In the city of Seattle, Kevin Calabro is best known as the voice of the Sonics, a man so loyal to the city that he refused to move with the franchise to Oklahoma City when those rat bastards from the sticks took the team to greener pastures.
But this is not a story about the voice of the Sonics. This is a story about the other Kevin Calabro, music publicist for, among other artists, Skerik and the Dead Kenny Gs.
While the voice of the Sonics was providing the blow by blows during the Kemp/Payton dynasty in the ‘90s, Skerik provide the city with instrumental color commentary via his freak-rock supergroup Critters Buggin’. He’s not just one of the best sax players in the city, he’s one of the town’s most cherished musical innovators (and he’s got a sick little soul patch).
Fast forward to the 2012/2013 season. Chris Hansen is buying up Seattle rock clubs to level so that Bellevue’s finest can park at an arena to see a basketball team that doesn’t exist, and Skerik is scaring children with his instrumental freak-punk outfit called The Dead Kenny Gs. I spent an evening with Skerik and his band of bong-hitters at their studio in White Center and discovered that – wait for it – he studied with the same instructor, Johnnie Jessen, as Kenny G. Yes, Kenny G and the Dead Kenny Gs grew from the same tree. Kenneth Gorelick grew up to become Kenny G, Eric Walton became Skerik, and the Dead Kenny Gs were born.
It took some time and the massaging of a few schedules, but I was finally able to bring this story – the story of a lifetime, of course – to fruition in January. Obviously, this wasn’t one that could be confined to the music section. It had to be on the cover.
An illustration was drawn, a cover was laid out, and … then it happened. Chris Hansen bought the Sacramento Kings. With the NBA’s return to the city seemingly inevitable, a last-minute decision was made to bump Skerik and Kenny G from the cover to make way for the Reign Man.
That’s where we all went wrong.
Kevin Calabro – the music publicist – had no idea that his horse was in consideration for the cover. But music publicists lead lonely, thankless lives. And I felt he deserved to know that his efforts were not going unnoticed, and that, had a Seattle millionaire announced the purchase of an NBA team on any other week in the last 5 years, his client would have been on the cover, but because Hansen picked the third week of January, his client was not. Calabro was appreciative and, per usual, professional. But we now know it didn’t stop there.
The Sacramento Kings, it appears (but, seriously, who the hell knows), will not be entertaining Bellevue sports fans in Seattle in 2014.
It’s the Kevin Calabro curse.