Sunday, October 21, 2007

My Greg Kihn Speech and some video




What can you say about a guy who has a Number One song, a Number One radio show and has written books that really should have been Number One on the Best Seller list, and I think still may be one day?


Maybe I should say....what can you say that he hasn't already said himself, because Greg likes to talk and it would be impossible to limit anything about him to only a few minutes....

But let me say this...I was so honored to get the call to induct Greg. I canceled my own birthday plans to do it...

When I was a student at Berkeley, I used to study in the library until 11 o clock...and when it closed, I'd treat myself to a walk to the Keystone to catch Greg most every time he played there.

It wasn't just that his weeknight shows were cheap, and all a student could afford, but that on GKB nights, the club was like a family setting....It didn't feel like a band separated by a stage from its audience...but we all surrounded them and were right up there next to them....

They played these smart, sharp, funny, witty songs, which to me were like the American KINKS...(i should spell that KIHNKS, in keeping with his tradition of working his names into albums like KIHNSPIRICCY, KIHNTINUED, Kihnsolidated and Rock KIHN ROLL. He wrote songs that were hits and some that never quite got their due, including "Madison Avenue Man," "Can't Stop Hurting Myself," "The Breakup Song," "Lucky," "Happy Man," "Testify"...and oh did I forget Jeopardy???

I was shy back then, if you can believe that...and I was the guy who would stand in back and yell for him to play "Remember" till it drove him nuts, and he'd yell back "Freebird."

Remember was the song I put on all my mix tapes and when I would send them to my friends back east, that was the song they always wanted to know about. I've got to add this as an aside...not long ago, I was at a Greg Kihn concert, standing with his lovely wife Jaye...and he was playing Remember acoustic....and she said, who wrote this song? I've never heard him do it before....

That says something about him too...he's the most normal guy in rock and roll....As big as he seems on the radio sometimes, above all, he's been a humble, regular guy.

I used to watch him and think, if he wasn't a rock star and I wasn't a student we'd be friends.. So when he called me up about 10 years later, and told me he was a fan of my column and wanted to have lunch, I almost peed in my pants.....

We've been friends since....and when he gave me one of his books to read, I put it off, thinking, how can a stoned out rocker write a great book and how can I tell him it sucks, if it does.

Finally, one day, I was getting on a plane and grabbed BIg Rock Beat and i couldn't put it down. I just couldn't believe he'd written it, in the off hours of doing a radio show...I called him the minute I got off the plane, to apologize...I still can't believe how good his writing is, and that he isn't mentioned in the same breath as Steven King and Dean Koontz.

I also cant believe he's not nationally syndicated, because as much as he's done for music and books, he's done more for San Jose radio, with a show that reflects and involves the community. He's got rocker kids on there, rocker families, and he's doing a show that is wholesome, unpretentious and smart, without all the offensive things that are a trademark on so many other stations.

And even though I don't beleive one bit in his politics, I listen, and know that like everything he says, his views come from his heart, unfiltered and , what we say in my hood....he's keepin it real.

We're lucky to have him here...and if he hadn't blown all his early dough in the rock and roll lifestyle..he'd probably be retired off in hawaii...

his misfotune is our good fortune...

let me say KIHN cratulations, greg......you are a real San Jose Rocker.




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