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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Kim Fowley, Punk Svengali

Kim Fowley, originally uploaded by Theresa K.

Kim Fowley, circa 2004, in NYC before he took a lunch meeting with Troy Gregory, one of Detroit's favorite multi-instrumentalists and one of today's most versatile artists.

Kim Fowley has been in show biz for over 40 years. During Punk's Heyday, Kim Fowley was the man behind The Quick, Venus and the Razorblades and seminal grrl group, The Runaways.

The Runaways boasted future stars Joan Jett and Lita Ford, and also included the ch-ch-ch-ch-Cherry Bomb-shell singer, Cherie Curry (who is as beautiful today as ever), and Sandy West and Jackie Fox.

Now, Kim Fowley will boldly tell you he is a genius. He IS. He's the man behind many hit songs you know and can probably hum. In fact, a lot of his songs probably can't get out of your head! He's written and/or produced songs for artists ranging from KISS to Helen Reddy! But you may know his work with Alice Cooper, Blue Oyster Cult, Guns N Roses, The Modern Lovers, Van Halen, Slade, The Seeds, Sir Douglas Quintet, Motley Crue, and Poison better than his stuff with Emerson, Lake and Palmer or Wayne Newton - which is to say, Kim Fowley's musical ability knows no bounds.

He was one of the first people to praise and work within Detroit's vibrant rock scene in the mid-90's, long before Jack White blew the city up in red and white candy stripes. Kim hand-picked future cult legends Matthew Smith, Troy Gregory, Johnny Na$hinal and producer Jim Diamond to help record his interesting album, "Michigan Babylon."

Kim is a human giraffe - tall and lanky with a piercing, crazy stare. He gives good ghoul, you could say. I don't know if he remembers this, but back in the 80s, when Stiv Bators was living in my extra bedroom in my apartment behind the Whisky, there was always a party going on at my place - and one night, it seems like everyone who was on the Sunset Strip showed up. Kim saw that I was not pleased by this overflow of revelers, so he took it upon himself to play doorman and shuttled out all the unknown commodities so that a group of friends could just hang out in a home situation. For that, I am still pleased!

Now, go read the credits on your favorite albums and count how many times you see "Kim Fowley."

For exciting photos of The Runaways, please visit the Jenny Lens Punk Archive or peruse Brad Elterman's online galleries.

PS - here's a fun and sometimes salacious read I found online about The Runaways and Kim Fowley - The Runaways - All-Female Rock Band


Anonymous said...

I can't believe you were in a room with Kim Fowley long enough to get him to pose for a picture. He was in the documentary about Rodney Bingenheimer and also the Runaways and he sounds like quite a doozy. Great picture of a strange man.

Anonymous said...

My memories of Fowley:

His skin was this weird shade of yellow, almost like he had jaundice (maybe he did).

He would say, "Hey babe, what's your hustle?" about every 2 minutes.