Dearly Beloved: MCK tribute to Kenny Le May at his memorial in LA 4/23/16
Dearly Beloved…………We are gathered here today to help each other get through this thing called……..….LIFE.
And man……..this thing called life gets pretty hard sometimes, don’t it?
But we can’t ever let that thing called life get so hard, that we can’t get together to honor a man who really seemed to know how to live it right, right?
For those here who don’t know me my name is Matt Koelling.
I’m a friend of Kenny’s.
Yesterday I was on my way back here to LA from Philly from another funeral this week, but knew today I was gonna get up here to speak.
Since many who know me might say I can be prone to “terminal verbosity”, on the flight back last night, figured I’d write Kenny a note, since this past month is now the longest gap over the past 15 years we hadn’t been in contact, so I’m gonna read it to you all here:
Prince is dead.
My boy Nasuti’s girl Angel is too.
You know him obviously, but I believe you met her back then in my South Bay days, in ‘04/’05 back when they still lived down in Long Beach.
And that help you were recently telling me to get him, much like you were more often than I ever readily admitted, you were right.
Never leave your brother behind.
So now that’s something his sister, brother and we are all going to be trying to do now, while for some reason I have a strong feeling he’s going to make it through.
Anyway, I know you weren’t the biggest Prince fan, but you knew I was.
Sure, you gave him dap on the big stuff (the big 80’s war-horse hits, the guitar-playing, the prolific pen, his ability to seize the big moments like at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame or the Super Bowl) as a performer, artist, et cetera.
Not sure why we’re talking musi, but while I’m here I gotta say Ken, I’m still mad you said Justin Timberlake was as talented as Michael Jackson and Kid Rock was one of the most innovative artists of our generation.
That was trolling of the highest order long before social-media.
Just for that, I’m gonna have to let everyone here know that Kenny LeMay’s favorite Rihanna song was “Pour It Up“.
That’s right people, Kenny had a favorite Rihanna song.
I have multiple texts to prove it right here on my phone, in fact he mentioned it specifically three times unsolicited over the past year.
Alright, let me stop playing you out in front of all your people.
To be fair, if I had to pick a favorite Rihanna song mine’d be “Stay”……which I truly wish……..with every fiber of my being, that you’d been able to do for a little bit longer.
That way, instead of being here in this crowded crying room, it’d just be another beautiful spring Saturday afternoon in Southern California.
And I’d be about ready to head to the pier, or just up to your top deck, to “Pour It Up”.
Unfortunately, as we learned again two days ago, “Sometimes It Snows In April”.
Meanwhile, most of us here are still trying to dig out from underneath the avalanche that came crashing down on those that love you this March.
And I lied when I said I’m not sure why I’m here talking about music with you.
I talk music for the same reason I talk sports with you.
For the same reason I bust balls and argue with you.
For the same reason I try my best comedy material on you.
For the same reason there’s nobody else I watched more concert movies or documentaries with after midnight (okay, probably more like after 2 AM) in my life.
For the same reason you were always the place I’d go when I had that overwhelmed feeling, the one I’d get when I let something drag on so long it starts entering my subconscious in ways not even an avoidant-behavior expert on display can push away.
Some seemingly enormous burden that I’d been out here in LA, carrying on my shoulders alone.
Whether it was a job issue, affairs of the heart, or driving around LA in a vehicle with expired NJ tags for ludicrous amounts of time, which I can’t detail here for legal reasons.
Because you would hear me and you would get it…….
you always did……………
even when you didn’t…….
because if not, rather than just smile and nod, you’d stop me to indicate when, where, if and sometimes why, you didn’t get it.
That way I’d end up decoding it all better myself by articulating it to you, or eventually realize maybe that worry or idea wasn’t really worth anything much in the first place.
And you and I might have to toss it around, and debate it for an hour, minute, or even day or two, while negotiating between those two points.
Kinda feel like I’m negotiating my way thru that space right now.
But how do you do you that without your sounding board?
Where My Brother At?
My West Coast Consigliere?
The biggest reason I’ve survived in Los Angeles for the past 13 years?
One of the main reasons I knew I’d be cool before I even got here?
The dude who dubbed me “Matty Rapper” years before I’d even written my first rhyme?
It’s been damn near two months since Mitra called me that night, and that’s an answer I’m still trying to find.
But who am I to get all woe-is-me.
I know that time of love, laughs and life you provided me, is more than 99.9% of the world is ever blessed to feel or see.
Draft Day is around the corner.
Really wishing you were gonna be around to DVR it for me, so we could go into airplane/armchair mode per usual, with our many pauses and porch-smoke-breaks, filled with excited speculation intermittently in between.
I don’t think I’m even gonna bother to watch it this year without you along for the ride.
Plus the Eagles just made a trade eerily reminiscent of the one the Skins made for RGIII.
So anyway, Prince is dead.
That’s what the news said.
But his music, much like my memories of you, will continue to play, on and on, till the break of dawn, loud and clear between my ears, whether on some headphones, or in my mind’s eye.
True Legends Never Die.
So consider this just one small way to say thank you, because like Little Michael used to sing, ”I’m never gonna say goodbye”.