Kinky Friedman is completely full of bull. He's also a truth teller. It's a good thing the two are not mutually exclusive. The leader of the now-infamous Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys and former independent candidate for governor of Texas is coming to Juanita's on Thursday as part of his "Springtime for Kinky" tour, a 17-show run that will conclude with a performance in Woodstock, N.Y., alongside Arkansas native Levon Helm.
Friedman promises to play some of his favorites, including classics like "They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore," read passages from his new book, "Heroes from a Texas Childhood," take questions from the audience, sign books and probably kick back a couple shots of "Mexican mouthwash" along the way.
You've written over 30 books. Does it come easy to you?
I love being a writer. I'm a true artist. The definition of a true artist is someone who's ahead of his time and behind on his rent. That's an artist. And I don't really think I've lost my edge. In other words, if you get too happy, that's the biggest danger. Being too happy or too successful will kill any artist because it distances you from your art. Especially if you're writing funny stuff you almost have to be miserable.
In 2006 you made a run for governor of Texas. Are you done with politics?
I think I'm through with all of that. I'm 66, though I read at the 68-year-old level. I can't even use my slogan, "Too young for Medicare, too old for women to care." If the slogan doesn't work, the candidate probably shouldn't run.
I think that a musician is a higher calling. Being a musician on the road is a very high calling. It's pure, it's truthful and it's decent. It's therapeutic, it's healing and it's a good thing to be doing. And mainly, it fits the cowboy way to ride, shoot straight and tell the truth. Most important being tell the truth. That's what these politicians just can't do. They don't know what the truth is. The truth is, my definition of politics is correct. Poly means more than one and ticks are blood-sucking parasites.
So you're working on a book with Billy Bob Thornton?
It's a book on Billy. But Angelina is going to be very prominent in this thing. It's Billy's book, "The Billy Bob Papers." He likes that title. I like the song title that he's got, which is great. And that is, "Hey Me, I'm Talking To You." I think that's brilliant. It's so good in fact, that it reminds me of how clever song writers used to be in Nashville. But it's a book by Billy and about Billy's life. I'm part of the project, or part of the problem, you could say.
Are you editing, reading over copy?
Whatever it takes. Whatever it takes to deliver a book because there wouldn't be one if I wasn't there. Now there will be one and it will be delivered pretty soon. He's going to be directing, writing and starring in another movie. And by the way, he's one of the few people who have written, directed and starred in a film that hasn't sucked. In fact it was a classic and that's "Slingblade." The last guy who did it, that I can think of, was Orson Wells with "Citizen Kane." Think of all the people that have written, directed and starred in stuff that's horrible.
You talk a lot about political correctness ...
I believe we have taken a giant cultural step backwards, because of political correctness. I'm an author and I'm a fiction writer. So you're going to find all kinds of shit in my books. My opponents spent some of their millions to go over all my books and find where Kinky says bad things, or funny things about Christians, and used that fiction to call me a racist. Take a song like "They Ain't Makin Jews Like Jesus Anymore," which has the word "nigger" in it. That song, as most people who have a brain the size of a small Welsh mining town would know, is an anthem against bigotry. It's a guy standing up to a bully in a bar. I just think the political correctness has not only gone too far, but it's drowning us.
If I were managing today in show business and I had discovered a young Richard Pryor or a young George Carlin, or a young Mel Brooks, you want to know something? I couldn't get work for those guys today. And I couldn't get the movie "Blazing Saddles" made. We couldn't make it, even if we had a lot of money. We couldn't get it distributed, or a studio to pick it up. To me that's a big step backwards, because truth trumps all. Truth is it man. Truth can be beautiful and ugly. It's what we ought to be all about.