Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Ken Klehm and the Rocket Club


ken and rocket club
Originally uploaded by zen
By now you've heard the West Asheville news, the main East West-Asheville music venue will be closing doors this Saturday. I got a chance to talk with Ken Klehm and he said he could "wax poetic for hours" about why it didn't quite work out, and he headed the list with the large number of Asheville venues, including those that had very deep pockets and those that were willing to resort to unorthodox activity. But it wasn't sour grapes for Ken, as he included the downturn in economy and size of the venue, with it's high ceilings and wide open spaces not providing quite the cozy and intimate atmosphere that he imagined.

Ken also talked about what he wanted to do now, and he honestly hadn't thought much about it, but scrunched up his face at the thought of putting together a resume to pitch to the 9-5 workforce. "My favorite all-time job was as a SCUBA dive instructor. I was good at it and loved making it fun and exciting for people." Ken has the kind of self-effacing egoless manner that would make a good teacher and he said that "in the 5 or so years i taught he only got one complaint." Which was why the establishment he worked for gave him free rein to teach his style. Ken also reminisced about cave diving - an activity that would scare the crap out of me. His 'final exam' for cave diving certification was to go 1/4 mile into a cave where no surface exits were and buddy-breath with a partner all the way back to the entrance in darkness and while the instructor messed with the return line and undid fin straps to unnerve him. He loved it and never got rattled. Which is the way ken is - unflappable. I don't doubt whatever he does do he'll do with all his heart and soul.

We'll be seeing Ken around East West Asheville probably at the DeSoto Lounge which was started by one of his protogees and is "a fine bar, indeed."