Interview With Singer-Songwriter, Author, Politician & Social Satirist Kinky Friedman

Thursday, 01 November 2012 11:46 By Thorne Dreyer, Rag Radio | Interview
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Kinky Friedman is a country-rooted singer-songwriter, a novelist whose sardonic mysteries gained him a wide audience and critical notice, an edgy humorist and social satirist, and a former candidate for Governor of Texas. On the show -- which includes Kinky performing live -- we talk about his career and his adventures -- from being a chess prodigy who played a Grand Master at age seven, to his work with Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan, and his current "BiPolar" world tour. We also discuss the issue of "political correctness" (some of his earlier work was labeled "male chauvinist," even racist), and his past association with George W. Bush, Rick Perry, and others. And, of course, the big question: Will he make a second run for Governor of Texas?

Kinky is best known for his band, Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys, whose 1973 Vanguard album, "Sold American," was a masterwork of social commentary and raucous humor. In the mid-'70s Kinky toured with Bob Dylan and the Rolling Thunder Review. In the '80s he was a mainstay at New York's legendary Lone Star Café, where his shows featured guests like Robin Williams and John Belushi. He was a musical guest on Saturday Night Live in its first season and claims to have been the first "full-blooded Jew" to appear at the Grand Ole Opry.

Kinky Friedman's witty detective novels feature a fictionalized version of himself solving crimes in New York City. He has written books about everything from social mores to armadillos, and was a columnist for Texas Monthly magazine. In 2004 Friedman ran for governor of Texas and was the first Independent to make it onto the November ballot. His slogan: "Why the Hell Not?" Kinky's new book, written with Willie Nelson, is 'Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I'm Gone.' His latest CD, "Live from Woodstock," was recorded on the "first American leg of his BiPolar World Tour." Rising country star Jesse Dayton recorded an album of Kinky's songs and has been starring as Friedman in "Becoming Kinky" by noted playwright Ted Swindley -- and a Russian film based on one of Kinky's mysteries is now in production.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Thorne Dreyer

Thorne Dreyer, a pioneering '60s underground journalist, edits The Rag Blog, hosts Rag Radio, and is a director of the New Journalism Project. Dreyer was an editor of The Rag in Austin and Space City! in Houston, was on the editorial collective of Liberation News Service (LNS) in New York, was general manager of Pacifica's KPFT-FM in Houston and was a correspondent for Texas Monthly magazine. Dreyer can be contacted at

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