Colorful Music Svengali Kim Fowley Passes
January 16, 2015 at 11:15 AM (PT)
FOWLEY's career was as checkered and as colorful as they come. He scored his first chart success producing the 1960 single “Cherry Pie” for SKIP & FLIP, then helped create the HOLLYWOOD ARGYLES band, which charted a #1 hit, “Alley Oop." He would later be involved with the careers of PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS, THE SEEDS and GENE VINCENT.
FOWLEY flew to ENGLAND to witness the pre-BRITISH INVASION boom, then became a creature of the SUNSET STRIP while writing or producing songs for artists such as THE BYRDS, THE BEACH BOYS, FRANK ZAPPA & THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION, GENE VINCENT, HELEN REDDY and WARREN ZEVON, not to mention a bevy of solo albums.
In the mid-‘70s, FOWLEY took five teenage girls and created arguably the first all-female rock band, THE RUNAWAYS. A couple years later, he would help revive L.A.'s then-dormant local rock scene by staging “new wave nights” at the WHISKY A GO GO, featuring some of the earliest punk bands, as well as THE QUICK, which he managed.
After that, he continued to dabble his fingers in music scenes in NEW ORLEANS and AUSTRALIA. Most recently, FOWLEY worked on L.A. musician ARIEL PINK's 2014 album, "Pom Pom," and did his SIRIUSXM Radio show on LITTLE STEVEN VAN ZANDT's "Underground Garage" from his hospital room.
The man seemed to enjoy simultaneously being outrageous and kind, dismissive and supportive. Two of his quotes summed up his persona perfectly: "I'm a horrible human being with a heart of gold,” he said in 2012. “I'm the worst, horrifying but lovely. I'm a bad guy who does nice things."
In another interview that year, but this time with the SAN DIEGO READER: "It's necessary for a band to have charisma, and it's necessary for a band to have a KIM FOWLEY in there someplace," he said. "The behind-the-scenes people are as much a part of rock 'n' roll as the guys onstage.... KIM FOWLEY is a necessary evil."