In Memoriam: Kinky Friedman (1944–2024)

Updated:

Kinky Friedman was a man of many hats: a singer, songwriter, novelist, humorist, politician, and a true Texas icon. His life was a tapestry woven with threads of satire, music, literature, and public service, each strand as colorful and vibrant as the man himself.

Born Richard Samet Friedman on October 31, 1944, in Chicago, Illinois, Kinky’s journey led him to the heart of Texas, where he became a symbol of the state’s eclectic and rebellious spirit. His band, Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys, was a testament to his unique blend of country music and satirical wit, pushing boundaries and challenging norms with songs that were as thought-provoking as they were entertaining.

Kinky’s music career was marked by a boldness that mirrored his personality. From his debut album, “Sold American” in 1973, to his solo work like “Under the Double Ego” in 1983, he carved out a niche that was distinctly his own. His lyrics were a cocktail of humor and truth, often laced with political and social commentary that resonated with fans across the globe.

kinky friedman 2013
Singer, songwriter and author Kinky Friedman. Photo Larry D. Moore

But Kinky’s talents didn’t stop at music. He was a prolific writer, with his Kinky Friedman Mysteries series introducing the world to a fictionalized version of himself—a detective with a sharp mind and an even sharper tongue. His novels, like “Greenwich Killing Time” and “When the Cat’s Away,” showcased his storytelling prowess and his ability to captivate readers with his unique voice.

As a columnist for Texas Monthly, Kinky shared his insights and humor with a wider audience, becoming a beloved figure in the world of journalism. His foray into politics was equally memorable, with his independent run for governor of Texas in 2006 capturing the imagination of many and earning him a respectable share of the vote.

Beyond the stage, the page, and the political arena, Kinky was a compassionate soul. His Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch was a haven for stray, abused, and aging animals, reflecting his deep love for creatures great and small.

Kinky Friedman left us on June 26, 2024, but his legacy endures. He was a man who lived life on his own terms, a ‘Jewish cowboy’ who rode the trails of creativity and left hoofprints on the hearts of those who knew him, whether through his music, his words, or his deeds. Today, we tip our hats to

Kinky—a true original, a beacon of individuality, and a cherished voice in the chorus of country music.
Rest in peace, Kinky. Your songs will play on, and your stories will continue to inspire. You may have left the stage, but the echoes of your laughter and the strum of your guitar will resonate forever in the halls of country music history.

Share this:

Leave a Comment