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Kinky Friedman

Kinky Friedman

Overview
Richard S. "Kinky" Friedman (born November 1, 1944) is an American Texas Country
Texas Country
Texas country music is a rapidly growing sub-genre of American country music. Texas country is known for fusing traditionalist root sounds with the outspoken, care-free views of outlaw country...

 singer, songwriter
Songwriter
A songwriter is an individual who writes both the lyrics and music to a song. Someone who solely writes lyrics may be called a lyricist, and someone who only writes music may be called a composer...

, novelist, humorist, politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and former columnist
Columnist
A columnist is a journalist who writes for publication in a series, creating an article that usually offers commentary and opinions. Columns appear in newspapers, magazines and other publications, including blogs....

 for Texas Monthly
Texas Monthly
Texas Monthly is a monthly American magazine headquartered in Austin, Texas. Texas Monthly is published by Emmis Publishing, L.P. and was founded in 1973 by Michael R. Levy, Texas Monthly chronicles life in contemporary Texas, writing on politics, the environment, industry, and education...

 who styles himself in the mold of popular American satirists Will Rogers
Will Rogers
William "Will" Penn Adair Rogers was an American cowboy, comedian, humorist, social commentator, vaudeville performer, film actor, and one of the world's best-known celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s....

 and Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

. He was one of two independent
Independent (politician)
In politics, an independent or non-party politician is an individual not affiliated to any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, a viewpoint more extreme than any major party, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do...

 candidates in the 2006 election for the office of Governor of Texas
Texas gubernatorial election, 2006
The 2006 Texas gubernatorial election was held on November 7, 2006 to select the next governor of the state of Texas, who is serving a four year term that began on January 16, 2007. The Republican and Democratic Parties chose their candidates by primaries and convention. Primaries were held on...

. Receiving 12.6% of the vote, Friedman placed fourth in the six-person race.

Friedman was born in Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 to Jewish parents, Dr. S. Thomas Friedman and his wife Minnie (Samet) Friedman.
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Quotations

Let Saigons be bygones / Don't you blow this world in two.

"We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to You", Sold American (1973)

"Poly" means more than one, and ticks are bloodsucking parasites.

Friedman quoting an aphoristic "definition" of "politics" from "some guy in Corpus Christi, Texas|Corpus"
Encyclopedia
Richard S. "Kinky" Friedman (born November 1, 1944) is an American Texas Country
Texas Country
Texas country music is a rapidly growing sub-genre of American country music. Texas country is known for fusing traditionalist root sounds with the outspoken, care-free views of outlaw country...

 singer, songwriter
Songwriter
A songwriter is an individual who writes both the lyrics and music to a song. Someone who solely writes lyrics may be called a lyricist, and someone who only writes music may be called a composer...

, novelist, humorist, politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and former columnist
Columnist
A columnist is a journalist who writes for publication in a series, creating an article that usually offers commentary and opinions. Columns appear in newspapers, magazines and other publications, including blogs....

 for Texas Monthly
Texas Monthly
Texas Monthly is a monthly American magazine headquartered in Austin, Texas. Texas Monthly is published by Emmis Publishing, L.P. and was founded in 1973 by Michael R. Levy, Texas Monthly chronicles life in contemporary Texas, writing on politics, the environment, industry, and education...

 who styles himself in the mold of popular American satirists Will Rogers
Will Rogers
William "Will" Penn Adair Rogers was an American cowboy, comedian, humorist, social commentator, vaudeville performer, film actor, and one of the world's best-known celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s....

 and Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

. He was one of two independent
Independent (politician)
In politics, an independent or non-party politician is an individual not affiliated to any political party. Independents may hold a centrist viewpoint between those of major political parties, a viewpoint more extreme than any major party, or they may have a viewpoint based on issues that they do...

 candidates in the 2006 election for the office of Governor of Texas
Texas gubernatorial election, 2006
The 2006 Texas gubernatorial election was held on November 7, 2006 to select the next governor of the state of Texas, who is serving a four year term that began on January 16, 2007. The Republican and Democratic Parties chose their candidates by primaries and convention. Primaries were held on...

. Receiving 12.6% of the vote, Friedman placed fourth in the six-person race.

Biography


Friedman was born in Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 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
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

, and was chosen at age 7 as one of 50 local players to challenge U.S. grandmaster Samuel Reshevsky
Samuel Reshevsky
Samuel "Sammy" Herman Reshevsky was a famous chess prodigy and later a leading American chess Grandmaster...

 to simultaneous games in Houston. Reshevsky won all 50 games, but Friedman was by far the youngest competitor.

Friedman graduated from Austin High School
Austin High School (Austin, Texas)
Stephen F. Austin High School, or more commonly Austin High, founded in 1881, is one of the oldest public high schools west of the Mississippi River, and was the first public high school in the state of Texas....

 in Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas
Austin is the capital city of the U.S. state of :Texas and the seat of Travis County. Located in Central Texas on the eastern edge of the American Southwest, it is the fourth-largest city in Texas and the 14th most populous city in the United States. It was the third-fastest-growing large city in...

 in 1962 and earned a Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 from the University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

 in 1966, majoring in Psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

. He took part in the Plan II Honors program and was a member of the Tau Delta Phi
Tau Delta Phi
Tau Delta Phi is a national social fraternity founded on June 22, 1910 in New York City. Its members are known as Tau Delts. Since its inception, dozens of chapters have been founded and thousands of men initiated into its membership...

 fraternity. During his freshman year, Chinga Chavin
Chinga Chavin
Nick "Chinga" Chavin became known in the mid-1970s for his musical album, Country Porn.Perhaps his best-known song is "Asshole From El Paso", which has since been covered by Kinky Friedman. The song was a parody of "Okie From Muskogee" by Merle Haggard....

 gave Friedman the nickname "Kinky" because of his curly hair.

Friedman served two years in the United States Peace Corps
Peace Corps
The Peace Corps is an American volunteer program run by the United States Government, as well as a government agency of the same name. The mission of the Peace Corps includes three goals: providing technical assistance, helping people outside the United States to understand US culture, and helping...

, teaching in Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

 in Malaysia with John Gross
John Gross
John Gross FRSL was an eminent English author, anthologist, literary and theatrical critic. The Spectator magazine called Gross “the best-read man in Britain”, as did The Guardian...

. During his service in the Peace Corps, he met future road manager Dylan Ferrero, with whom he still works today. Friedman lives at Echo Hill Ranch
Echo Hill Ranch
Echo Hill Ranch is a summer ranch camp of about 400 acres in the Texas Hill Country. The ranch was founded in 1953 by Dr. S. Thomas Friedman and Minnie Samet Friedman. It is located south of Kerrville near Medina. Echo Hill was founded as a noncompetitive, child-centered ranch camp for boys and...

, his family's summer camp near Kerrville, Texas
Kerrville, Texas
Kerrville is a city in Kerr County, Texas, United States. The population was 20,425 at the 2000 census. In 2009, the population was 22,826...

. He founded Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, also located near Kerrville, whose mission is to care for stray, abused and aging animals; more than 1,000 dogs have been saved from animal euthanasia
Animal euthanasia
Animal euthanasia is the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, an animal suffering from an incurable, especially a painful, disease or condition. Euthanasia methods are designed to cause minimal pain and distress...

.

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
Surf music
Surf music is a genre of popular music associated with surf culture, particularly as found in Orange County and other areas of Southern California. It was particularly popular between 1961 and 1965, has subsequently been revived and was highly influential on subsequent rock 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
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 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. More conventionally named roadie Jack Slaughter and road manager Dylan Ferrero rounded out the crew and provided most of the driving of the "tour bus", a Cadillac with 10-year-old expired license plates and a nasty predilection for going into a coma at the most inconvenient moment (but, according to Friedman, her talent lay in her ability to stop on a dime and pick up the change).

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
Country rock
Country rock is sub-genre of popular music, formed from the fusion of rock with country. The term is generally used to refer to the wave of rock musicians who began to record country-flavored records in the late 1960s and early 1970s, beginning with Bob Dylan and The Byrds; reaching its greatest...

 following on from Gram Parsons
Gram Parsons
Gram Parsons was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist. Parsons is best known for his work within the country genre; he also mixed blues, folk, and rock to create what he called "Cosmic American Music"...

, The Band
The Band
The Band was an acclaimed and influential roots rock group. The original group consisted of Rick Danko , Garth Hudson , Richard Manuel , and Robbie Robertson , and Levon Helm...

, and the Eagles, Friedman originally found cult fame as a country and western singer. His break came in 1973 thanks to Commander Cody
Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen is an American country rock band founded in 1967. Core members included founder George Frayne, John Tichy, Billy C. Farlow, Bill Kirchen, Andy Stein, Paul "Buffalo" Bruce Barlow, Lance Dickerson, and Bobby Black....

, 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
Social commentary
Social commentary is the act of rebelling against an individual, or a group of people by rhetorical means, or commentary on social issues or society...

 ("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
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

.

One of his most famous numbers is "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 Anymore," a song in which Kinky verbally and physically beats up a drunken white racist
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 who berates blacks
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

, Jews, Greeks
Greeks
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

, and Sigma Nu
Sigma Nu
Sigma Nu is an undergraduate, college fraternity with chapters in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Sigma Nu was founded in 1869 by three cadets at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia...

s in a bar.

Sample lyrics:
"Oh, they ain't makin' Jews like Jesus anymore,
 They ain't makin' carpenter
Carpenter
A carpenter is a skilled craftsperson who works with timber to construct, install and maintain buildings, furniture, and other objects. The work, known as carpentry, may involve manual labor and work outdoors....

s that know what nails
Nail (engineering)
In woodworking and construction, a nail is a pin-shaped, sharp object of hard metal or alloy used as a fastener. Formerly wrought iron, today's nails are typically made of steel, often dipped or coated to prevent corrosion in harsh conditions or improve adhesion...

 are for"


Other Friedman tunes include "The Ballad of Charles Whitman," in which Friedman lampooned Whitman's sniper attack
Charles Whitman
Charles Joseph Whitman was a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a former Marine who killed 16 people and wounded 32 others during a shooting rampage on and around the university's campus on August 1, 1966....

 from the University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

's Main Building tower on August 1, 1966. His cover of Chinga Chavin
Chinga Chavin
Nick "Chinga" Chavin became known in the mid-1970s for his musical album, Country Porn.Perhaps his best-known song is "Asshole From El Paso", which has since been covered by Kinky Friedman. The song was a parody of "Okie From Muskogee" by Merle Haggard....

's "Asshole from El Paso
El Paso, Texas
El Paso, is a city in and the county seat of El Paso County, Texas, United States, and lies in far West Texas. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 649,121. It is the sixth largest city in Texas and the 19th largest city in the United States...

", a parody of Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard
Merle Ronald Haggard is an American country music singer, guitarist, fiddler, instrumentalist, and songwriter. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band The Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the unique twang of Fender Telecaster guitars, vocal harmonies,...

's "Okie from Muskogee
Okie from Muskogee (song)
"Okie from Muskogee" is an American country music song performed by its co-writer, Merle Haggard. Released in September 1969, the song became one of the most famous of his career.-Background:...

" is, perhaps, his most famous song.

In 1975, Friedman and his band taped an Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits is an American public television music program recorded live in Austin, Texas by Public Broadcasting Service Public television member station KLRU, and broadcast on many PBS stations around the United States...

 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
Austin Chronicle
The Austin Chronicle is an alternative weekly, tabloid-style newspaper published every Thursday in Austin, Texas, United States. The paper is distributed through free news-stands, often at local eateries or coffee houses frequented by its targeted demographic...

 "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
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

 on the second leg of the Rolling Thunder Revue
Rolling Thunder Revue
The Rolling Thunder Revue was a famed U.S. concert tour consisting of a traveling caravan of musicians, headed by Bob Dylan, that took place in late 1975 and early 1976; the prevailing theory was that the tour was named after the Native American shaman Rolling Thunder. Others maintained that tour...

 tour.

Friedman was a musical guest on Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

 in October 1976.

Friedman claims to have been the first full-blooded Jew to take the stage at the Grand Ole Opry
Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is a weekly country music stage concert in Nashville, Tennessee, that has presented the biggest stars of that genre since 1925. It is also among the longest-running broadcasts in history since its beginnings as a one-hour radio "barn dance" on WSM-AM...

.

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
Dwight Yoakam
Dwight David Yoakam is an American singer-songwriter, actor and film director, most famous for his pioneering country music...

, Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson
Willie Hugh Nelson is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie , combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger and Stardust , made Nelson one of the most recognized...

, Lyle Lovett
Lyle Lovett
Lyle Pearce Lovett is an American singer-songwriter and actor. Active since 1980, he has recorded thirteen albums and released 21 singles to date, including his highest entry, the number 10 chart hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, "Cowboy Man"...

, and Kelly Willis
Kelly Willis
Kelly Willis is an American country music singer-songwriter, whose music has been described as contemporary country, alternative country and new traditionalist.-Early life:...

.

On April 27, 2011 Friedman launched his Springtime For Kinky Tour (cf. "Springtime For Hitler") in Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

 at Knuckleheads Saloon
Knuckleheads Saloon
Knuckleheads Saloon is a music venue in Kansas City, Missouri. The facility is a complex of three stages - a large outdoor stage featuring a converted caboose to one side as a VIP seating area, a 220 seat indoor stage and a 50 seat lounge known as the "Retro Room". The last doubles as a blues music...

 which includes dates in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky before heading towards the east coast. This will be followed by a tour of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 with Van Dyke Parks
Van Dyke Parks
Van Dyke Parks is an American composer, arranger, producer, musician, singer, author and actor. Parks is perhaps best known for his contributions as a lyricist on the Beach Boys album Smile....

.

On July 20, 2007, Friedman hosted the "Concert to Save Town Lake" to honor the memory of Lady Bird Johnson
Lady Bird Johnson
Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor Johnson was First Lady of the United States from 1963 to 1969 during the presidency of her husband Lyndon B. Johnson. Throughout her life, she was an advocate for beautification of the nation's cities and highways and conservation of natural resources and made that...

 and her efforts to protect and preserve the shores of Town Lake
Town Lake
Lady Bird Lake is a reservoir on the Colorado River in downtown Austin, Texas, in the United States. It was created in 1960 by the construction of Longhorn Dam and is owned and operated by the City of Austin and the Lower Colorado River Authority. The surface area of the lake is 416 acres, and it...

 in Austin, Texas.

Albums

Year Album US
Billboard 200
The Billboard 200 is a ranking of the 200 highest-selling music albums and EPs in the United States, published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists...

Label
1973 Sold American Vanguard
1974 Kinky Friedman 132 ABC
1976 Lasso from El Paso
Lasso from El Paso
-Side One:#"Sold American" - 3:36#"Twinkle" - 3:21#"Ahab the Arab" - 3:31#"Dear Abbie" - 3:12#"Kinky" - 2:57 #"Lady Yesterday" - 3:57-Side Two:...

Epic
1977 Silver Jubilee 1953-1977 Echo Hill Ranch
1982 Live from the Lone Star Cafe Bruno-Dean
1983 Under the Double Ego Sunrise
1992 Old Testaments & New Revelations Fruit of the Tune
1995 From One Good American to Another
2003 Classic Snatches from Europe Sphincter
2005 Mayhem Aforethought
They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore Bear Family
2006 The Last of the Jewish Cowboys: The Best Of Shout! Factory
2007 Live from Austin, TX New West

Singles

Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country
Hot Country Songs
Hot Country Songs is a chart published weekly by Billboard magazine in the United States.This 60-position chart lists the most popular country music songs, calculated weekly mostly by airplay and occasionally commercial sales...

CAN Country
1973 "Sold American" 69 92 Sold American
1975 "Autograph" Kinky Friedman
"Popeye the Sailor Man"
1976 "Catfish" Lasso from El Paso

Writing career


After his music career stalled in the 1980s, Friedman shifted his creative focus to writing detective novels
Detective fiction
Detective fiction is a sub-genre of crime fiction and mystery fiction in which an investigator , either professional or amateur, investigates a crime, often murder.-In ancient literature:...

. His books have similarities to his music, featuring a fictionalized version of himself
Author surrogate
As a literary technique, an author surrogate is a fictional character who expresses the ideas, questions, personality and morality of the author...

 solving crimes in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and dispensing jokes, wisdom, recipes, charm and Jameson's whiskey
Jameson Irish Whiskey
Jameson is a single distillery Irish whiskey produced by a division of the French distiller Pernod Ricard. Jameson is similar in its adherence to the single distillery principle to the single malt tradition, but Jameson combines malted barley with unmalted or "green" barley...

 in equal measure. They are written in a straightforward style which owes a debt to Raymond Chandler
Raymond Chandler
Raymond Thornton Chandler was an American novelist and screenwriter.In 1932, at age forty-five, Raymond Chandler decided to become a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Depression. His first short story, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot", was published in...

. To date, he has written two novels that do not star the Kinky Friedman character: Kill Two Birds and Get Stoned and The Christmas Pig.

Friedman also wrote a regular column for the magazine Texas Monthly
Texas Monthly
Texas Monthly is a monthly American magazine headquartered in Austin, Texas. Texas Monthly is published by Emmis Publishing, L.P. and was founded in 1973 by Michael R. Levy, Texas Monthly chronicles life in contemporary Texas, writing on politics, the environment, industry, and education...

 from April 2001 to March 2005 which was suspended during his run for governor of Texas. In 2008, Texas Monthly brought his column back on a bimonthly basis.

Two books have been published collecting some of these nonfiction writings, as well as previously unpublished ones: Scuse Me While I Whip This Out and Texas Hold'em. He has also published a travelog (The Great Psychedelic Armadillo Picnic) and an etiquette guide.

Friedman's early books have been republished by Friedman's own Vandam Press as ebooks. During March and April 2011 Vandam released seven of Friedman's early titles including: Greenwich Killing Time, A Case of Lone Star, Musical Chairs, When The Cat's Away, Frequent Flyer, Roadkill and the rarely seen Curse of the Missing Puppet Head. Elvis Jesus and Coca-Cola, God Bless John Wayne, Blast From The Past, Armadillos and Old Lace and two nonfiction books, Drinker With A Writing Problem and Heroes of A Texas Childhood were released in 2011. E-book releases are announced on Friedman's Twitter feed and Facebook page, "TheRealKinkster".

Friedman also announced (via Jim Bessman's column at examiner.com) the upcoming release of all Vandam Press titles as unabridged audio books "read by the author".

The recurring character "Rambam", a New York private investigator and friend of the Friedman character in the books, is based on the real-life investigator, Steven Rombom, who acts as a technical advisor for the real Friedman. Old Peace Corps friend and long time road manager Dylan Ferrero is also a recurring character in Kinky's mystery novels; his character is known for only speaking in rock and roll quotes, a trait taken from real life.

Politics



In 1986, Friedman ran for Justice of the Peace
Justice of the Peace
A justice of the peace is a puisne judicial officer elected or appointed by means of a commission to keep the peace. Depending on the jurisdiction, they might dispense summary justice or merely deal with local administrative applications in common law jurisdictions...

 in Kerrville, Texas
Kerrville, Texas
Kerrville is a city in Kerr County, Texas, United States. The population was 20,425 at the 2000 census. In 2009, the population was 22,826...

, as a Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 but lost the election.

In 2004, Friedman began a serious, though colorful, campaign to become the Governor of Texas in 2006
Texas gubernatorial election, 2006
The 2006 Texas gubernatorial election was held on November 7, 2006 to select the next governor of the state of Texas, who is serving a four year term that began on January 16, 2007. The Republican and Democratic Parties chose their candidates by primaries and convention. Primaries were held on...

. One of his stated goals is the "dewussification" of Texas. Among his campaign slogans were "How Hard Could It Be?", "Why The Hell Not?", "My Governor is a Jewish Cowboy" and "He ain't Kinky, he's my Governor" (cf. "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
"He Ain't Heavy... He's My Brother" is a popular music ballad written by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell. Originally recorded by Kelly Gordon in 1969, the song became a worldwide hit for The Hollies later that year and again for Neil Diamond in 1970....

").

Friedman had hoped to follow in the footsteps of other entertainers-turned-governors, including Jimmie Davis
Jimmie Davis
James Houston Davis , better known as Jimmie Davis, was a noted singer of both sacred and popular songs who served two nonconsecutive terms as the 47th Governor of Louisiana...

, Jesse Ventura
Jesse Ventura
James George Janos , better known as Jesse Ventura, is an American politician, the 38th Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003, Navy UDT veteran, former SEAL reservist, actor, and former radio and television talk show host...

, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger is an Austrian-American former professional bodybuilder, actor, businessman, investor, and politician. Schwarzenegger served as the 38th Governor of California from 2003 until 2011....

, and Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

. Jesse Ventura even campaigned with Friedman for his election. When the campaign finance reports came out after the second quarter had ended, Friedman had raised more funds than the Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 nominee, former Congressman Chris Bell
Chris Bell (politician)
Robert Christopher "Chris" Bell is a Democratic Party politician. He last served as a one-term congressman in the United States House of Representatives from Texas's 25th congressional district in Houston from 2003 to 2005 before being defeated in the Democratic primary by Justice of the Peace Al...

.

On election day, however, Friedman was defeated by a wide margin, receiving less than 13% of the votes in the six-candidate matchup.

Issues and positions


On education, he supports higher pay for teachers and working to lower Texas's dropout rate. He supports more investment in harnessing Texas's alternative fuel resources
Alternative energy
Alternative energy is an umbrella term that refers to any source of usable energy intended to replace fuel sources without the undesired consequences of the replaced fuels....

 such as wind and biodiesel
Biodiesel
Biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil- or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl esters. Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids with an alcohol....

. Friedman is opposed to the Trans-Texas Corridor
Trans-Texas Corridor
The Trans-Texas Corridor was a transportation network that was discontinued in the planning and early construction stages in the U.S. State of Texas. The network, as originally envisioned, would have been composed of a network of supercorridors up to wide to carry parallel links of tollways,...

 since it relies on toll road construction. He feels that the TTC is a land grab of the ugliest kind, with land being taken from hard-working ranchers and farmers in little towns and villages all over Texas.

On capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

, he previously summed up his position, "I am not anti-death penalty, but I'm damn sure anti-the-wrong-guy-getting-executed." More recently, he has clarified his position: "The system is not perfect. Until it's perfect, let's do away with the death penalty."

On illegal immigration
Illegal immigration
Illegal immigration is the migration into a nation in violation of the immigration laws of that jurisdiction. Illegal immigration raises many political, economical and social issues and has become a source of major controversy in developed countries and the more successful developing countries.In...

, Kinky wants to increase the number of Texas National Guard troops on the border (from the current 1,500 to 10,000), impose $25,000 and $50,000 fines on companies that hire illegal immigrants and require foreign nationals seeking employment to purchase a foreign taxpayer ID card once they have passed a criminal background check. "Texas can no longer wait for our federal government to solve our illegal immigration problem," Friedman said. "These are steps that Texas can immediately take to help stem the tide of illegal immigrants penetrating our border." Had he been elected, he had promised to meet regularly Governor Bill Richardson (New Mexico) and then Governor Janet Napolitano
Janet Napolitano
Janet Napolitano is the third and current United States Secretary of Homeland Security, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She is the fourth person to hold the position, which was created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. A member of the Democratic Party, she was the 21st...

 (Arizona) to develop a coordinated border state plan to supplement federal efforts to curb illegal immigration. Previously, Kinky put forth the "Five Mexican Generals" Plan, to pay Mexican officials to halt immigration on their side of the border. Although he originally stated "When I talk about the five Mexican generals, people think I'm joking but I'm dead serious", Friedman later told the Dallas Morning News that the plan, never meant to be carried out, was a joke with an element of seriousness.

According to his official Web site, Friedman's answer to the question "How does Kinky feel about abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

?" is "Kinky believes in a woman's right to choose." In person, he hedges his bet, saying "I'm not pro-life
Pro-life
Opposition to the legalization of abortion is centered around the pro-life, or anti-abortion, movement, a social and political movement opposing elective abortion on moral grounds and supporting its legal prohibition or restriction...

, and I'm not pro-choice
Pro-choice
Support for the legalization of abortion is centered around the pro-choice movement, a sociopolitical movement supporting the ethical view that a woman should have the legal right to elective abortion, meaning the right to terminate her pregnancy....

. I'm pro-football
Professional football
In the United States and Canada, the term professional football includes the professional forms of American and Canadian gridiron football. In common usage, it refers to former and existing major football leagues in either country...

." On social issues he has supported gay marriage
Same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

, answering an Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 reporter's question on the subject on Feb. 3, 2005, "I support gay marriage. I believe they have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us." (Friedman himself has never been married.)

According to Cigar Aficionado
Cigar Aficionado
Cigar Aficionado is an American magazine that is dedicated to the world of cigars. Published since September 1992, the magazine is known for its articles about different brands of cigars worldwide, and for the celebrities that have appeared on its cover. It is also noted for its opposition to the...

 magazine, Friedman plans to roll back "any and all smoking bans" if elected. One of his favorite quotes comes from Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

: "If smoking is not allowed in heaven
Heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

, I shall not go." Friedman supports the decriminalization of marijuana
Cannabis (drug)
Cannabis, also known as marijuana among many other names, refers to any number of preparations of the Cannabis plant intended for use as a psychoactive drug or for medicinal purposes. The English term marijuana comes from the Mexican Spanish word marihuana...

, though he doesn't advocate making its sale legal. "I'm not talking about like Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

," he noted, "We've got to clear some of the room out of the prisons so we can put the bad guys in there, like the pedophiles and the politicians."

Further political activities


On August 9, 2007 the Austin American-Statesman
Austin American-Statesman
The Austin American-Statesman is the major daily newspaper for Austin, the capital city of Texas. It is an award-winning publication owned by Cox Enterprises. The Newspaper places focus on issues affecting Austin and the Central Texas region....

 reported that Friedman was considering another run for Governor of Texas in 2010. "I'm open to running", Friedman said, adding that he wouldn't make a final decision until after the 2008 elections. On February 10, 2009 Friedman confirmed to the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 that he was still interested in running.

In an August 23, 2007 interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is a major U.S. daily newspaper serving Fort Worth and the western half of the North Texas area known as the Metroplex. Its area of domination is checked by its main rival, The Dallas Morning News, which is published from the eastern half of the Metroplex. It is owned...

 and a February 10, 2009 interview with the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

, Friedman stated that if he did run in 2010, he would run as a Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

, citing that "God probably couldn't have won as an independent" and that he was a Democrat all his life.

On April 14, 2009, Friedman announced in an email to supporters that he intended to make a second gubernatorial run, this time as a Democrat.

Friedman announced on December 14, 2009, that he was leaving the gubernatorial race and would instead seek the Democratic nomination for Texas Agriculture Commissioner in 2010, but lost the nomination to rancher Hank Gilbert in the state's primary on March 2, 2010.

Kinky Friedman says he would support Republican Rick Perry for president in 2012.

Other work & references in popular culture


Friedman appeared in the 2004 documentary film Barbecue: A Texas Love Story by Austin-based director Chris Elley
Chris Elley
Chris Elley is the founder and current Director of Austin, Texas-based film production company Electro-Fish Media Inc...

. In the film, narrated by Governor Ann Richards
Ann Richards
Dorothy Ann Willis Richards was an American politician from Texas. She first came to national attention as the state treasurer of Texas, when she delivered the keynote address at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. Richards served as the 45th Governor of Texas from 1991 to 1995 and was...

, Kinky exclaims that "Jesus loved Barbecue" and analyzes the speech patterns of Texans versus New Yorkers. Raw footage from Friedman's interview appears in the 2005 DVD release of the film. He has appeared in other movies as well including Loose Shoes and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

Friedman's persona as a politically incorrect
Politically incorrect
The phrase "politically incorrect" may refer to:* Someone or something which does not meet a standard of political correctness* Politically Incorrect, a late-night U.S. political talk show* Politically Incorrect, a German political blog...

 raconteur has been likened to that of movie critic and commentator John Irving Bloom, better known in print as Joe Bob Briggs
Joe Bob Briggs
John Irving Bloom , who uses the pseudonym Joe Bob Briggs, is a syndicated American film critic, writer and comic performer.-Early years:...

, with whom he appeared in the B movie
B movie
A B movie is a low-budget commercial motion picture that is not definitively an arthouse or pornographic film. In its original usage, during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the term more precisely identified a film intended for distribution as the less-publicized, bottom half of a double feature....

 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.

Friedman prefers to smoke Montecristo
Montecristo (cigar brand)
Montecristo is the name of two brands of premium cigars, one produced in Cuba for Habanos SA, the Cuban state-owned tobacco company, and the other produced in La Romana, Dominican Republic for the Franco-Spanish tobacco monopoly Altadis SA.- History :...

 No. 2 Cigar
Cigar
A cigar is a tightly-rolled bundle of dried and fermented tobacco that is ignited so that its smoke may be drawn into the mouth. Cigar tobacco is grown in significant quantities in Brazil, Cameroon, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Philippines, and the Eastern...

s, the same brand once smoked by Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

. However, he also smokes Bolivar
Bolivar (cigar brand)
Bolívar is the name of two brands of premium cigar, one produced on the island of Cuba for Habanos SA, the Cuban state-owned tobacco company, and the other produced in the Dominican Republic from Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco for General Cigar Company, which is today a subsidiary of Swedish Match...

s, noting that "Simón Bolívar
Simón Bolívar
Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Yeiter, commonly known as Simón Bolívar was a Venezuelan military and political leader...

 is the only person in history to be exiled from a country named after him
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

." Friedman now makes eponymous cigars under the name Kinky Friedman Cigars.

Friedman is given brief praise in Joseph Heller
Joseph Heller
Joseph Heller was a US satirical novelist, short story writer, and playwright. His best known work is Catch-22, a novel about US servicemen during World War II...

's 1976 novel, Good as Gold, in which a governor (meant to satirize Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

), tells the main character, Bruce Gold: "Gold, I like you. You remind me a lot of this famous country singer from Texas I'm crazy about, a fellow calls himself Kinky Friedman, the Original Texas Jewboy. Kinky's smarter, but I like you more."

Friedman is friends with Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 and George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

, and he has visited both at the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

. He wrote about his friendships with them in his November 2001 column ("Hail to the Kinkster") for Texas Monthly
Texas Monthly
Texas Monthly is a monthly American magazine headquartered in Austin, Texas. Texas Monthly is published by Emmis Publishing, L.P. and was founded in 1973 by Michael R. Levy, Texas Monthly chronicles life in contemporary Texas, writing on politics, the environment, industry, and education...

.

The play Becoming Kinky: The World According to Kinky Friedman, directed by Ted Swindley (Always...Patsy Cline), starring Jesse Dayton
Jesse Dayton
Jesse Dayton is an Austin, Texas-based honky tonk and rockabilly artist best known for his guitar contributions to albums by country legends including Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson...

, Little Jewford, Alan Lee and Andross Bautsch, premiered at McGonigel's Mucky Duck in Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

 on March 28, 2011.

External links