When I was younger, I was always fascinated by the LA music excitement. And while I loved the NYC music stage much better, the purest form of LA music came via the Sunset Strip crowd. With its daring flash, the abandon of Rock in a sunny clime, and an inside and outside mentality that caused a sun to shine 24/7 on that place, I was transfixed. In the middle of all of that was Kim Fowley.

Kim Fowley’s name was in the thick of just about anything that occurred in the Sunset Strip locales of Rock and Roll. Wherever a camera or film crew was, it just seemed to have Fowley involved somehow, somewhere.

When Kim Fowley struck gold with his jailbait all-girl Rock band, The Runaways, he rose to a sort of prominence despite the hints of decadence that surrounded him. Of course, some of The Runaways would later add testimony to these hints, but that’s Rock and Roll, I guess.

Fowley attempted a second success story with the all-boy band, The Quick. Of course, being the Rock and Roll fan I was, I immediately bought the Mercury debut of that band, Mondo Deco. It was filled with fun Rock. At that point, I paid close attention to what Fowley did. Even to that Helen Reddy album he produced, Ear Candy.

I still have his Capitol Records album issue, International Heroes. I even still listen to it from time to time. Just because. Kim Fowley, until recently, worked on a Sirius/XM broadcast, featured as a part of the Underground Garage empire created by Little Steven. I listened to it periodically in the hopes that he could point me to something I haven’t heard yet. Funny how a name can throw magic dust in the air, and have it settle over you like some kind of trance.

Fowley International Heroes

But all of this would have been a moot point if Fowley wasn’t there to glamorize it all. Somehow, his guerrilla marketing of Rock in LA made it seem more sexy, more important, and more dangerous than it actually was. And we know that Rock and Roll is all about departure from the societal norms, at least back then it was. This is where the legend of Kim Fowley originated, and where it still resides.

Eventually, as that initiated scene in LA became old news, or a bit of a memory, so did Kim Fowley’s prominence. He, like the rest of his troupe, including the once important Rodney Bingenheimer, became just words added to a history piece. Still, Kim Fowley was attached to the notion that Rock and Roll is a lifestyle, a place to cocoon in, to live in, and to celebrate yourself like a flashy badge. Never mind the sordid stories that rode under the radar of that period. They didn’t matter.

Rock and Roll was once a place you could retire to to be yourself. Kim Fowley did much to help propagate that illusion. And somehow that illusion still exists, especially when you hear his name mentioned. His name immediately brings up a time of unprecedented – and since not heard of – immersion in the purity of Rock and Roll. The mere mention of his name causes me to think of a point in Rock history where it was magical beyond belief. And for that, I still love him.

RIP, Kim Fowley!

Kim Fowley

Kim Fowley



By MARowe

3 thoughts on “Remembering Kim Fowley”
  1. What a downer man! RIP Kim! I loved his underground garage show. He played all the rare and good stuff. The man knew his music. The name Kim Fowley goes way, way back for me. Way back to when he and Skip Battin wrote some very good songs on the Byrds “untitled and Byrdmaniax ” albums. a true rock and roll troubador he was.

  2. On Sat Jan 17, 2015, a href=”https://www.facebook.com/trashflow” rel=”nofollow”Trash Flow Radio/a celebrated the life and work of Kim Fowley with a href=”https://www.sendspace.com/pro/pjno25″ rel=”nofollow”a 2.5-hour radio special/a. An archive of the whole 2.5-hour show can be freely downloaded from a href=”https://www.sendspace.com/pro/pjno25″ rel=”nofollow”this link/a.

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