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 try to honor a man who really seemed to know how to live it right, right?
For any of 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 that I was gonna be getting up here to speak.
So given that most who know me may agree that I can at times be prone to “terminal verbosity”, on the plane flight back last night figured I’d write Kenny a note since this past month or so is now the longest gap over the past 10-15 years since we hadn’t been in contact so figured I’d try to 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 out here down in Long Beach.
help you were telling me to get him, as 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 I are all going to now be trying to do while for some reason I now have faith that he’s going to make it through.
Anyway, I know you weren’t the biggest Prince fan but you knew I was.
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 music but while I’m here I gotta say 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 the texts to prove it right here on my phone, in fact he mentioned it specifically three times unsolicited over the past year.
Alright, me stop playing you out in front of all your people.
And just to be fair, if I had to pick a favorite Rihanna song mine’d be “Stay”……
which incidentally I so truly wish……..
with every fiber of my being that you had been able to do for even just a little bit longer.
That way instead of in here in this crowded crying room it’d just be another beautiful spring Saturday afternoon in Southern California.
And I’d be just about ready to head out to the pier or maybe just up to the top deck to “Pour It Up”.
Unfortunately, like we learned again two days ago, “Sometimes It Snows In April”.
And meanwhile most of us here are still trying to dig out from under the avalanche that came crashing down on those that love you in early March.
And I don’t even know what I meant 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) than anyone else I have known in my life.
For the same reason you were always the same place I’d go to when I had that overwhelmed feeling I get when I’ve let something drag on so long it starts entering my subconscious in ways that not even a classically trained 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 problem with a job, some stuff about a girl or maybe even me driving around LA in a vehicle with expired NJ tags for some ludicrous amount of time that I can’t get into here for legal reasons.
Because you would hear me and you would get it…….
you always did……………
even when you didn’t…….
because rather if not then rather than just smile and nod you’d actually stop me to let me know when and if and sometimes why you didn’t get it.
That way I’d either end up decoding it all better myself by articulating it to you or eventually realize that maybe that worry or idea wasn’t really worth much of anything in the first place.
And you and I might have to toss it around and debate it for an hour, a minute or even a day or two while negotiating between those two points.
Kinda feel like I’m negotiating my way around that space right now.
But how do you do you that without your sounding board?
Where’s My Brother At?
My West Coast Consigliere?
The main 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” several years before I’d even written my first rhyme?
It’s been damn near two months since Mitra called me that night but 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 ever 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 with you alongside 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, until the break of dawn, loud and clear between my ears, whether on my iPhone 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”.