Kim Fowley only raped music R.I.P. (i introduce Kim to Marilyn Manson, etc.)In a Cell Phone/Text Nightmare World, Kim Fowley is the Human Being Movie @ The End Of The Rainbow.
In 27 years, 2 months, and 11 days from Mother's Day 2012, Kim Fowley will be 100 years old. I am still active in Music/Movies/Television/Sports/Commercials/Ringtones/Video Games/Sexual Relationships. Many people I am not directly involved with are threatened by my survival and magical skills...but they are not magical, great, logical, interesting, or essential...therefore, their lack of importance doesn't matter.
There is so much to say about Kim Fowley, but rather than tell you about his life, I’ll suggest that you watch two films, The Runaways and The Mayor of Sunset Strip, to get a good idea of who this man was. Kim passed away in January after a long battle with bladder cancer.
Kim Fowley was an unlikely friend. We met when he lived in New Orleans from 1997 to 2003. For our March 2000 issue, OffBeat published a profile, “Kim Fowley: A Strange Dog In The Barnyard Of Humanity” with Bunny Matthews conducting the interview and me tagging along to take photos.
After several hours of listening to Kim boast about his accomplishments—“I’m in 15 rock ‘n’ roll encyclopedias, I’ve sold 102 million records—56 gold, 26 platinum. I’ve sold more records than Allen Toussaint, Trent Reznor and Daniel Lanois combined”—I left the room telling Mr. Fowley I couldn’t take much more of this.
A week or so later, who walks into my office but Kim Fowley.
We talked for about an hour. He was no longer boasting, just talking about life in general. Kim loved New Orleans, but he never felt welcome. “As far as I’m concerned, white music in New Orleans is lame and stupid. When I first came here, I went and talked to white musicians and singers and I got bad attitude. Hey—live local, think global, guys! I got bored talking to them.”
Kim did work with and released a record with New Orleans native Buzzy Beano. This topic always seemed to come up in our conversations. “New Orleans is a black city and the black culture is so rich and so innovative that it totally castrates whitey. There’s no Elvis here—yet—who only listened to black music, a white guy who reinterpreted black music and created something new called rock ‘n’ roll. The white guys here are dwarfed by the black culture and they have a real crappy attitude about being white.”
Kim tried to find reasons why New Orleans was so insulated and why the city, in his opinion, never became a shining star. It had all the elements as the birthplace of jazz and the home of famous musicians, but cities like Nashville or Austin seemed to outshine New Orleans. “I was Texas-fixated. I had fallen for that Austin, Texas propaganda.”Our conversations would sometimes last several hours and it was difficult to ask him to leave. I realized that Kim Fowley was an exceptional person—probably the smartest person I’ve ever met. He was sharp and his observations opened my mind up considerably. And sprinkled in between all his lofty ideas were his shocking sexual provocations. I’m pretty sure Kim liked to shock people with the sexual things he said, but as an older man, it was just words. I’m guessing it kept him feeling as if he was still sexually vibrant, but sadly, I don’t think he was.
I often thought about what made him latch on to me. Maybe he was lonely and I was a good listener, or maybe—I sometimes tell myself—he really liked me, in part because I stormed out of the room telling him I couldn’t take his bullshit rather than being an adoring fan.After he left New Orleans, I would receive monthly telephone calls, usually right after he received his copy of OffBeat. But sometimes he would call and announce proudly “I just earned $1,000 lying in bed doing nothing.” His royalty check had arrived.
We had a great time in Austin for the South by Southwest music conference with Kim dragging me along to his interviews and telling all the media who wanted to interview him that he would appear only if he could interview me, and of course they all obliged. Now don’t get this wrong, he wasn’t turning the attention over to me: This was his clever way to get even more attention, and it succeeded.
Kim loved New Orleans. “New Orleans is magic. It smells and feels and tastes different. I’m totally unknown here. I can wander around at odd hours and do strange things.”He kept a close eye on the New Orleans music scene and recently he was excited about Boyfriend saying that she was going to be big and that OffBeat should cover her quickly. I’m sorry he will not know that I took his advice.
When he got sick I started calling him. He always took my call and was always positive even though he knew he was dying. I last spoke to him a few weeks before Thanksgiving 2014, and although he was close to death, he didn’t reveal anything, but at this point in our relationship he knew I knew.
I will miss Kim Fowley. I will even miss him telling me how great he was and all his accomplishments. I don’t know how the man remembered it all.
Kim Fowley wrote or co-wrote songs that were recorded by Kiss, Helen Reddy, Alice Cooper, Leon Russell, Kris Kristofferson, Van Halen, Steppenwolf, Sonic Youth, Nirvana and many others. As a solo artist he released numerous albums.
Kim was the emcee for the Plastic Ono Band’s performance at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival in 1969, where he claims he created the tradition of having the audience light matches and lighters to welcome performers to the stage. One of my favorite albums of all time is the Mothers of Invention’s Freak Out! That’s Kim singing with Frank Zappa on “Help, I’m a Rock.”
As Kim told it “I was first with Cat Stevens, I was first with the Germs, I was first with Poison, I was first with Joan Jett, I was first with George Lucas because I was the producer of the new music sequences for American Graffiti when he was right out of film school.”
Although he was misunderstood I think people will come to realize that it was a privilege to know him. Kim Fowley was a good friend—one-of-a-kind. He traveled everywhere and knew everybody. In a 2012 interview in the San Diego Reader, Fowley said, “It’s necessary for a band to have charisma, and it’s necessary for a band to have a Kim Fowley in there someplace.”
When asked the question “What is God?” in the OffBeat interview, his response “God is a white 17-year-old girl with a credit card who wants to buy me a recording studio.”
The Rubber Maids - One of Those
On the evening of March 25, 2000, K-Doe and a contingent of young associates—the Rubber Maids, the McGillicuddys, Egg Yolk Jubilee, Fireball Rockett and Quintron—staged a concert at the Mother-In-Law Lounge that will forever be etched into my cerebrum as a transcendental experience. The place—about the size of the average bedroom—was crammed to nearly ten times its capacity. The temperature was very, very hot. The patrons were my age, my elders and kids the same age as my kids. Whites and blacks. Ex-hippies and ex-punks. R&B fanatics and B&D fetishists. Bettie Page lookalikes and victims of bad tattoo artists. We were all drenched in sweat, gasping for oxygen, loving ever second. And K-Doe ruled!In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Fowley lived in New Orleans' French Quarter, where he had moved, he told Spectropop.com, "looking for the black music of the '20s, but I couldn't find it." He advertised his production and composing skills in Offbeat magazine, which ran a feature on Fowley in March of 2000, and co-produced the South Coast Party Boyz' 2000 rap album "Escape From New Orleans."
Fowley became a familiar face at local rock shows, performing occasionally with his own band, and as a fan of acts like the Rubbermaids and Mr. Quintron. Fowley, Quintron recalled, named his 2003 album "Are You Ready For An Organ Solo?""I sent him an email asking, should I call the record 'Art Fag' or 'Are You Ready For An Organ Solo?" Quintron said, "And he wrote back immediately, 'Definitely, 'Are You Ready For An Organ Solo?'"