Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny has slammed soccer moms' favorite Kenny G by saying he "plays the dumbest music on the planet" and threatening to wrap a guitar around his head. Metheny had been explaining comments he made during a Polish TV special. Metheny had asked an audience of children to prize legends like John Coltrane over the shopping-mall-friendly, shaggy-haired saxman G.
Metheny said on his Web site that he told the kids "not to get confused by the sometimes overwhelming volume of music that falls under the jazz umbrella ... I went on to say that I think, for instance, 'Kenny G plays the dumbest music on the planet' - something that all 8- to 11-year [old] kids on the planet already intrinsically know."
After this posting on his Web site, Metheny was asked by users to explain himself further. He didn't hold back. Particular ire was reserved for 1999's "What a Wonderful World," an electronically engineered duet between G and the long-dead jazz giant Louis Armstrong. Metheny dismissed the track as "musical necrophilia." But he was just getting started. What comes next is not for the fainthearted.
"When Kenny G decided that it was appropriate for him to defile the music of the man who is probably the greatest jazz musician that has ever lived by spewing his lame-ass, jive, pseudo bluesy, out-of-tune, noodling, wimped out, f*cked up playing all over one of the great Louis's tracks (even one of his lesser ones), he did something that I would not have imagined possible. He, in one move, through his unbelievably pretentious and calloused [sic] musical decision to embark on this most cynical of musical paths, sh*t all over the graves of all the musicians past and present who have risked their lives by going out there on the road for years and years, developing their own music inspired by the standards of grace that Louis Armstrong brought to every single note he played over an amazing lifetime as a musician. By disrespecting Louis, his legacy and by default, everyone who has ever tried to do something positive with improvised music and what it can be, Kenny G has created a new low point in modern culture - something that we all should be totally embarrassed about - and afraid of."
You might want to go and lie down now.
Metheny concluded by swearing to deliver a beat-down on Kenny G if he saw him again. "Everything I said here is exactly the same as what I would say to Gorelick [Kenny's real last name - Ed.] if I ever saw him in person. And if I ever DO see him anywhere, at any function - he WILL get a piece of my mind and (maybe a guitar wrapped around his head.)" The punctuation is all Metheny's own.
VH1.com asks that Pat not waste a perfectly good guitar on G. And we also warn him that sometimes threatening to physically deal with a musician doesn't always pan out in practice, as we discovered when we once passed Dave Stewart on the street.
Although Metheny even went so far as to demand a boycott of Kenny G, he seemed to have cooled down over the weekend. As message boards at his Web site spilled over with debate at his remarks, he admitted, "I underestimated the impact/interest that a negative public comment, even on an obscure corner of the Web, can manifest."
During his career, Metheny has won 13 Grammy Awards for his instrumental performances and compositions like 1990's "Change of Heart." Kenny G, on the other hand, has only a single Grammy on his mantelpiece. He won Best Instrumental Composition in 1993 for "Forever in Love." He shouldn't be too worried, though. G's 1999 release Faith was one of the holiday season's best-selling albums.