviewing himself, receiving questions from his minions on Facebook.
Q: Why should anyone want to come see your show?
My show embodies what musicians dream of, and audiences are hungry for. My songs are super fun and rhythmically compelling, and stick in your head forever, in a good way. I've created music that is challenging for me to execute, while wholly entertaining for the audience. The music is for the audience's entertainment, and not my wanking, yet I write everything above my level of ability, and my writing and abilities on my super instrument are exceptional.
Q: You seem pretty sure of yourself-
Well I am, yet in the grand scheme of things, a grain of sand. Mark Warr built and gave me my guitar after he saw me playing The Chapman Stick(tm) way back when, and I've been encouraged and nurtured by the most important musicians and people I can think of ever since. I played on the street for years, and know that now, more than ever, people's attention spans are short, and if you don't grab them immediately and tear their souls out somehow, that's it. Boring is not allowed.
Q: What's so super about your guitar?
My guitar lets me play bass and chords with my left hand, and my right hand plays chords and melody and stuff. It has switches built in that control processing remotely so to change sounds, I don't have to stop playing digital drum pedals with my feet. I also operate an omni-functional switch on the back of the guitar with my hip. In other configurations I play bass and chords with the left hand and drums with the right.
Q: That sounds pretty complicated.
It kind of is, and is the new challenge for me.
Q: So, you're kind of a one man band?
I've always hated one man bands, and have always just thought of myself as a solo performer, but I'm afraid now that indeed, I am a one man band. I've also always hated digital drum pads, but they fell into my life, and are compact enough for my MASSIVE rig. If anyone wants to follow me in their van with a custom drum set and set it up and mic it mix it and tear it down for me, let me know.
Q: I hear that you play with a video drummer.
Yeah, sometimes my brother Ryan Kenney Poughkeepsie plays drums and sings with me live over the internet. He adds a whole new dimension to the songs and is a lot of fun, in spite of being a pain in the act sometimes. You know how it is with brothers, and drummers...don't get me started.
Q: I hear you have an awesome light show.
Thanks, but it's really more about the application and effect than the awesome. Pretty simple stuff that has power in it's placment, not like some crap you buy at Guitar Center and leave on the entire time.Key lighting is the key. I have an Audience Abuse Light(tm) and a "Health Light"(tm) that comes on when my cape fan engages. I also use volunteers and play The Audience, so I have an overhead projector for lyrics and stuff.
Q: For singing along?
Yeah, It's a sing along show, though I also hate sing-alongs, and dreaded "audience participation" sections. Fuck that. It's not what you think, and is so much fun for everyone. People love to sing, and it doesn't even matter how tone deaf the populace has become, because it's so fun, and nobody's judging you, cause they're tone deaf too. If you sing, you will have fun, period. Kind of like how nobody's ever committed suicide while riding a bicycle. Life is so sweet.
Q: What do the volunteers do?
Help with stuff like changing the projector transparencies, handing out raisins, stirring popcorn, cord paige-ing , spanking or getting spanked with my electric spatula, stuff like that. Don't get me started on volunteerism, making the world a better place through it is about the most selfish thing you can do, and that's something everyone can get behind.
Q: Why should anyone want to buy your CD?
Good question Brian- The world is so saturated with music, largely available for free, that the consumer is overwhelmed, and not just with bad music, as one might suspect by pokin’ their head outdoors. Even good music is in abundance; I'm sure, somewhere, as dollars are ever harder to come by. That's why we give a little something extra in every Bonghit Records CD, a free bong tool, for extra value! You can't get that in a download..what you WILL get in this CD is the full blown band arrangements of my songs, for maximum power and sing along in -your-car-ed-ness. My vision for your sonic sensibilities has been for you to have your mind blown, and you should trust me to want to let go of the tether and come to the other side, of Fresno.
What I hope to deliver is a sense of hope and expanded possibilities for musicians and humankind in general. An instant understanding that there is still freshness and delight to be found in unexpected places. What I hope to foster is a sense of well being within your rage, or a feeling of comic whimsy in your dispair. Fresno represents these dichotomies perfectly, and my music embraces that. Making people sad with music is like shooting fish in a barrel, and I choose to accept a greater challenge and make them laugh. I find laughter to be the ultimate disarming agent, and it doesn't matter how jaded one is. If it's funny, you will laugh, and that's music to my ears.