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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Punk Rock Movie Villain

Kim Fowley

Could this be-spectacled, teddy-bear-hugging, grey-haired gentleman in the screaming yellow suit pass muster as a movie villain?

Kim Fowley

You bet!

I think it is his calling - the best possible role for a man who has spent over 40 years in show biz... to be portrayed as himself and as a bunch of classic stereotypes - part svengali, part demon, part father figure... The man who invented the Runaways immortalized in the role that so many people want to cast him in: villain.

And he seems to be enjoying it. The Los Angeles Times - the newspaper I read while growing up (and was frustrated by its provincial style, although I did both enjoy and envy one Cameron Crowe, a journalist my exact age who got paid to do what scores of my friends and I did for blood, sweat and tears) features in one of its blogs an interview with the punk svengali himself right here, and its highly entertaining reading.

Kim Fowley knows good music when he hears it.

Witness him here in 2003 and 2004 with bands he deemed up and coming enough to share photo opportunities with...

At left, he's with Jeremy Asbrock and Hans Rotenberry of The Shazam at the Underground Garage Festival in NYC.

You see the photo opportunity is a two-way street. You allow your fans to memorialize the moment they met you, which is partly what's going on here, but at the same time... these images become part of your visual history piggy bank. During the few years I worked with Kim Fowley on his underground films, I picked up a lot of advice by osmosis as I captured him talking to bands... playing that role of Kim Fowley... giving advice in a manner most aggressive and authoritative yet sage and downright fatherly. He'd tell songwriters to collaborate with everyone because in addition to sharing the task and bouncing ideas off each other - you never know who or what is going to make a hit. And if you write with everyone... it will pay off. Fowley should know, he's got songwriting credits with KISS and Joan Jett... and in the Runaways movie, you'll witness Fowley dishing out advice as only he can... while Nick Lowe sang that you've got to be cruel to be kind... Kim Fowley lived that aphorism.

Mick & Kim

Fowley with Dirtbombs members Mick Collins, above, and Ben Blackwell, below.

Ben & Kim

(I swear there was NO dress code memo here. The primary colors were sported by these men of their own free will!)

A year or so ago, Fowley produced a record for Atlanta garage band The Howlies and dispatched me to videotape and photograph them. He directed me to get them to dress and act in a way that yielded this image:

action howlies 2

Kim Fowley as Satan of Silverlake

This is a "movie still" (yes - a la Cindy Sherman!) of the demonic version of Kim Fowley, in his role as "Satan of Silverlake," one of the Ed Wood style films he has made (which I photographed, videotaped and filmed). yes... just as in the photo, Kim Fowley is indeed a weirdo... but unlike yourself, who may be just as weird... he's translated it into a career and you can't begrudge anyone who has become successful for simply being themself.

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