Kinky Friedman, a Texas musician and humorist, has died

A literary rabble-rouser with a penchant for self-mythology and a deep love of animals, his music and writing were loved by everyone from Bob Dylan to Bill Clinton, the musician, author and former political candidate. Strange Friedman He died Thursday. He was 79 years old.

Born on November 1, 1944, Friedman came to the attention of the music world in the early and mid-1970s with his band Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys’ satirical songs written in a folk cowboy style, with such shock titles as “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Buns in the Oven.” The Bed” and “The Ballad of Charles Whitman.”

He was signed to Vanguard Records in the early 1970s after an introduction to the label by Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, who met Friedman through George Frain (aka Commander Cody) in California.

Friedman opened for the Western swing band Benson in Berkeley shortly thereafter. The eccentric Friedman took the stage in the warm embrace of feminism, wearing red, white and blue cowboy pants, smoking a cigar and a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and a guitar in the other, playing “Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Muffins in Bed.”

Benson remembers that the women in the audience went crazy, with some storming the stage and calling the artist a pig. The show was indicative of the kind of provocation that defined Friedman’s musical career.

“That was his life, but he was a master, his songs were great, he was a great writer, his books were great,” Benson said.

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Friedman’s outrageous performance life was tempered with delicacy. He was committed to the plight of animals. He founded Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch in the Hill Country where he raised and cared for thousands of stray, abused and aging animals.

Friedman, whose lyrics and performances caused knees to drop, jaws to drop, fists to shake, and eyes to roll, turned to writing novels after a decade in the music business, writing hard-boiled crime novels in the style of Raymond Chandler, as his eponymous character. Usually played the main role.

Texas Monthly’s editor-in-chief, Evan Smith, hired Friedman to write a back-page column, titled Another Roundup, for the magazine in 2001.

“The cover of a magazine is traditionally its front door, its way in,” Smith told the American-Statesman. And I wanted people to have a second door to the magazine. The thing about it is that it kind of flew with its own set of coordinates. He was an incredibly complex person: very talented and completely inappropriate. All good media at the right time and in the right ways pushes boundaries, and I thought he would push the boundaries and actually expand our audience to his or at least give us the opportunity to win over people who hadn’t read the book. magazine before.

“It’s undeniable that this happened,” Smith continued. “I think he ran some people away, too. His sense of humor wasn’t anyone else’s sense of humor. It was completely my own. I liked what he did overall.”

Friedman’s outrageously performative side was tempered by a tenderness that could sometimes be surprising, such as his tear-jerking 2001 column “The Navigator,” about his late father, who won the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal during World War II.

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Friedman’s column was suspended due to the provocative music writer’s 2006 campaign as an independent for governor of Texas in 2006 under the slogan “Why the Hell Not?”

He came in fourth place, obtaining 12.45% of the votes, in a fierce competition with the current Republican candidate and winner, Rick Perry.

His plan was to garner support from a segment of Texas voters disillusioned with the two major parties, but Friedman was realistic about his chances in Texas.

“Part of the charm of my fictional campaign is that it may be viewed as a joke by some, and an article of faith by others,” he wrote. “To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the other guy has the experience — that’s why I’m running.”

Additional reporting by John Moritz.

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