Sticky sentimentality is the last thing that Kim Fowley — lord of garbage, king of noise, thorn in the side of Laurel Canyon smarm, slinger of shlock nuggetry, cranky contrarian who I find myself grieving terribly — would want upon the occasion of his death. So let’s be clear: the producer, songwriter, manager, and performer whose six-decade musical career came to an end yesterday was not a nice man.
Kim could be brilliant, charming, entertaining, hilarious, generous, tender, seductive, childlike, and, always, gregarious. But he was never anything so quotidianly innocuous as “nice.” He cut a furious, flamboyant swathe through a Hollywood full of peacock pissants, and he could be absolutely and cruelly cutting in his vulgar verbiage. He helped bring together one of the greatest of (all-girl) rock ’n’ roll bands, The Runaways, and he also tried to bring them down when they rebelled against him.