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After starting out as such a good sport, the alien thing started to get old for Tesh too. "I think he liked it for a few minutes. Then he got tired of talking about it," Kenny says. "He's, like, 'What about my music?'" But he's got to remember, this was the only thing that separated him from Yanni!"
"It's not funny," Tesh complained during a subsequent Entertainment Tonight interview. "When people ask me about it, I'm trying to find the joke in it. Besides, I'm six foot six and weigh 220, and I cannot even fathom why they think I could fit in an alien spacecraft."
Soon, NATAS chapters had sprung up in Atlanta, New York, and Buffalo. Eventually, to allow the controversy to die down, NATAS offered to stop bothering the star if he supplied them with a hair sample and a thumbprint. Tesh never responded. The whole thing was even immortalized as a Trivial Pursuit question.
As the '90s drew to a close, Kenny tired of chasing the dragon of fame. Touring nonstop, Mog Stunt Team quickly wore itself out. In 1998, Kenny turned his back not only on his band but on his film career in Detroit. "We were making money," Kenny confirms. "I was making videos for bands like the Melvins. Some of our videos would make us as much as $50,000 a pop. We were rocking it out, but I didn't take care of the business the way I should have. They were looking to become more of a professional studio when I left. The other guys were more technical. I was the artist, the guy who could hang with the groups. The other guys were button-pushers. But I would have been the man on the silver mountain over there if I had stuck around."
In 1999, Kenny and Kay made a pilgrimage to Roswell, New Mexico, for obvious reasons. Once they reached the UFO/alien nexus, the couple tried to decide what to do with the rest of their lives. "Kay said, 'OK, I'll follow you, but what's your plan?'" Kenny recalls. "And I was out of plans. I didn't have any music left in me. I had used up every cool idea for everybody else's stuff. I was done. I don't think I burned too many bridges, though I definitely burned a few. I just had to get away."
Back in Detroit, his old friends are quite successful. Quigley runs Chrome Bumper and, along with King, is aboard the Eminem train. King went on to engineer The Eminem Showand the 8 Milesoundtrack. "Marshall [Mathers -- Eminem's real name] is brilliant in so many ways," King says. "He's an artist. He hears it in his head. Kenny does too. I think what Kenny wanted was not to be entered into the corporate pages. He wanted to keep his music as an art form.
"Kenny deserves it all," King continues. "He knows to draw the line where things are getting too commercial. He's really good at that boundary. He'll come right up to it, and then go the other way." Carey Loren echoes: "I'm very proud of Kenny. I think he has a brilliant mind. He can adapt to almost anything -- film, music, editing."
At Lake Worth's venerable Downtown Books and CDs, Kenny found a familiar environment. He started working there and soon amassed a cadre of supporters in Lake Worth's art community, most notably Demetrius Klein. After Klein's teenage son became a store regular, it wasn't long before Kenny and Klein began a strange partnership.
The surprising combination of Kenny 5 and Klein -- who's barely five feet tall but seems to contain the muscle mass of two Henry Rollinses stacked side-by-side -- has become Lake Worth's odd couple of the arts. "When people see me walk in," Klein continues, "nobody expects me to look the way I do -- this little guy with all these muscles. And Kenny walks in, this little guy with all these tattoos, while you've expected a dancer and a composer!"
Their first venture was a noise-and-dance performance held at Downtown Books in early 2001. Last April, Klein participated in Kenny's "Geeks Freaks and Mysterious Visions" spectacle, attracting hundreds of curious patrons to a weekend exhibition of tattoo art, noise -- and a Haunted Pyramid to crawl through. Knowing that the dancer-choreographer had already played Houdini during a 2000 ballet performance, Kenny enlisted him to dangle upside down from the ceiling of the studio where the show was held and break free from a straitjacket and chains.
"That was Kenny's [idea]," Klein says. "That was his whole evening. And it was a big hit! What I really like about working with him is he's totally uncompromising in what he's doing artistically, which means he can scare the hell out of you at times. With that show, there was no compromise at all. Once you start watering Kenny's stuff down, it ceases to become what it is."