This excerpt originally appeared in its entirety in TEENAGE NEWS #1 from May 2013. I interviewed Kim Fowley on January 9, 2013 at 9:30PM. Kim Fowley wrote the introduction, spewing out a short 3rd-person bio. During the interview he kept reassuring me that this would be the last interview he ever did because he was expecting to die any moment. Over a year later, he is still alive in West Hollywood, California where the world wishes him the best as he continues his fight against cancer. Kim Fowley has been involved in 5,000 songs and deserves recognition.
Kim Fowley’s career began in 1946, 67 years ago. I continue to live in the future but I have the knowledge from yesterday to be combative today. If you check out my Facebook posts you’ll see I do a lot of movies, video games, television- that stuff is the new business. Instead of playing some crappy club, like a new band, I avoid that. When I played Europe last year, France, Spain, Holland, and Germany I preformed each night with local musicians. I wrote all new songs, I had 97 new songs in 14 days in 4 countries; as a 73 year old man with a cane, how’s that? Kim Fowley has sold over 102 million records, 56 gold and 26 platinum- I have earned 30 gold and platinum records since that number too but I haven’t picked them up because I travel. I don’t have a permanent address, I travel, I’m a gypsy. I’m a citizen of Ireland and the USA; I’m a dual citizen. I spend my time all over the planet. The main focuses now are: film, television, sports, ringtones, ringbacks, video games, and writing. Visit my website, www.kimfowley.com.
TEENAGE NEWS: Where were you really born?
Kim Fowley: July 21, 1939. Saint Vincent’s Hospital Los Angeles, California.
TEENAGE NEWS: How did you begin your career as a lyricist?
Kim Fowley: I was a poet who found himself with polio and was paralyzed in 1957. So I wouldn’t swallow my own broken heart, I wrote. My book Lord of Garbage describes all of this. It is selling rapidly at the moment but officially comes out next week. I’ve been doing that since 1957.
TEENAGE NEWS: Can you tell us about your record with Phil Spector?
Kim Fowley: Phil Spector owes me money. Phil Spector needed some tracks for a greatest hits package that also featured Cher and Dion. The record went to 22 on the charts and was distributed by Polydor and Phil Spector International Records. When I asked where the royalties were I was told, “Your name is on the same piece of product as Phil Spector’s, that is your payment.” That was it. Poetic justice took care of his accounting practices, I guess.
TEENAGE NEWS: In the 1960’s did Goldie and the Gingerbreads catch your eye? Did they serve as an inspiration for the Runaways?
Kim Fowley: Never heard their record. I know about them, they were women. The Runaways were all under 18, they were girls. There was never an under-18-all-girl group that existed. There were doo-wop groups! I had one of them… “Popsicles and Icicles” by The Murmaids was number three on the charts. As far as under-18 girls, it had never happened. No body ever got out there and didn’t play ballads all the time. We weren’t inspired by any girls, we were inspired by two things: Clockwork Orange and the first Rollerball movie. How do I know? Because I sat there with Joan Jett and Sandy West, the founders of the Runaways, and discussed it! It was a sports team with vaginas and loud guitars, flaming school girls- it will work.
TEENAGE NEWS: Why do you think there has been resurgence in all things Runaways?
Kim Fowley: The movie had a big public acceptance on DVD, it did $5,000,000 in sales and rentals before it ever went digital. Dazed and Confused was the same way- lukewarm in the theatres. Same thing with cowboy movies, cowboys were done with the invention of the automobile but then 40 or 50 years later people started worshipping them again- scarcity breeds interest.
TEENAGE NEWS: What did you do with Cheap Trick?
Kim Fowley: Bob Ezrin called me up and said, “Jack Douglas is having a baby and is about to lose his production deal. Is there a band you like that you could sell to him so he can give them to the label and not lose his production deal?” I met Cheap Trick and didn’t like their name but I liked them. Ken Adamy called and they talked… Jack flew out, his baby was born and he didn’t lose his production deal. He never thanked me but Cheap Trick did because they are gracious, Jack is talented but not gracious. TEENAGE NEWS: Was Stiv Bators your favorite New York Punk?
Kim Fowley: No. Mink DeVille was. They weren’t punk but they played CBGB’s. That guy was the white Ben E. King. That was a class act. When I moved to New Orleans before he died I met him in front of my doctor’s office. Great guy- lots of expensive dental work, he had more gold in his mouth than any of those cough syrup guys from Houston.
TEENAGE NEWS: What’s the scoop on your new book?
Kim Fowley: The book is Lord of Garbage, it is prose and poetry from 1939-1969; there are three volumes and they are all done. The second volume will be 1970-1995 and the next volume after that is 1995 ‘till I die! I will crawl out of the coffin and write the epilogue.
by Gus Bernadicou
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