Kenny Ryman 1960-2013


It saddens me greatly to have to announce the passing of Paper Bag's avante garde genius, Kenny Ryman, from esophageal cancer. We of the Bag loved Kenny dearly and the loss has hit everyone quite hard. I being up in Portland was very much off scene. M. and George were there for him every step of the way, from diagnosis up to the end, and I am truly grateful to them for the love and care they gave to him in his last months. I will have more personal memories and appreciation of Kenny to give, but for now let me turn the space over to his family and to fellow Bag alumni who have prepared a few words. - GS, 7/22/13


from Kenny's family:


November 8, 1960 – July 13, 2013, Age 52

Lover of all genres of music, Star Trek, and the L.A. Lakers, Kenny made his transition Saturday, July 13, 2013 at Kaiser West L.A. of esophageal cancer. He was born in Plainfield, N.J. November 8, 1960, the day JFK was elected. He grew up in the West San Fernando Valley area of L.A., attended Chatsworth High School, and worked for Albertson’s grocers for 36 years from the age of 16. From his teens, Kenny was involved as a creative “discographer” in improvisational music bands, Points of Friction and Paper Bag. In the last several years he was a stalwart member of the music team at Thad’s Episcopal Church in Santa Monica, CA. Kenny is survived by his only daughter, Jeannine-24, as well as his three siblings, sister Karen and sons Brian & Daniel, sister Kathy, her husband Roger and children Danielle, Brad & Tim, and sister Kris, her husband Robin and daughters, Molly & Julia, and of course, his beloved Lab mix Midnight. Kenny will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

A memorial service will be held August 17, 2013 (approx 3 p.m), at his church, Thad’s when Rev. Jimmy returns. The time will be officially announced in August via Kenny Ryman’s Facebook page. Donations gratefully received in Kenny’s name to help Thad’s Episcopal Church, Bergamot Station- Writers Bootcamp, BUILDING i, 2525-i Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404 (310-260-2101; ).

From all of us in Kenny’s family, thank you for your thoughts, prayers, well-wishes and support. Kenny was clearly surrounded by people who cared a lot about him. Love,

Jeannine, Karen, Kathy & Kris


Facebook announcement by George Radai:

Kenneth Ryman passed quietly from this life at 11:40 pm last night, July 13th, 2013. His struggle is over, and if a heaven exists, I am sure he is sampling the sounds there. He was a good friend. Much will be said about his music and his accomplishments, but I want to point out that he was a good father, a good brother, and a decent, caring Man. Even if no one else does, I will miss him terribly, for so many reasons I don't think I could count them all. I am glad he is beyond pain and suffering, for these are things a man like him did not deserve. He has the peace he always sought and treasured, at last.



From David McIntire:

you guys,

Mark called me this morning to let me know that Kenny was close to gone. I tried to go back to sleep but it wasn't happening. Instead, this poem came. So here it is. I wanted to share it with you all because you know. If you are inclined to share with anyone else feel free. It is what it is.




for Kenny Ryman





when our projectile fails to strike the target




when our timing prevents our meeting




when we long for someone’s presence




when we swing…but don’t connect




and now


years after


you are still here


haven’t seen you in the years after


but the words we spoke


the works we built


the sweat we shared


still here


still connect


the songs we sang


still being sung


the notes still strung together


still connect


however randomly placed at times


like a John Cage composition


still carry our voices


our naïve cynicism


our dissonant melodies


our jarring percussion






we still






how can we still miss?


© David McIntire 7/13/13



Reply from George Radai:

That's lovely, Dave. You inspire me. You always have, and I am grateful beyond words for you.

This is for you and Kenny.


The Measuring Man.


I tried to take the measure of a man

In inches and feet and miles of audio tape;

In long spiraling grooves of microscopic wax valleys;

In fleeting but nonetheless powerful stabs of mind,

And found that I could not.


I tried to balance a scale, leave a tip for the waitress,

Count, distribute, tally the numbers,

They dripped from my hands.


I tried to encompass and remember

Heartfelt joys of creation

When we were timeless Gods hurling thunderbolts;

The sepia tones took on color but slow

The sound reverberated yet again, bounced again

Around and around and around

Dopplering in a church of skull bones.


I tried to take the measure of a man,

But no tool seemed fine enough, no means quite right:

Qubits of Pharoah's arm.


Yearning to quantify, to take away an essence, put it in a window

Where the data represented can reflect at least a little more light

As if there is truth and meaning in a mirror.

That light has gone just perceptibly dimmer; the data gather dust. That algorithmic approximation of a Man, within the tolerance of time.


You cannot take the measure of a Man, but you may yet give one. Just make it good. Greatness is gone. Good leaves results.


GR 7/13/13


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