Remembering Kim Fowley: Genius, Asshole, and His Own Worst Enemy

By Evelyn McDonnell on from Flavorwire

Sticky sentimentality is the last thing that Kim Fowley — lord of garbage, king of noise, thorn in the side of Laurel Canyon smarm, slinger of shlock nuggetry, cranky contrarian who I find myself grieving terribly — would want upon the occasion of his death. So let’s be clear: the producer, songwriter, manager, and performer whose six-decade musical career came to an end yesterday was not a nice man.

Kim could be brilliant, charming, entertaining, hilarious, generous, tender, seductive, childlike, and, always, gregarious. But he was never anything so quotidianly innocuous as “nice.” He cut a furious, flamboyant swathe through a Hollywood full of peacock pissants, and he could be absolutely and cruelly cutting in his vulgar verbiage. He helped bring together one of the greatest of (all-girl) rock ’n’ roll bands, The Runaways, and he also tried to bring them down when they rebelled against him.

He was his own worst enemy: I completely believe his oft-repeated rap that he was a genius, but his constant touting of his own altitudinous IQ was also one of the many ways in which he alienated Hollywood movers and shakers. He wanted to be a mover and shaker himself, and ultimately — having worked with everyone from the Rivingtons to Frank Zappa to the Hollywood Stars to Helen Reddy to Alice Cooper to Ariel Pink — he was a mover and shaker, but often in spite of himself. He had an ear and an eye for talent, and a knack for fucking things up. Nowadays he would probably get diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

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