Kinky Friedman

Richard S. "Kinky" Friedman (born October 31 or November 1, 1944) is an American singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician and former columnist for Texas Monthly who styles himself in the mold of popular American satirists Will Rogers and Mark Twain. He was one of two independent candidates in the 2006 election for the office of Governor of Texas. Receiving 12.6% of the vote, Friedman placed fourth in the six-person race.


Biography


Friedman was born in Chicago to Jewish parents, Dr. S. Thomas Friedman and his wife Minnie (Samet) Friedman. The family moved to a ranch in central Texas a few years later. Friedman had an early interest in both music and chess, and was chosen at age 7 as one of 50 local players to challenge U.S. grandmaster Samuel Reshevsky to simultaneous matches in Houston. Reshevsky won all 50 matches, but Friedman was by far the youngest competitor.


Friedman graduated from Austin High School in Austin, Texas in 1962 and earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin in 1966, majoring in Psychology. He took part in the Plan II Honors program and was a member of the Tau Delta Phi fraternity. During his freshman year, Chinga Chavin gave Friedman the nickname "Kinky" because of his curly hair.


Friedman served two years in the United States Peace Corps, teaching on Borneo in Malaysia with John Gross. He has been featured in the news including 60 Minutes on CBS and made an appearance as one of Jay Leno's guests. Friedman lives at Echo Hill Ranch, his family's summer camp near Kerrville, Texas. He founded Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, whose mission is to care for stray, abused and aging animals; more than 1,000 dogs have been saved from animal euthanasia.


Music career


Friedman formed his first band, King Arthur & the Carrots while a student at the University of Texas. The band - which poked fun at surf music - recorded only one single in 1966 (Schwinn 24/Beach Party Boo Boo).


By 1971, Friedman had formed his second band, Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys, which many took to be a play on the name of the famous band Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. In keeping with the band's satirical nature, each member had a comical name: in addition to Kinky there was Little Jewford, Big Nig, Panama Red, Wichita Culpepper, Sky Cap Adams, Rainbow Colours, and Snakebite Jacobs. Friedman's father objected to the name of the band, calling it a "negative, hostile, peculiar thing", which gave Kinky even more reason to choose the name.


Arriving on the wave of country rock following on from Gram Parsons, The Band, and the Eagles, Friedman originally found cult fame as a country and western singer. His break came in 1973 thanks to Commander Cody, who contacted Vanguard Music on his behalf. Friedman released Kinky Friedman in 1974 for ABC Records, then toured with Bob Dylan in 1975-6. His repertoire mixed social commentary ("We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service To You") and maudlin ballads ("Western Union Wire") with raucous humor (such as "Get Your Biscuits In The Oven and Your Buns In Bed"). His "Ride' em Jewboy" was an extended tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.


He made a race baiting song, "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore," a song in which Kinky verbally and physically beats up a drunken white person he deems "racist" who fictitiously berates blacks, Jews, Greeks, and Sigma Nus in a bar.


Sample lyrics:


"Oh, they ain't makin' Jews like Jesus anymore,
 They ain't makin' carpenters that know what nails are for"

Other Friedman tunes include "The Ballad of Charles Whitman," in which Friedman lampooned Whitman's sniper attack from The University of Texas at Austin's Main Building tower on August 1, 1966. His cover of Chinga Chavin's "Asshole from El Paso", a parody of Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskogee" is, perhaps, his most famous song.


In 1975, Friedman and his band taped an Austin City Limits show which was never aired. According to the show's executive producer, Terry Lickona, this is the first and only time in the show's long history that an episode went unaired. Lickona told the Austin Chronicle "I've seen it many times ??? it's a very popular party tape among friends. I think it was a great show, and it might be as offensive today as it was back then."


In early 1976, he joined Bob Dylan on the second leg of the Rolling Thunder Revue tour.


Friedman was a musical guest on Saturday Night Live in October 1976.


Friedman claims to have been the first full-blooded Jew to take the stage at the Grand Ole Opry.


In February 2007, Sustain Records released a compilation of the songs of Kinky Friedman sung by other artists called Why the Hell not... The compilation includes contributions by Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, and Kelly Willis.


On July 20, 2007, Friedman hosted the "Concert to Save Town Lake" to honor the memory of Lady Bird Johnson and her efforts to protect and preserve the shores of Town Lake in Austin, Texas.


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Original Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinky Friedman