Kim Fowley was born July 21, 1939 in Los Angeles, the son of actors Douglas Fowley and Shelby Payne. During the 60s he worked as a producer, collaborator and publicist. He co-wrote a number of fantastic songs for musicians as diverse as Cat Stevens, KISS, Helen Reddy, and Alice Cooper. He went on to discover legendary punk bands like the Runaways and Venus and the Razorblades. He was a musician, filmmaker, DJ and author, among other notorious achievements. He turned on the whole city with music.
Kim Fowley was a great person. I contacted him to ask if he would emcee for the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church Carnival I was organizing. He was in his sick bed at the time, not knowing whether he’d live or die, and yet he mustered up his courage, climbed out of his hospital bed and showed up at the church on time. He was in Catholic school for 12 years and he said it did his heart good to come and help us. The nuns loved him.
Today was our day to say goodbye to the Kim we all loved, the wild man, the clairvoyant, the genius, the shaman. Michael and Pamela Des Barres, Pleasant Gehman, Sirious Trixion , Roger Steffens, Rodney Bingenheimer, Dawn Loreen, and all manner of rock and roll stars were there to say goodbye to this wonderful man we lost too soon. Everyone had a story to tell about Kim, and all of the stories about him were fun and exciting.
Joan Jett adjusted the mic and said she meet him in the parking lot at Rodneys and that he and Rodney were the only two non-teenagers there. It was 1975 and she told him she wanted to start an all girl band. He took her number which he then gave to Sandy West. She told us that he never said, “if” we get famous, it was always “when” we get famous. She said he would have her mother on the phone for hours laughing her head off and she said perhaps her mom and Kim would be laughing together right now. She seemed very fond of him, in spite of their differences.
Kim Vincent Fowley left for his final tour January 15th 2015 with love in his heart, thanks to his wife Kara, who will carry on his legacy.
He is going to be missed.
Offbeat LA: Kim Fowley: Bad Boy with a Heart of Gold
Photos of Kim Fowley and program by Nikki Kreuzer