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Country music veteran and mystery writer Kinky Friedman has died, aged 79

June 28th, 2024

Country music veteran Kinky Friedman has died, aged 79.

Friedman’s death was announced via his social media accounts yesterday (June 27). The post wrote: “Kinky Friedman stepped on a rainbow at his beloved Echo Hill surrounded by family & friends. Kinkster endured tremendous pain & unthinkable loss in recent years but he never lost his fighting spirit and quick wit. Kinky will live on as his books are read and his songs are sung.”

Born Richard Samet Friedman, he was raised by Jewish parents in Chicago before the family moved to Texas when he was young. Friedman formed his first group while majoring in psychology at the University of Texas. The band, named King Arthur & The Carrots, were a surf-rock parody group that earned him the nickname Kinky.

In 1973, he formed the satirical country rock band Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys. Together, the band parodied a myriad of topics ranging from the taboo to everyday happenings and American politics. Their debut album ‘Sold American’ released in 1973, and Friedman released a self-titled album the following year.

Friedman soon became close friends with Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan, touring with the latter between 1975 and 1976. He released four more albums between 1974 and 1983 before taking a sabbatical from music to try his hand as a novelist.

Kinky Friedman. Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

He wrote a number of detective novels based around the Kinky Friedman character, who was shaped after Sherlock Holmes. He also released two novels that weren’t part of the Kinky Friedman franchise. Former US presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were reportedly fans of his Kinky Friedman novels.

Friedman resumed his music career in 1992 and would release a further 12 albums, ending with 2018’s ‘Circus Of Life’.

Between 2001 and 2005, Friedman contributed to a regular column for the magazine Texas Monthly, which was suspended after Friedman was named one of two independent candidates in the 2006 Texas gubernatorial election. Receiving 12.6 per cent of the vote, Friedman placed fourth in the six-person race. He resumed his column for Texas Monthly on a bi-monthly basis in 2008.

Following the news of his death, several presenters of the entertainment industry have paid tribute to the late musician.

Filmmaker Michael Glover Smith wrote: “RIP Kinky Friedman, legendary songwriter and mystery novelist and one of the funniest motherfuckers who ever lived. My wife Jill and I saw him in concert a lot over the years.”

Friedman’s longtime friend and author Larry Sloman wrote: “I lost my best friend and the world lost a giant today. Kinky Friedman was the sweetest, most generous, and compassionate person I’d ever met. May his memory be a blessing.”

This content was originally sourced and posted at NME »
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