We made it, y’all. The weekend is upon us and if you haven’t sealed up your plans yet we’re here to help…
Kim Fowley Tribute: A Labor of Love
Saturday, April 25, 2015
The Casbah 8:30PM $10 Donation
The name Kim Fowley may not be at your top-of-mind awareness, but if you’ve ever held up a lighter (old school) or your cell phone’s flash feature at a show, listened to the Runaways, KISS, Frank Zappa, Helen Reddy and countless other artists, or seen the movie about LA’s KROQ’s iconic personality Rodney Bigenheimer AKA ” Rodney on The Rock” you’ve been influenced by Mr. Kim Fowley.
A son of Los Angeles, his high school contemporaries at West University High were Jan Berry and Dean Torrance (Jan and Dean) Nancy Sinatra, Ryan O’Neil, Bruce Johnston (Beach Boys) and Sandra Dee, not too shabby. By the time he was 20 years old he already had served time in the military; he then went on to work in the music industry in various capacities: he was a band manager and publicist, a record producer and promoted the #11 hit “Cherry Pie”. Pretty impressive work for someone who couldn’t even legally get into a bar,right?
In the 1970s Fowley had the idea of putting together an all girl group and even put an ad in a local fanzine but didn’t get any replies. As fate would have it, he then met a teenage Joan Jett and soon he was responsible for the formation of The Runaways. Fowley produced some of their albums and contributed lyrics to various songs, but The Runaways were largely in charge of their own music and sound.
Fowley, whose career was prolific as it was colorful, lived in 38 USA cities and 22 additional countries since 1964.
Fowely served as co-producer/co-publisher for many successful records. Just a short list of those he shared song writing credits with are: Cat Stevens, Warren Zevon, KISS, Alice Cooper, Kris Kristofferson and Helen Reddy. His solo musical efforts include Outrageous, I’m Bad, Wildfire – The Complete Imperial Recordings 1968–69 and almost all of his albums have become coveted among ardent fans in both reissue and bootleg formats.
From the ’70s to the mid 2000s Fowley became more and more interested in television, radio, and motion pictures and served as in multiple roles in a wide range such as: producer of music segments, composer, co-writer, interview subject, actor, and vocalist.
This barely scratches the surface of how talented he was and how many hats Mr. Fowley wore over the years in the music industry. From the late ’50s until 2014 Fowley was working tirelessly on his passions, and there were many, including a forthcoming book. Fowley passed away in January of this year due to cancer.
When asked about Fowley, friends paying tribute to him this Saturday night at the Casbah it isn’t solely his music or vast talent they talk about. They reminisce of a close friend that will be dearly missed and someone that shouldn’t be forgotten.
Mike Stax, frontman of the Loons, had this to say about Fowley:
“Kim was a visionary and a rock & roll giant who left footprints that go all the way back to the late ’50s. He was a good friend and close confidante for over 15 years. We learned so much from Kim and will forever be in his debt. I miss his humor and our long surreal phone conversations. Saturday night is our chance to pay him back just a little of what he gave us, and to pay tribute to some of the great music he left behind.”
Talented musician and ardent local music advocate, Bart Mendoza, of True Stories shared this memory of Fowley:
“I had a chance to work with Kim at San Diego Music Thing (2010) and was very impressed with how he interacted with the musicians there. We had conversations about the music business, life and more- among other things, over dinner (his treat) he gave sage advice on the biz which I took to heart and has proven to be quite helpful. Why it’s important? I’m a fan of his music, amazed by his accomplishments and he gave me good advice – I owe him.”
San Diego Music Award Winner, Pat Beers, of The Schizophonics recounted his and wife/band mate, Lety Beers’, brief time with Fowley:
“We were lucky enough to get to know Kim a bit last November, and he was one of the funniest and most articulate people I’ve ever talked to. It’s sad that someone so unique and colorful is gone. His footprint on rock and roll history is monstrous, and we want to do some of his songs justice on Saturday.”
Anja Stax – who will be belting out bass lines with both the Loons and The Rosalyns – reminisced fondly about Fowley:
“Kim has been part of our lives for a long, long time and was a great friend, mentor and supporter to us. We loved him like family. It’s gonna be a fun night under sad circumstances.”
Stax is right. Under the circumstances it will be a fun night. It will likely be a night that no one will ever forget. The night will be full of friends old and new, music, laughter, stories and more music and the laying of plans to make even more music. I like to think that Fowley would approve of Saturday night’s activities. If you’d like to join in be at The Casbah at 8:30PM and be ready to be impressed, the line-up to pay tribute to Fowley are among San Diego’s finest.
– Natalie Watson Webber
In addition to this incredible tribute show Little Italy’s ArtWalk and Adams Avenue Unplugged will take over their respective neighborhoods for daytime music lovers.
One of our favorite spots for Unplugged, the Ken Club has several highlights worth mentioning:
Saturday, April 25
The Whiskey Circle from 3 – 4:15 p.m., followed by Black Market III from 4:30 – 5:15 p.m.
Sunday, April 26
Amanda Portela and Kenny Hill from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m., followed by Taken by Canadians from 4:45 – 5:45 p.m.
For a full schedule click here.
And for San Diego Uptown News’ recommendations click here
For more interviews, song obsessions, and musical musings with Sounds in San Diego follow along on Facebook or get tweety with us on Twitter.