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Kinky Friedman

Richard Samet "Kinky" Friedman (born November 1, 1944)[1] is an American Texas Country singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician and former columnist for Texas Monthly who styles himself in the mold of popular American satirists Will Rogers and Mark Twain.[2] He was one of two independent candidates in the 2006 election for the office of Governor of Texas. Receiving 12.6% of the vote, Friedman placed fourth in the six-person race.


Friedman was born in Chicago to Jewish parents, Dr. S. Thomas Friedman and his wife Minnie (Samet) Friedman. The family moved to a ranch in central Texas a few years later. Friedman had an early interest in both pop music and chess, and was chosen at age seven as one of 50 local players to challenge U.S. grandmaster Samuel Reshevsky to simultaneous games in Houston. Reshevsky won all 50 games, but Friedman was, by far, the youngest competitor.

Friedman graduated from Austin High School in Austin, Texas in 1962 and earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin in 1966, majoring in Psychology. He took part in the Plan II Honors program and was a member of the Tau Delta Phi fraternity. During his freshman year, Chinga Chavin gave Friedman the nickname "Kinky" because of his curly hair.[3]

Friedman served two years in the United States Peace Corps, teaching in Borneo, Indonesia with John Gross. During his service in the Peace Corps, he met future road manager Dylan Ferrero, with whom he still works today.[4][5] Friedman lives at Echo Hill Ranch, his family's summer camp near Kerrville, Texas. He founded Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, also located near Kerrville, whose mission is to care for stray, abused and aging animals; more than 1,000 dogs have been saved from animal euthanasia.

Writing Career:

After his music career stalled in the 1980s, Friedman shifted his creative focus to writing detective novels. His books have similarities to his song lyrics, featuring a fictionalized version of himself solving crimes in New York City and dispensing jokes, wisdom, recipes, charm and Jameson's whiskey in equal measure. They are written in a straightforward style which owes a debt to Raymond Chandler. To date, he has written two novels that do not star the Kinky Friedman character: Kill Two Birds and Get Stoned and The Christmas Pig.

Friedman also wrote a regular column for the magazine Texas Monthly from April 2001 to March 2005 which was suspended during his run for governor of Texas.[15] In 2008, Texas Monthly brought his column back on a bimonthly basis.

Two books have been published collecting some of these nonfiction writings, as well as previously unpublished ones: 'Scuse Me While I Whip This Out and Texas Hold'em. He has also published a travelog (The Great Psychedelic Armadillo Picnic) and an etiquette guide.

Friedman's early books have been republished by Friedman's own Vandam Press as ebooks. During March and April 2011 Vandam released seven of Friedman's early titles including: Greenwich Killing Time, A Case of Lone Star, Musical Chairs, When The Cat's Away, Frequent Flyer, Roadkill and the rarely seen Curse of the Missing Puppet Head. Elvis Jesus and Coca-Cola, God Bless John Wayne, Blast From The Past, Armadillos and Old Lace and two nonfiction books, Drinker With A Writing Problem and Heroes of A Texas Childhood were released in 2011. E-book releases are announced on Friedman's Twitter feed and Facebook page, "TheRealKinkster".

Friedman also announced (via Jim Bessman's column at examiner.com) the upcoming release of all Vandam Press titles as unabridged audio books "read by the author".

The recurring character "Rambam", a New York private investigator and friend of the Friedman character in the books, is based on the real-life investigator, Steven Rambam, who acts as a technical advisor for the real Friedman.[16] Old Peace Corps friend and long time road manager Dylan Ferrero is also a recurring character in Kinky's mystery novels; his character is known for only speaking in rock and roll quotes, a trait taken from real life.

  1. ^ The Kosher Cowboy
  2. Jump up ^ You Can Lead a Politician to Water, But You Can't Make Him Think, BookTV.org, October, 2007
  3. Jump up ^ Lone Star: Kinky Friedman on the campaign trail by Dan Halpern, The New Yorker, 2005-08-22.
  4. Jump up ^ Kinky Friedman Biography, Kinkajou Records.
  5. Jump up ^ Notable Former Volunteers / Arts and Literature
  6. Jump up ^ "Kinky Friedman Turns To Politics". CBS News. August 19, 2005. 
  7. Jump up ^ Tucker, Stephen R. (1998). "Kinky Friedman". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 184.
  8. Jump up ^ Kunz-Goldman, Mary (June 26, 2012). Kinky Friedman comes to town: Texas troubadour has enjoyed a long career by thumbing his nose at political correctness. The Buffalo News. Retrieved June 26, 2012.
  9. Jump up ^ "Page Not Found - The Austin Chronicle". austinchronicle.com. 
  10. Jump up ^ "Peace Corps Online: 2007.02.02: February 2, 2007: Headlines: Figures: COS - Malaysia: Writing - Malaysia: Humor: Music: Sherman Denison Herald Democrat : Kinky invites country greats to sing his songs on "Why The Hell Not..."". peacecorpsonline.org. 
  11. Jump up ^ "Events". KFC Cigars. Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  12. Jump up ^ "Tour news". kinkyfriedman.com. Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  13. Jump up ^ Digital50: News and more Business News.
  14. Jump up ^ http://www.discogs.com/Various-Pearls-In-The-Snow-The-Songs-Of-Kinky-Friedman/release/2871721
  15. ^ Jump up to: a b List of Friedman's articles and Hail to the Kinkster from Texas Monthly.
  16. Jump up ^ CNN.com "Kinky Friedman inspiration gets busted" July 26, 2006.
  17. Jump up ^ ccrayz.com: News.
  18. Jump up ^ "Upcoming Appearances". kinkyfriedman.com. 
  19. Jump up ^ http://wcco.com/politics/kinky.friedman.jesse.2.361880.html
  20. Jump up ^ http://cbs11tv.com/education/Kinky.Friedman.Jesse.2.495984.html?detectflash=false
  21. Jump up ^ "Kinky Friedman running for agriculture commissioner". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 17 October 2013. 
  22. ^ Jump up to: a b Kinky Friedman | Independent Texan.
  23. ^ Jump up to: a b c Kinky Friedman for Governor :: The Issues :: FAQ.
  24. ^ Jump up to: a b "Kinky Friedman Turns To Politics". cbsnews.com. 19 August 2005.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "cbsnews" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  25. Jump up ^ abc13.com: News from KTRK, around Houston and southeast Texas 2/28/06.
  26. Jump up ^ "Friedman says all Texans independents - www.kilgorenewsherald.com - Kilgore News Herald". kilgorenewsherald.com. 
  27. Jump up ^ Chat with the candidates: Kinky Friedman, Dallas Morning News, August 17, 2006.
  28. Jump up ^ Friedman draws celebrity support | Kinky Friedman
  29. ^ Jump up to: a b "Lone Star Long Shot - Celebrities - Cigar Aficionado". cigaraficionado.com. 
  30. Jump up ^ "Friedman urges pot be decriminalized". Houston Chronicle. 
  31. Jump up ^ Selby, Gardner W. (2007-08-09). "Kinky says he might have another go at governor". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved 2008-12-02.  (original link).
  32. ^ Jump up to: a b Kinky Friedman may run again for governor, Associated Press, February 11, 2009
  33. Jump up ^ [1]
  34. Jump up ^ "Friedman forms fundraising committee", AP Texas News, www.chron.com
  35. Jump up ^ "Kinky Friedman withdraws from Texas governor's race", Lexington Herald-Leader. December 15, 2009.
  36. Jump up ^ "Kinky Friedman loses agriculture commissioner race", WOAI.com March 2, 2010.
  37. Jump up ^ "Hugh Fitzsimons". hughfortexas.com. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  38. Jump up ^ Ken Herman, "If you don't know, don't vote", Laredo Morning Times, March 13, 2014, p. 4A
  39. Jump up ^ "Race Results, May 27, 2014". Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  40. Jump up ^ "Kinky Friedman". IMDb. 
  41. Jump up ^ Correspondence with fellow raconteur 'Joe Bob' Briggs.
  42. Jump up ^ Kinky Friedman Cigars - Home.
  43. Jump up ^ Dansby, Andrew (March 29, 2011). "Every Texan is a little bit KINKY". Houston Chronicle. p. D1. 
  44. Jump up ^ "Did Charles Bukowski Really Say, "Find What You Love and Let it Kill You?"". Houston Press. Retrieved 2015-10-15.

Photo Credits: Images one, three thru five are unknown photographers.  Image one is from his 1974 music album.  Image two taken at the 2013 Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas

Citation: The following, adapted from Wikipeda as of October 26, 2015

Other books by the author:

Texas Etiquette

Texas Hold 'Em

Three Complete Mysteries