Today is the 58th birthday of one Kenneth Gorelick, better known to the world as Kenny G. Now, when I say the name Kenny G you probably picture a man whose smooth jazz saxophoning is perfect for the uptight squares of the world, but who simply cannot hang with the truly badass musicians that you like. He's all right for a lame guy, right?
Well, get ready to have your minds blown, because Kenny G is several shades more awesome than you would ever believe.
5. He Can Hold A Note Longer Than the Running Time of Most Television Shows Pick your favorite TV show of all time. Mine's Doctor Who and each episode without commercials runs around 42 minutes. Now, picture yourself playing a single note on a wind instrument throughout that entire episode without stopping once. Kenny G can do that.
Using a technique called circular breathing where through intensive concentration a player breathes in through the nose while simultaneously exhaling through the mouth, Kenny G was able to play a single, uninterrupted e-flat at the J&R Music World in New York City in 1997. The Guinness Book of World Records recognizes this as the longest single note ever played. No matter what you think of his music, that is a truly badass physical accomplishment.
Speaking of physical accomplishments...
4. He's Basically the Best Golfing Musician in the World Lots of musicians play golf. Alice Cooper famously used the sport to deal with his alcoholism, and every single biography you'll read about the horror/glam-rocker will include that fact as an amusing side note. However, Kenny G makes Cooper look like an amateur.
Gorelick actually took up golf before music, and made the school golf team while not quite getting into jazz band. Eventually, that evened out and for two decades Kenny G set aside the sport for music. Once he picked up the clubs once again, though, it quickly became apparent that he was just as gifted in that realm as he is playing the sax. In 2006 Golf Digest ranked him No. 1 out of all the musician golfers then playing the game.
Of course, that's not his only hobby.
3. He Flies His Own Tour Plane There are just some jobs in the world guaranteed to automatically remove the underwear of any person who asks you what you do. Astronaut, for example, or President of the United States. Pilot is up there too, and Kenny G is one. He takes out his de Havilland Beaver for an hour or two nearly every day.
More than that, whereas most musicians with 75 million albums sold under their belts wouldn't even be willing to drive their own car from the airport, Kenny G co-pilots his own leased Learjet on tour.
There are rock stars out there terrified to get on a plane and end up the next Buddy Holly, but not Kenny G. He takes mocking God in a metal cylinder full of jet fuel and turns it into his morning commute on the way to a gig. At this point if you told me he rode a unicorn home, I would totally believe it.
Story continues on the next page.
2. Dave Mustaine is His Friend and Compared Him to Yngwie Malmsteen Though the band has made some...unfortunate decisions over the years, it's hard to argue with the premise that Megadeth is metal as fuck. Even when they aren't, they are. And you know who Dave Mustaine really likes? Kenny G.
No kidding. Though Mustaine isn't really a smooth-jazz fan, he respects the hell out of Gorelick and is a fairly close friends with him. In a Fuse interview last year. Mustaine called Gorelick the Yngwie Malmsteen of his instrument. Being called the Yngwie Malmsteen of anything is pretty much the most metal thing ever.
1. He Shot Tommy Guns With the Secret Service Now, this one comes from Pop Bitch and I haven't been able to corroborate it anywhere else, so you've got to take it with a grain of salt. Hopefully by this point you can see why I totally believe it, though.
In 1993, Kenny G was invited to perform at Bill Clinton's inauguration. That's not surprising; Clinton is a fan, and the two have even jammed together on occasion. What is surprising is that, according to Pop Bitch, Kenny G was invited to go to the FBI gun range with Secret Service members and shoot guns until it was time to perform. Supposedly his favorite weapon to fire was a 1930 Tommy Gun with a 50-round drum magazine.
So to sum up...Kenny G is a professional-level athlete and pilot who hangs out with presidents and Dave Mustaine, has breath control that would put Aquaman to shame, and knows how to handle the same armaments as Al Capone. Plus he's super-rich and famous. Oh, and guys? Here's the really bad news for those of you hoping to hang onto your wives and girlfriends.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.