Frank Zappa alumni play Frank Zappa’s music live! The Zappa Band is Mike Keneally (1987-1988), Ray White (1976-1984), Robert Martin (1981-1988) and Scott Thunes (1981-1988). Each musician played in the studio and on the road with Zappa during his career. Three of these alums played on ZAPPA 88: The Last U.S. Show, one of the most recent offerings from Zappa Records & Universal Music. The Zappa alums are joined by Joe Travers and Jamie Kime, who are no strangers to FZ’s music, to round out the ensemble.
Mike Keneally was 25 when he joined Frank Zappa’s band in 1987. Since then, he’s played in the bands of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Devin Townsend, been a member of Dethklok, composed with Andy Partridge of XTC, written orchestral commissions for Holland’s Metropole Orkest, and made over 30 solo albums, including many with his band Beer For Dolphins. Scambot 2 is the most recent release.
Guitarist / Vocalist, Ray White, got his first guitar from his brother, Charles, at fifteen. Ray’s first show was two weeks later. After four years in the Air Force, Ray headed to San Francisco. He played with Eloise Laws, Lee Oskar, Greg Errico and Lady Bianca (who recommended Ray to Frank Zappa). He played on several albums and tours with Frank. Ray was mentored by one of the world’s greatest composers. “Music is the Best!”
The son of two opera singers from Philadelphia, Robert Martin is a powerful singer, multi-instrumentalist and conservatory trained French horn player with an extensive list of top tier artists in his resume, including Frank Zappa, Etta James (on tour with the Rolling Stones), Bette Midler, Stevie Nicks, Michael McDonald, and many more. He has composed for prime time television, and mixed and mastered top twenty hits in various genres.
Born in L.A. in 1960, Scott Thunes’ musical studies included late 60s and early 70s rock, jazz, fusion, Frank Zappa’s early Mothers period, and two years of music classes at junior college, allowing him to become ‘fantastic‘ enough to join Frank’s band in 1981. He played electric bass guitar, synth bass, sang vocals, and became rehearsal director in 1984. Currently he’s the Rock Band Teaching Artist at Marin School of the Arts, Novato High School.
Drummer Joe Travers, a Berklee College Of Music grad, moved to L.A. in 1992 and joined Dweezil & Ahmet Zappa’s group “Z” in 1993. He’s played with Duran Duran, Lisa Loeb, Rich Robinson, Billy Idol, Zappa Plays Zappa, Eric Johnson and Joe Satriani among others. When not on the road, he spends his time as the “Vaultmeister” for the Zappa Trust archiving and preserving the legacy of legend Frank Zappa and co-producing and supervising future projects.
In addition to working with Zappa Plays Zappa, for which he collected a Grammy Award, guitarist Jamie Kime has played with Jewel, Dr. John, Frankie Valli, et al., as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Czech National Symphony performing the works of Frank Zappa. He frequently plays The Baked Potato jazz club in Los Angeles, and is on the faculty of The Musician’s Institute in Hollywood, CA.