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Friedman, Kinky

Kinky Friedman

Singer

For the Record

Selected discography

Sources

Richard Kinky Friedman is one of a very few serious musicians and authors whose life and work comes with a caution: This Material May Be Offensive to Some. Outrageous and outspoken, Friedmans satirical country tunes have led to comparisons to the work of the late Frank Zappa of rock n roll fame.

Friedman was born to Jewish parents in the town of Palestine, in Anderson County, Texas, and raised on the family ranch known as Rio Duckworth. His father was a university professor. Friedman founded his first band in the mid-1960s while studying psychology in an honors program at the University of Texas. At that early date he had yet to feel the full brunt of his politically incorrect impulses, and he named the band King Arthur & the Carrots. It was a surf-group-spoof ensemble, which seemed innocent and inoffensive, albeit goofy. The group recorded only one song, Schwinn 24, and thereafter had little opportunity to offend the sensitivities of the listening public.

After graduating college, Friedman served in the United States Peace Corps in Borneo from 1966 to 1968, where his assignment as an agricultural extension worker involved shoveling excrement and other

For the Record

Born Richard F. Friedman on October 31, 1944, in Palestine, TX. Education: Bachelor of arts degree, University of Texas.

Member of King Arthur & the Carrots, 1966; led Kinky Friedman & His Texas Jewboys, 196979; released debut album, Sold American, 1973; released solo album, Under the Double Ego, 1983; published first of many mystery novels, Greenwich Killing Time, 1986.

Addresses: Record company Kinkajou Records, P.O. Box 120907, Nashville, TN 37212. Publisher Simon & Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020, phone: (212) 698-7000, fax: (212) 698-7007. WebsiteKinky Friedman Official Website: http://www.kinkyfriedman.com.

glamourless chores. Upon his return to the United-States he cast his few remaining inhibitions aside and established a new cowboy band called Kinky Friedman & His Texas Jewboys. The group consisted of singers with a potpourri of shock-schlock nicknames such as Big Nig, Little Jewford, Panama Red, Rainbow Colors, and Snakebite Jacobs. Friedmans band worked its way to offbeat success with the help of a number of prominent musicians and producers, including Willie Nelson, Commander Cody, and Waylon Jennings. When the group recorded its debut album, Sold American, the record featured the respectable sounds of the late John Hartford and the less-than-respectable lyrics of Friedman. Such songs as Ride em Jewboy offered a unique perspective for country music fans. When a track from the album appeared on the country music charts, the Jewboys were honored with an invitation to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.

After securing a recording session with ABC Records, Friedman released a self-titled album as a follow-up in 1974. This outrageous second album was characterized by songs such as They Aint Makin Jews Like Jesus Anymore. Sold American, meanwhile, earned Friedman the title of Male Chauvinist Pig of the Year in 1974 from the National Organization for Women. It was a rendition of the Friedman tune Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bedroom that clinched the dubious honor for the tongue-in-cheek Friedman. He was later honored for the same song when, in 1992, Source listed it among the Best Country Song Titles Ever.

Negative publicity notwithstanding, Friedman recorded a third album, Lasso from El Paso, in 1976. That album secured a stamp of approval from such respected musical gurus as Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton, both of whom contributed to the album. During the mid-1970s, Friedman and his band toured with Bob Dylans Rolling Thunder Revue. After the Jewboys disbanded in the late 1970s, Friedman eventually moved to New York City, where he occasionally played sessions at the Lone Star Café. In 1983 he recorded an album for Sunrise called Under the Double Ego; that recording marked the end of the musical performance phase of Friedmans career. He devoted the remainder of the 1980s to acting and writing, having earlier made three moviesPrime Time (American Raspberries) and Record City in 1977 and Loose Shoes in 1980. In 1983 Friedman appeared in The Being, and in step with his shock-value persona, he appeared in the supporting role of a sportscaster in Tobe Hoopers 1986 horror feature, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. TCM2, as the disturbing movie was known to many, was banned in Norway and left unrated in the United States. It was also banned in Australia, where a modified version was released with an R rating.

A collection of Friedman songs was compiled in the 1990s and released as Old Testaments & New Revelations in 1992 and From One Good American to Another in 1995. His songs have been recorded by such artists as Glen Campbell (I Knew Jesus Before He Was a Star) and the New Kingston Trio. In 1999 Willie Nelson, Tom Waits, and Lyle Lovett released the album Pearls in the Snow: The Songs of Kinky Friedman; the album was a tribute to Friedmans talent as a songwriter.

After retiring from the recording studio, Friedman turned his sardonic talent to writing novels. Most notably he penned a collection of mystery books involving an alter-ego character named Kinky Friedman, also known as the Kinkster. The Kinkster character of Friedmans novels is a Jewish one-time country musician who embraces a second career as a private detectiveand clearly bears an uncanny resemblance to the author. Friedmans first Kinkster book, Greenwich Killing Time, published by Beach Tree in 1986, reveals the same tongue-in-cheek humor of his musical compositions and features equally volatile political commentary and biting remarks such as, Theres nothing wrong with any woman that a hand grenade or a Quaalude cant straighten out. When Friedmans second mystery, A Case of Lone Star, was published in 1987, People magazines Campbell Geeslin called it outrageously funny. Lone Star was followed by When the Cats Away in 1988, Frequent Flyer in 1989, and Musical Chairs in 1991. His sixth and seventh novelsElvis, Jesus & Coca Cola and Armadillos & Old Lace were published in 1994. With the publication of Friedmans 1995 novel, God Bless John Wayne, Ruth Coughlin mentioned the Friedman-Zappa analogy with regard to Friedmans writings, saying, Kinky Friedman is to the detective novel what Frank Zappa is to rock and roll: a gleeful gadfly who delights in offending purists.

By 1997 Friedman went into publication with his tenth mystery novel, Roadkill, and Blast from the Past appeared in 1998. Other Friedman publications during the 1990s include The Kinky Friedman Crime Club, 1992; Selections: Three Complete Mysteries, 1993; The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover, 1996; and Spanking Watson, 1999. When The Mile High Club hit stores in 2000, Jeff Zaleski, of Publishers Weekly, affectionately noted of the detective character: As usual, the mystery at hand counts for less than the time spent in Kinkys company.

In collaboration with Mike McGovern, Friedman released a cookbook called Eat, Drink, and Be Kinky: A Feast of Fabulous Recipes for Fans of Kinky Friedman in 1999. In 2001 Friedman published a wit-and-wis-dom-laced volume, Kinky Friedmans Guide to Texas Etiquette, or, How to Get to Heaven or Hell without Going through Dallas-Fort Worth. He also returned the Kinkster detective character to center stage that year with Steppin on a Rainbow.

Friedman is the owner, operator, president, and chief executive officer of Kinkajou Records of Nashville, Tennessee. He established the label in 1999 in conjunction with the release of Pearls in the Snow. He lives in Texas Hill Country where he also writes a regular column for Texas Monthly. He is the cofounder of the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch.

Selected discography

Singles

Schwinn 24/Beach Party Boo Boo, Jox, 1962.

Sold American/Western Union Wire, Vanguard, 1973.

Autograph,/Lover Please, ABC, 1974.

Popeye the Sailor Man,/Wild Man from Borneo, ABC, 1975.

Catfish/Dear Abbie, Epic, 1976.

(With Ronee Blakley) Twirl/Hello, Good Mornin, Sunrise Records, 1983.

Albums

Sold American, Vanguard, 1973; reissued, 1989.

Kinky Friedman, ABC, 1974; reissued, Varèse Sarabande, 1994.

Lasso from El Paso, Epic, 1976; reissued, 1993.

Under the Double Ego, Sunrise, 1983.

Sources

Periodicals

Entertainment Weekly, March 20, 1992, p. 39; August 27, 1993, p. 106.

New York Times Book Review, September 24, 2000, p. 7.22.

People, September 1, 1986, p. 11; November 9, 1987; May 6, 1991, p. 32; October 23, 1995, p. 30.

Publishers Weekly, July 24, 2000, p. 71; August 20, 2001, p. 60.

Online

Kinky Friedman, All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=Blitxlfde5cqr~C (October 26, 2001).

Gloria Cooksey

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"Friedman, Kinky." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Friedman, Kinky

FRIEDMAN, Kinky

Nationality: American. Born: Richard Friedman, near Kerrville, Texas, 1944. Education: University of Texas, B.A. Career: Peace Corps, Borneo, 1966-68; leader of the country-western band Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys; actor. Agent: Esther Newburg, International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90211, U.S.A.

Publications

Novels

Greenwich Killing Time. New York, Beech Tree Books, 1986.

A Case of Lone Star. New York, Beech Tree Books, 1987.

When the Cat's Away. New York, Beech Tree Books, 1988.

Frequent Flyer. New York, Morrow, 1989.

Musical Chairs. New York, Morrow, 1991.

The Kinky Friedman Crime Club (includes Greenwich Killing Time,A Case of Lone Star, and When the Cat's Away ). London, Faber, 1992; published in the United States as Three Complete Mysteries. New York, Wings Books, 1993.

Elvis, Jesus, and Coca Cola. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1993.

Armadillos and Old Lace. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1994.

God Bless John Wayne. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1995.

The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1996.

Roadkill. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1997.

Blast from the Past. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Spanking Watson: A Novel. New York, Simon & Schuster, 1999.

Other

Sold American (musical recording). New York, Vanguard, 1973.

Lasso for El Paso (musical recording). New York, Epic, 1976.

Under the Double Ego (musical recording). Austin, Texas, SunriseRecords, 1984.

Afterword, Daddy-O: Iguana Heads and Texas Tales by Bob "Daddy-O" Wade with Keith and Kent Zimmerman, foreword by Linda Ellerbee. New York, St. Martin's Press, 1995.

*

Critical Studies:

Eat, Drink, and Be Kinky: A Feast of Wit and Fabulous Recipes for Fans of Kinky Friedman by Mike McGovern, New York, Simon & Schuster, 1999.

* * *

Kinky Friedman is the author of a dozen mystery novels that star himself as a detective with a distinctive personaa Texas Jew, a country singer and songwriter turned amateur detective, living in a converted New York loft with a lesbian dance class that practices in the room above, fond of cats, cigars and cracking jokes, and of parading his sometimes politically incorrect prejudices. Friedman's first-person narratives are fuelled by the force of their fast-moving, streetwise, hip style which hardly gives the reader time to draw breath as it moves from one scene and set of characters to another. His work is notable for its combination of comedy with casually-strung plots that are not always easy to follow; Friedman himself has said that he is not interested in intricate plotting and that the secret of a good mystery is that nothing is what it appears to be. He both employs and consciously sends up the conventions of the hardboiled thriller and the detective novel, of Raymond Chandler and Agatha Christie, but he updates Chandler and Christie to postmodern America and his gumshoe narrator has a sharp eye for the energy and oddity of the contemporary U.S.A.

Most of Friedman's novels are set in Manhattan and provide a kind of metropolitan picaresque as their hero follows complicated trails of crime across the city. His tone and manner were immediately established by his first book, Greenwich Killing Time, in 1986. Seeking to solve a murder in which the corpse is found holding eleven pink roses, Kinky takes a voyage into the lower depths of New York in pursuit of a strange group of suspects. In his second novel, A Case of Lone Star, he investigates a series of murders of performers at a country and western cafe in Manhattan, while in his third, When the Cat's Away, a friend's stolen cat leads him into a world of murders, gang warfare and illicit drugs trading.

With his fourth novel, Frequent Flyer, Friedman extends the reach of his work. Although Kinky is still largely based in New York, his visit to a friend's funeral in Cleveland, Ohio, where he seems to be the only person to notice that the body in the coffin is that of a total stranger, leads him into what he himself calls a grotesque puzzle that stretches back nearly fifty years to the Nazi era and spans three continents. In Musical Chairs the members of Kinky's own former band, the Texas Jewboys, are the murder targets, which understandably sharpens his investigative zeal, while in Elvis, Jesus and Coca-Cola the victim is a maker of documentary films about Elvis impersonators.

Armadillos and Old Lace sees Kinky, unusually, leaving New York for Texas, where he investigates a series of deaths of elderly ladies, while in The Love Song of J. Edgar Hoover, a wifein what Kinky recognizes as one of the most stereotyped of thriller devicesasks him to find her missing husband and starts him off on a complex inquiry that takes him to New York and Chicago. In Roadkill, he sets out to save an old friend from a Native American curse, while Blast from the Past, as its title suggests, returns to his younger days in New York, recalling his transformation from country singer to detective and the origins of his "Village Irregulars," McGovern, Rambam, and Ratso. Spanking Watson pursues the theme of the Village Irregulars when Kinky tries to find out which of the three would best serve as his Dr. Watson by asking each of them to find out who wrote a death threat to the teacher of the lesbian dance class that practices in the room above his loft; the writer of the threat is Kinky himselfbut he then discovers that the teacher is really under threat from another, unknown source.

Friedman's fiction is not to everyone's taste. His novels are carried on his persona rather than on their plots, and the plots are not, in themselves, compellingindeed, they can sometimes seem to be simply a pretext for the display of Kinky's personality. The other characters in his novels are very much refracted to us through that personality rather than emerging in their own right. Readers who find the personality engaging will enjoy the novels; others may find it oppressive or offensive. But there can be no doubt that Kinky Friedman has put an inimitable stamp upon the mystery thriller of the 1980s and 1990s and has acquired a devoted following. It remains to be seen whether his future work will continue to play variations on his well-established formulae or develop in new directions.

Nicolas Tredell

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"Friedman, Kinky." Contemporary Novelists. . Retrieved October 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/friedman-kinky-0