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Go West Young Kinky

The Texas Jewboy rides again

By Austin Powell, 8:31AM, Thu. Jun. 10, 2010

Go West Young Kinky

Former gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman doesn’t write new material. “What I do is rotate the audience,” he cracks from his ranch. Before his first West Coast tour in two decades, the Kinkster visits the Saxon Pub tonight in support of his latest book, Heroes of a Texas Childhood.

Off the Record: What have you been up to lately?
Kinky Friedman: Just wandering in the raw poetry of time and busily plotting my next campaign.

OTR: Really?
KF: No. That was a joke. The only time I would campaign for anything is if someone shows up with a lot of money. Bob Dylan was right, money doesn’t talk; it swears. It’s one of the problems with our political system, just one of them.

OTR: Are you looking forward to getting back on the stage?
KF: Oh yeah. That’s going to be great. I haven’t been out to the West Coast in decades. I think they’re all selling out, and it’ll be with two former members of the Texas Jewboys: Washington Ratso and Little Jewford. Ratso is a little Lebanese boy in the band. He and I have been playing together for about 35 years. We feel like we represent the last true hope for peace in the Middle East. Jewford, of course, is a Jew that drives a Ford.

OTR: I noticed that there aren’t any Arizona dates on your itinerary. Is that intentional?
KF: [laughs] They wouldn’t have us… I’m not boycotting Arizona. We’re just limiting it to the West Coast. We may do a special tour of Arizona. We’ll see. In politics you have to stay positive, like with the oil leak. At least we’re finally delivering on our promises to export oil to Mexico. With the BP leak, we’ll definitely do that. I’m also suggesting that in order to fix that damn leak to see if the Nobel Peace Prize might fit down there. That’s what I’m thinking about.

OTR: Have you been writing any material?
KF: Absolutely not. Oh no. I don’t do that. I haven’t written a song in 20 years, maybe more.

OTR: Why is that?
KF: Well, anybody that can write 29 books – that’s how many I’ve churned out, I mean, carefully crafted – doesn’t have much time to write new music. What I do is rotate the audience. Last year we toured Europe pretty extensively, and those gigs were all sold out and not only that, the audience knew every song, every lyric, and had read every book. Without being hyped by a record label or being promoted by some sort of apparatus as happens in show business and politics, it’s nice to be able to do that. It shows that the songs have some spiritual legs. This is the irony of life. If I get the hell out of Texas, I do better. There isn’t any question that I draw better and have people understand it better elsewhere. It’s just like the last race for Governor. We won it everywhere else but here. Everyone else was excited for it, and most of them had never heard of Rick Perry or could care less. All I can say about Rick Perry is that we have nothing to fear, but Rick Perry’s hair itself.

OTR: And his so-called acts of god.
KF: That was great. He really nailed that one, didn’t he? That was right on the money. I’m back to writing for Texas Monthly in August. It’s going to be about the Rick Perry, Bill White race.

OTR: What are your thoughts on Bill White?
KF: The piece is tentatively titled the lesser of two evils.

OTR: I guess that answers my last question.
KF: I like Bill. I’ve met him a couple of times, and I like Rick, but that’s not the point. The point is whether or not we have done anything that’s very significant here – if we really have any choice or are we just voting against somebody? They both seem to me to be packaged products of their political party. It’s not very inspiring. I will say that.

OTR: You’re playing the Saxon Pub as part of their 20-year anniversary. Do you have any particular memories from playing there?
KF: Nothing leaps to mind except Rusty Wier. I’ve seen Rusty there a number of times, so it’s special for that reason. I think the last time I played there I was on Peruvian marching powder, which shows you how long ago it was.

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