I came across an article a couple of days ago telling the world that Kim Fowley was dead.
It brought back a flood of memories from my one encounter with Kim Fowley, the man responsible for creating the all girl band “The Runaways”.
It was probably about 14 years ago and I was in New Orléans for the LMNOP Music Conference. Kim Fowley was hard to miss. A tall grey haired man in a hot pink suit. Every day at the conference he had a different colored suit on and they were all equally blinding in their brightness. Rumors swirled about who he was and whose fame and fortune he was responsible for.
On the Saturday night I played a showcase with my band and I was standing out on the footpath with my guitar after the show. I can’t remember how we started talking but Kim asked me if I’d get my guitar out and play him a song and so I did, there on the footpath. He exclaimed “You are the bastard child of Bjork and Annie Lennox!” He wanted to hear more songs. My husband at the time was my bass player and the three of us walked to Kim’s apartment, a small sparse dirty crash pad somewhere near the French quarter. We sat on the bed and I played him song after song while he manically bounced all over the conversational map. He had this crazy intense energy. I couldn’t tell if he was high or eccentric or manic but he was definitely on fire. At around 3 in the morning we left him and went back to our hotel. He said he wanted to work with me, but he was so strung out I couldn’t tell if he really was capable of doing the things he said he was, or if he was just plain crazy. What was fact and what was fiction.
I gave him my phone number and we escaped out into the night. Happy to be outside and not quite sure what to make of Kim Fowley. We drove home to Austin Texas the next day. A few days later at 3 in the morning he called and left a long rambling message on the answering machine that ended with ‘Kim Fowley wants to produce “I can see Love”. I don’t remember if he left his number.
My arrival back in Austin coincided with news that my brother Simon had died from AIDS related cancer, so my meeting with Kim Fowley faded into the background of my mind and became another curious story in my big life.