A Selection of the Kenny G. Lettersby Kenneth Goldsmith
I’ve been doing a radio show on WFMU for several years and my on-air name is Kenny G (which, by the way, is my real name). When I first started doing my show, the ultra-hip WFMU listeners were disturbed that a new DJ would share the same name as the cheesy popular saxophonist. When they heard the generally unpopular music that I played, they were soon won over and I became their Kenny G of choice.
However, the rest of the world has no idea that WFMU exists or the fact that they have a DJ named Kenny G. As a matter of fact, the rest of the world tends to adore the OTHER Kenny G and one of the first things they do when they get on the Internet is look for Kenny G’s homepage. They inevitably end up at my WFMU homepage. Naturally, they assume that they’ve found the hidden Kenny G personal homepage and regularly attempt to send the OTHER Kenny G fan mail. Naturally, it all comes to me.
For the past 10 years, I’ve been saving these emails. I never reply to them, for fear that word would get out among Kenny G fans that I wasn’t the Kenny G they were looking for. Instead, I regularly read their letters on air. Presented here are some of my very favorite Kenny G fan letters.
A book-length collection of these letters will appear in Fall 2006 from the L.A. micropress Make Now.
Kenny G. (Kenneth Goldsmith)
From: Beth Bromston
Subject: SPECIAL THANK YOU!
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 19:25:01 -0800
My husband Harry and I have enjoyed your music for many years and are GREAT FANS of yours.
I’m writing to share a very special experience with you and I sincerely hope that you take this as a compliment, because that is how it is meant.
Harry and I met in June of 1981, he was 6’10” tall, me a strapping 5’2” tall…I knew right then he was my soul mate and we would be married some day. Two weeks later he was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident where he broke his neck and was left a quadriplegic. Oh well, I teased, God just brought you down to my level so I wouldn’t strain my neck trying to kiss you! Our courtship was in the hospital and rehab. unit, on December 19, 1981, we were married.
We tried to have a family, even pursued fertility specialists to help us conceive, actually did get pregnant but lost the fetus early in the pregnancy. We were crushed, but decided, it didn’t matter if we gave birth or adopted, we wanted a family. We applied at a prominent agency in Seattle, they promptly called us said we were a perfect couple, good jobs, stable home, excellent references, time to proceed with the home study and the first installment of cash. Since they only asked a general question of health, I said good and didn’t elaborate on Harry being confined to a wheelchair. But, when money was to change hands I decided I better let them know before the home study began. Upon telling the adoption representative, there was dead silence on the phone…I told her to be straight with me..as you can probably guess our chances were slim to none of receiving an infant to adopt.
We decided to go though the State Child Services Division, and that is were we met our future son Billy. What a blessing, we were finally parents! A few years passed by, fertility procedures changed so much in that time frame. It was actually Billy that asked one day if he was going to have some brothers and sisters. So, we decided to head back over to Seattle to check into new fertility procedures for us. They had a relatively new procedure then called ICSI (for short), it’s quite an involved process, but we were prime candidates for this procedure.
In December 1995, after a series of at home hormone injections, monitoring, etc., we were now ready for our 10 day stay in Seattle to proceed with the egg collection, fertilization procedure and finally eggs placed inside me…praying for our miracle. Believe it or not…this is where YOU come into the picture!! You and your beautiful song “MIRACLES”, was playing during these procedures. The Doctor, Nurses and Medical Staff loved the song too…we prayed we could get another Miracle in our life too.
Are you ready for this Kenny? We conceived on the first try! They said we were having twins, we were thrilled. Then at 5 months along, I looked like I was full term, the ultrasound showed not two, but FIVE little ones squirming around inside of me. We delivered FIVE beautiful miracles on June 20, 1996, (30 weeks along) in Spokane, Washington. Their names Clarence Eugene, Rochelle Eliza, Cindy Maria, Julie Naomi, and Debby Mary.
I’ve wanted to share this with you for so long, and to thank you for the beautiful songs you play and share with us. Our miracles dance now to your music, and someday I’ll tell them our special story of the “MIRACLES” song by Kenny G.
With much respect, God Bless,
Beth Bromston and Family 20
From: Roger Lawrence
Subject: Thanks Kenny!
Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1999 01:12:01 -0700
You know, I’ve always tried to distance myself from the controversy surrounding Mr.. Gorlick and his music, meaning all the hits he takes because his music is not real “jazz” etc. I’ve always maintained that his music is simply pop music and his being labeled a jazz artist is simply because he happens to play the sax. No big deal. After all, as far as I know, he has never claimed that what he is doing is Jazz. I’ve never had a problem with him – until now. Upon hearing his faked duet with the late Mr.. Louis Armstrong, I was disgusted, to say the least. That melding of the two was nothing short of criminal. Louis Armstrong – the undisputed father of Jazz – one of the first documented improvisers – playing with Kenny G! Did Mr.. Gorlick get permission from the late Mr.. Armstrong? Somehow, it seems highly unlikely, unless Mr.. Gorlick is handy with a Ouiji board. Where does Mr.. G get off even contemplating such a thing? It would be different if Mr.. Armstrong were still alive and could consent to such a thing. But no – Kenny waits until he’s dead and can’t defend his own music. The almighty dollar triumphs again. What an uncaring, pretentious asshole. How dare he do such a thing? What a Wonderful World? It sure doesn’t seem like it when we have plunderers like Slobodan Milosevic and Kenny G running rampant. Well, after defending Mr.. Gorlick for many years from all the jazz purists, I’m through. No more. He’s nothing but an opportunist jerk who plays the same tired-ass licks incessantly and is a f*%$ing grave-robber to boot. Screw him! ‘nuff said.
Roger Lawrence Seattle, WA
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 16:31:02 -0800
Subject: A dream and a song
Dear KENNY G,
Is this real. Am I Wrighting to KENNY G. I feel elated. (really) It’s long long been my dream to have a word with you. WHAT A SPLENDED MUSIC. I LOVED ALL YOUR SONGS. (I encouraged seven of my friends to buy your cassettes)
I HAD THIS DREAM OF MINE WHICH YOU WOULD LIKE TO TURN INTO ANOTHER WONDERFUL PIECE OF PEACE IN THE MIND.
IT IS A WONDERFULL OLD ENGLISH TYPE BUNGLAW BUILT ALL ALONE IN A SIX KM STREACH NEAR THE SEASHORE. TALL ENTANCE, LED TO A TASTEFULLY MOWNED LAWN WITH TALL TREES LINING UP BOTH THE SIDES.
A VIEW FROM THE FIRST FLOOR BALCONY SHOWS THE SPLENDED STREACH OF A GROUND, COULD BE EQUAL TO TWO TO THREE FOOT BALL GROUNDS. NATURE HAS PERFECTED ITS SENSE OF BEAUTY, FILLING THE GROUND WITH ALL GREEN GRASS AND SMALL FRUIT YEILDING TREES ALL OVER IT. IN AN CHILLY OCTOBER EVENING, BEYOND THAT SPLENDED GROUND, THE SKY, THICK WITH DARK CLOUDS HANGING OVER LOOKED AS IF IT’S GONNA FALL INTO THE SEA. A MILD BREEZE BLEW ACROSS THE GARDEN BRINGING ALONG THE SCENT OF JASMINE THROUGH THE CURTAINS. THE RAIN. STARTS AS IF THE FIRST TOUCH EVER MADE ON THE BRIDE. WITH PASSION. BRINGS IN THE SMELL OF THE SOIL AS YOU (KENNY G) PLAY A WONDER, WONDERFUL PIECE OF MUSIC.
ALL THESE DAYS I CLOSE MY EYES AND JUST DREAM AND DREAM AND DREAM AND DREAM THE ABOVE. WOULD YOU PLEASE MAKE THIS A REALITY FOR THIS INDIAN FAN OF YOURS?
I WOULD BE REALLY THRILLED TO RECEIVE AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT FROM YOU.
THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.
Krishna, New Delhi, India.
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 21:26:39 EST
I am in Natchez, Ms. A funny thing happened to me today. My cat of 11 years passed away about three weeks ago. I decided, after mourning for three weeks I would go to the local animal shelter to look for a Siamese. My cat was part Persian and had long hair, so I thought I would try a short-haired cat this time. Well, the seal-point Siamese bit me, and as I looked around for another cat, I saw a taupecolored hemilayan cat (big furball) in the cage. I picked him up, he put his head on my shoulder, wrapped his paws around my neck, like he was hugging me and I said, “Oh, hell. I guess I’ll have to take him home with me.” When I was signing the adoption papers, the girls at the shelter told me that a man named Kenny G brought him in and said his daughter was allergic to him. They tried for three years to find a medication that would help her, but finally had to get rid of “ Gerschwin “. Yes, as in George. Kenny G lives in Smithdale, La. I thought this was an interesting story. I said, Kenny G? Where the heck is Smithdale? Well, Gerschwin will have a good home. He looks as if he ran into a wall. I love him, my kids love him, and I think my dalmation may even learn to love him.
I just thought I would share this with you.
Have a wonderful 2000!!!!!
Date: Tue, 28 Nov 2000 19:29:27 -0500
KENNY G I AM A BIG FAN OF YOURS I WAS GOING MAIL YOU A LETTER BUT I WILL
E_MAIL TO YOU TORROW
I WASGOING TO ASK YOU DO LIKE KILLER WHALE BUT I HAVE ONE IN THE OCEAN
ME AND MY FRIAND JASPER LITTIE
AND I AM DO A REPORT ON YOU ME AND JASPER GO TO A SCHOOL IN COLUMBUS
OHIO IT CALLED THE GRAHAM SCHOOL
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2000 22:57:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Pls help
Ok, I know you might not wanna help me with this, but I am gonna try anyway. My friends and I are driving across the country this summer, and we are gonna hit LA at some point. I know you used to have a home on Bev Hills, and we heard you are not there any more, but believe it or not, we are such crazy fans that we wanna know if you would let us stay there while you’re away. We’d clear out before you came back. Could you let me know where it is, like what road? I mean, we are gonna ask around anyway, but it would be nice to know.
What else can I say? This should show you what fools we are for you:). Thank God someone is still making music out there. Love you to death.
Andrea and the bunch
Kenneth Goldsmith's writing has been called some of the most "exhaustive and beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry" by Publishers Weekly. The author of eight books of poetry, founding editor of the online archive UbuWeb, and the editor of I'll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews, Goldsmith is also the host of a weekly radio show on New York City's WFMU. He teaches writing at The University of Pennsylvania, where he is a senior editor of PennSound, an online poetry archive. More about Goldsmith can be found on his author's page at the University of Buffalo's Electronic Center: http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/goldsmith.