DIARY - 18 MAY 2011 - KINKY FRIEDMAN INTERVIEW
KINKSTER RIDES AGAIN
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.
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
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.
OSAMA & WHITMAN
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
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
Perhaps Charles Whitman, the infamous University Of Texas serial killer
marksman who inspired the Kinkster song, was ahead of his time with his
The long deceased student may have earned a posthumous pardon if he had
chosen more deserving terrorist targets.
DYKE PARKS DOWN UNDER
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.
Kinkster will be accompanied on his sixth down under search and
destroy mission in June by legendary Beach Boys pianist Van Dyke
"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.
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
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."
OF A TEXAS CHILDHOOD
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.
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.
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."
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.
Kinky is letting Billy Bob Thornton set the pace on their new collaborative
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.
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
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
singing actor Dwight Yoakam is teaming with Billy Bob Thornton again
on the new movie, written by Billy Bob about three World War II
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
Bob has been scouting shooting locations in the Atlanta area for
the film that will also star Oscar winner Robert Duvall.
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,"
"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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
pianist Little Jewford also appears in the musical with the thespians
who depict the artist's three stanzas.
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.
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,"
"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."
DID IT THEIR WAY
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.
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
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."
UP YOUR HORSES
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.
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.
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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