"He picked up his guns and walked to school/ All the while he smiled so sweetly/ And it blew their minds completely/ They'd never seen an Eagle Scout so cruel /Now won't you think for the shame and degradation/ For the school's administration/ He put on such a bold and brassy show/ The Chancellor cried, "It's adolescent/ And of course it's most unpleasant/
But I got to admit it was a lovely way to go." - The Ballad Of Charles Whitman - Kinky Friedman.

There was a crackle on the line from Washington DC where Obama strategist and singing crime novelist Kinky Friedman was finishing his Hank Williams Memorial Crusade tour.

The Kinkster, 66 and holding a briefing with a confidante, was proud that Obama had the scalp of Osama in his cabana.

Friedman's 2002 Australian tour partner Billy Joe Shaver is a honky tonk sharp shooter but didn't pack and join the Navy Seals on their Pakistan search and destroy mission.

"I helped plan that raid," confided Friedman - a guest at the White House during the previous reigns by Bill Clinton and George Dubya Bush.

"You've got to give Obama credit for that - it happened on his watch but I think George Dubya had something to do with that. Bill Clinton is a real genius who leads from the heart. Politics should be more like when Bill and George 41 went to tsunami areas together after Katrina."

Kinky is more critical of George 43, aka George Dubya.

"If he hadn't listened to Karl Rove and Dick Cheney and had listened to Kinky Friedman or Colin Powell or Laura or his daddy, things would have been very different," The Kinkster added.


"There was a rumour about a tumour/ nestled at the base of his brain/ he was sitting up there with his .36 Magnum/laughing wildly as he bagged 'em/who are we to say the boy's insane/now Charlie was awful disappointed/else he thought he was anointed/ To do a deed so lowdown and so mean/the students looked up from their classes/had to stop and rub their glasses/who'd believe he'd once been a Marine." - The Ballad Of Charles Whitman - Kinky Friedman.

Kinky voted for Obama but retired from politics after two unsuccessful Gubernatorial bids in the Lone Star State.

"I'm not very inspired by any politicians," said The Kinkster whose bovine campaign slogan was No Cow Left Behind.

"I think musicians could run the country better than politicians. I have said many times we won't get much done in the morning but we'll work late and we'll be honest."

Sadly Shaver, 71, and recovering from surgery and acquittal on wounding charges after shooting a barfly who stirred his drink with a rusty knife at Papa Joe's Texas Saloon at Lorena, south of Waco on March 31, 2007, won't be touring with Kinky.

Billy Joe agreed to surrender his Saturday night special during a separate hearing but has been fighting to get his bullet back.

That was after being celebrated in song Where Do You Want It by fellow Texan Dale Watson.

It was the phrase allegedly used by Billy Joe before he shot Billy Coker.

Shaver, luckily a lousy shot, may have been surplus to needs on the compound raid and not been able to avail himself of a work visa either - there or here.

Perhaps Charles Whitman, the infamous University Of Texas serial killer marksman who inspired the Kinkster song, was ahead of his time with his aim misdirected.

The long deceased student may have earned a posthumous pardon if he had chosen more deserving terrorist targets.


"Oh, waitret, please, waitret, come sit down on my fate/ Eatin' ain't cheatin', lord it ain't no disgrace/ Oh, bring me a Lone Star, make it a case/ And waitret, please, waitret, come sit down on my fate." - Waitret Waitret Come Sit On My Facebook - Kinky Friedman-Major Boles-Roscoe West.

The Kinkster will be accompanied on his sixth down under search and destroy mission in June by legendary Beach Boys pianist Van Dyke Parks.

"I figure most people will think he's Dick Van Dyke and we should get some big crowds," Friedman revealed.

"Van Dyke also played cello on Good Vibrations, you recall."

It will be the first joint overseas tour for the two icons.

"Van Dyke and I met on the gangplank on Noah's Ark," Kinky joked. "No, Van Dyke and I met at songwriter Jimmy Webb's birthday party in Hollywood maybe 35, 40 years ago. I was pretty well walking on my knuckles that night and Van Dyke was so high he needed a stepladder to scratch his ass. We've been friends ever since, and this is our first chance to do something like this."

The Kinkster, infamous for not writing new songs since his halcyon days in the seventies with his Texas Jewboys, has a compromise.

"I've retooled on old song, now called Waitret, Please Waitret Come Sit On My Facebook," Friedman confessed.

"We'll do it in Australia if Van Dyke can orchestrate the cello part for it."

And, like on his previous tour, will Kinky engage an entourage member to act out the sentiments of Asshole From El Paso or Waitret?

"I'm in love with a girl who is Hank Williams age when he died (29)," teased Friedman whose previous touring partners include a former Miss Texas and a schoolteacher.

Will she be accompanying him down under this time, I asked?

"No, she's shaking her head," said Kinky, "if she did she would charm the pants of all Australians."


"Ride, ride 'em Jewboy, ride 'em all around the old corral/ I'm, I'm with you boy/If I've got to ride six million miles/ Now the smokes from camps are rising/ See the helpless creatures on their way/ Hey, old pal, ain't it surprising/ how far you can go before you stay."- Ride Em Jewboy - Kinky Friedman.

The Kinkster has written about 30 books in three decades and bought back rights and released them in audio and e book format.

This time he is touring here to promote latest books What Would Kinky Do? and Heroes Of A Texas Childhood.

"I'll read from the Texas book in the show and afterwards sign anything but bad legislation," Friedman revealed.

"But only two of the 23 heroes in the book are still alive - Willie Nelson and a defence lawyer in Houston - Racehorse Haynes - real heroes and legends. The tragedies of their lives are remarkable - if you fail at some thing long enough you become a legend."

The Kinkster has been busy re-inventing his old books in new formats.

"We're making all the old books available as e-books and audio books, read by me," he confessed.

"There are no audio books up yet, but they'll be up in about a week. I think a lot of people had Kinky collections in the past, and cats have pissed on 'em, because cats piss on everything sooner or later. So I think a lot of people are re-ordering now. This could be good, it could be good, it could be a real financial pleasure for the Kinkster. It was hilarious doing those audio books, because I had forgotten how they ended myself. We'll also have all of the Texas Monthly columns available in a book called Drinker with a Writing Problem."

The Kinkster has written for Texas Monthly for decades - despite enforced sabbaticals when he stood for public office.

Friedman is also writing a book on the real-life Nazi- hunting, missing-person and homicide cases of Steve Rambam - a private investigator who, like many other friends, regularly appeared as a character in his novels.

"I've never machine-gunned four Colombians in an elevator, but I am a real investigator," Rambam says.

"And Kinky and I, over the years, have talked about most of the cases I've really done. And it's time for a book."


"They ain't makin' Jews like Jesus anymore/ They ain't makin' carpenters who know what nails are for/ Well, the whole damn place was singin' as I strolled right out the door." - They Ain't Makin Jews Like Jesus Anymore - Kinky Friedman.

Meanwhile Kinky is letting Billy Bob Thornton set the pace on their new collaborative book.

"The Billy Bob book is a joy, he's writing it by himself so far, what I've heard is sensational," Friedman added.

"The title of the book is going to be from one of the songs he wrote - Hey You, I'm Talking To Me. My role is Jiminy Cricket to make it fun. My role is yet to be defined. Hopefully I won't have to write a word of it - he's a great storyteller.

It's an angry manifesto. It's like The Billy Bob Papers. He authentically represents the Jeffersonian spirit. This is the guy who wrote, starred in and directed Swing Blade. There hasn't been anyone like him in Hollywood since Orson Welles. Billy Bob's philosophy is, 'If it ain't broke, break it.' "

Billy Bob also expanded on that theme in a recent interview.

"It's about philosophy - his philosophy, mine - just a couple of guys putting a book together about what we think about stuff," says Thornton, also star of Bad Santa and about to make a new movie in Georgia.

"Kinky's sort of in charge of this. I'm just a guy sitting around spouting off philosophy and stories."


"We don't have no love in's in El Paso/ We don't go to porno picture shows /we don't swap our wives with our neighbours /and we keep our kids away from Mexico/ and I'm proud to be an asshole from El Paso/ place where sweet young virgins are deflowered/ you walk down the street knee-deep in tacos/and the wetbacks still get twenty cents an hour." - Asshole From El Paso - Chinga Chavin- Kenny Snakebite Jacobs

Fellow singing actor Dwight Yoakam is teaming with Billy Bob Thornton again on the new movie, written by Billy Bob about three World War II veterans.

The pair worked together in 1996 in Sling Blade - it earned Billy Bob an Oscar for his original screenplay.

"Billy wrote a new screenplay titled Jayne Mansfield's Car,'" Dwight recently revealed.

"It's supposed to star myself, Billy Bob, and Dennis Quaid as three brothers in 1969, who are ex World War II vets wrestling with their own families and lives on a large cattle ranch in western Alabama."

Billy Bob has been scouting shooting locations in the Atlanta area for the film that will also star Oscar winner Robert Duvall.

Dwight has not only worked with Billy Bob in front of cameras, but behind the console on some memorable songs as well: the two sang backing vocals on Warren Zevon's final album, The Wind, in 2003, before the singer-songwriter passed away from cancer.

"Warren did a lot of recording at Billy Bob Thornton's home studio," Dwight recalls.

"We were there one night and Billy said, 'You've got to listen to this.' It was after everybody had left, and he pulled up Knockin' on Heaven's Door. It was Warren doing it, and Billy Bob said, 'That tears you up.'"


"Faded jaded fallen cowboy star/ pawn shops itching for your old guitar/ Where you've gone, it ain't nobody knows/ The sequins have fallen from your clothes/once you heard the Opry crowd applaud/now you're hanging out at 4th and Broad/ on the rain wet sidewalk, remembering the time/ when coffee with a friend was still a dime." - Sold American - Kinky Friedman.

Yoakam also performed Rapid City South Dakota on Kacey Jones produced 1998 Kinky tribute disc Pearls In The Snow.

Fellow Texan singing actors Willie Nelson, 78, sang Ride Em Jewboy and Lyle Lovett did Sold American on the same disc - the first of four Kinky tribute discs.

Kinky is elated Willie - subject of his novel Roadkill - is recording a new tribute CD to him.

The other is by fellow Texan singing actor Jesse Dayton - one of three thespians depicting The Kinkster at different stages of his career in stage show Becoming Kinky - The World According to Kinky Friedman.

Former Houstonian Ted Swindley, writer-director of Always Patsy Cline, also created Becoming Kinky and chose Dayton.

"To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, I'm glad he's the right man chosen to misrepresent me," Kinky confided.

"Jesse is a real actor and a real musician - he's not an Elvis impersonator. He played with Waylon Jennings for years. He's working on an album of Kinky songs - as is Willie. I'm turning into a Jewish Oprah without the money. Things are looking very bright for me at 66 but I read at a 68 year old level. With all the tributes coming to the Kinkster at this point I must tell you what Lowell George told me years ago - 'it's happened about 10 minutes too late to make any difference at all.'"

Texas Jewboys pianist Little Jewford also appears in the musical with the thespians who depict the artist's three stanzas.


"You told me you were born so much higher than life/ I saw the faded pictures of your children and your wife/ Now they're fumbling through your wallet & they're trying to find your name/ It's almost like they raised the price of fame." - Sold American - Kinky Friedman.

The Kinkster has long been a critic of the transience of country music and treatment of its true heroes.

That hasn't been a problem for Friedman and some peers who broadened their art with acting and book writing.

"If you're too successful, it distances you from your art," The Kinkster says.

"I've tried hard not to be that successful in my lifetime. It's a bid for immortality. The world will remember Barry Manilow for writing songs that made people feel good for a short period of time. They'll remember Merle Haggard or Willie Nelson or Kris Kristofferson for writing songs that made them think. They're all pretty O-L-D."

Friedman also parodies Music City songwriting factories that churn out generic made for radio instant hits.

"The flat truth is, when you tell the truth today, you get into trouble," he says.

"One of the great truths is that the music today is not very good. The music that's being generated by three people in a publishing whorehouse, who have this writing appointment at 4:45, is not very good. I'm not knocking Nashville, only because the same is true in Texas.

Texas songwriters used to be the cream of the crop. And right now, they've got one theme.

You know what their theme is? No, it's not Texas. It's how much we hate Nashville, but we really wanna go there, and we'd do anything to get there, but we really hate it."


"You told me you were born so much higher than life/ I saw the faded pictures of your children and your wife/ now they're fumbling through your wallet & they're trying to find your name/ It's almost like they raised the price of fame," - Sold American - Kinky Friedman.

The Kinkster cherishes the outlaw country era after his Peace Corps service in Borneo ended in 1968.

"I came to Nashville right after that, when Kris Kristofferson was the most talented janitor in Nashville," The Kinkster recalled.

"It was a really golden age to be there. The Glaser Brothers had a studio that was really the first one I know that was so progressive that it was wide open to different kinds of people who wore different kinds of clothes and had different ideas. One song would go on for 11 minutes.

They weren't restricted like the good-old-boy network. They really opened things up, and I met some fascinating people. It was wonderful working with Billy Swan who had been in Kristofferson's band for a number of years - long enough to learn the road. The rest of us, we were called The Texas Jewboys, and there were a couple of Jews in there. The others were Jewish by inspiration. But basically the pendulum swings - one day it's Roger Miller, the next day it's Willie Nelson's 1974 album Phases and Stages. Right now, the music that tops the charts is very, very derivative and not very clever. The writers - you don't see anybody like Roger Miller or Shel Silverstein or early Willie Nelson. Not that there's not a few people who can write. But here's another problem: political correctness is really drowning our culture."

Kinky and The Texas Jewboys revolutionised the genre with satiric songs like They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore, Asshole From El Paso, Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in Bed and The Ballad of Charles Whitman.

"The Texas Jewboys kept us off a lot of record labels and out of a lot of record chains that were run by Jews," Kinky explained.

"Some Jews understood that it was a badge of honour that, as I sang, they ain't makin' Jews like Jesus any more. That song also has the N word - the word nigger - which was used 200 times by Mark Twain. We've got Al Sharpton dictating what's politically correct for our country.

America has taken one giant cultural step backwards."


"You uppity women I don't understand/ Why you gotta go and try to act like a man/ But before you make your weekly visit to the shrink/ You'd better occupy the kitchen, liberate the sink/ Get your biscuits in the oven and your buns in the bed/ That's what I to my baby said/ Women's liberation is a-going to your head." Get Your Biscuits In The Oven And Your Buns In The Bed - Kinky Friedman.

The Kinkster has made wide use of the Internet to promote his merchandise diverse as salsa, Man in Black Tequila, books, his Echo Hill Ranch, settled by his parents in 1953, and Utopia dogs' shelter.

But he warns of the evils of the worldwide web.

"The bad side of the internet is: the paedophile in New Jersey, a 57-year-old man pretending to be a 27-year-old surfer in San Diego, who contacts a 14-year-old girl in Wyoming who really is a middle-aged vice cop in Miami," Friedman says.

"That is the internet. I hate paedophiles as much as anybody else but you do have to admit: they always slow down in school zones."

Despite his once extravagant lifestyle, backstage requirements for his Australian concerts are modest.

"Van Dyke will be drinking Australian wine and I'll be drinking Mexican mouthwash," the comic confessed.

Transportation is also well in hand.

"Willie gave me some good advice: 'If you're going to have sex with an animal, always make it a horse.' That way, if things don't work out, at least you know you've got a ride home."

Kinky and Parks perform at The Toff In Town on June 16 and 18 and the Prince Of Wales in St Kilda on June 17.

CLICK HERE for Tonkgirl's Gig Guide for all Australian concert dates.

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