Kim Fowley.

Record producer.

An appreciation.

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My time in Kim Fowley's orbit was profoundly inspiring. Any single anecdote leaves out a hundred others. How to sum up such a complex, crazy, obnoxious, hilarious, messed up, likeable, ridiculous, scary, sex-driven, sexist, needy, intelligent, bullying, self-promoting, exaggerating, boyish, outrageous, principled, manipulative, cartoonish enigma? Maybe I just did.

As a member of BMX Bandits, he produced us and co-wrote some songs. (We're Gonna) Shake You Down began with Kim asking me to play The Who's My Generation on guitar and telling me to change it. He asked questions about the band and wrote down the lyrics. Alan McGee said he should produce our next album because he made us "play out of our skin".

I asked Kim to produce a song or two for my country band Radio Sweethearts. That became our debut album that Kim got released in the US, and that led to us being sent some Jerry Lee Lewis recordings on which to add overdubs. Kim decreed I should be credited as Frank, 'Francis' being a little "too gay for the rednecks". I queried his song sequencing. He shut me up: "the dope smokers will like it because they can smoke dope to it".

The first time I spoke to him on the phone (about a looming gig with BMX Bandits at the 13th Note Café, Glasgow in 1996) he refused to consider performing any of his old songs. He demanded a subject (I said Radio), a style of music (Soul?) and "Fast or slow?" (Slow). He started crooning down the line: "I'm listening to my radio/ In the afterglow/Of a cold beer /Crying lonely tears/Cos you're not here...". The subsequent show was, um, darkly exhilarating. I'm not going to pretend I know what it felt like to be at Altamont but...

During his first stay in Glasgow he threw everyone out of the flat in which he was a guest. He threatened to overturn a table and brandished a plastic comb like a knife. He was furious when he discovered he had ejected members of Teenage Fanclub, The Soupdragons and The Vaselines. He had not been told these were "important people".

Once in a while he would phone me up and talk for an hour or more. I think the calls were partly business, partly needing human interaction. He once met my girlfriend and later told me, "Marry Ciara. Don't end up lonely like me."

His dad, Douglas Fowley, was an actor. He plays the crazed director in Singin' In The Rain. Kim's dad helped him learn lines and would punch him in the face when he made mistakes. He had been damaged during formative years and he knew it.

He had a No1 hit in 1960 with B Bumble And The Stingers "Nutrocker" and planned to come to London. Seemingly his publisher would have introduced him to the unknown Beatles. Kim would have discovered "The Everly Brothers with an extra singer" and he would have produced them. It could all have been so different. But he saw the pale skin of some English girls getting changed at the beach in LA and decided not to bother. I told him "the moral of the story is never let your libido get in the way of a good idea." And he laughed (as if he was ever going to let anything get in the way of his libido.)

I agreed to pay him some money for producing a BMX Bandits single and he made sure I remembered to pay him or else "I know", I said with slightly forced detachment, "You'll open my eye with your ring and finish me off with the comb." Thus came the langurous reply, "You got it."

He told me he once saw Elvis Presley playing touch football with his cronies, that he did pre-production on the first Stooges album, that Dennis Wilson was a big fan of his Outrageous album, and that Danny Wilson Mary's Prayer was "godhead".

I wasn't in touch with Kim in recent years. I knew he hadn't been well. Maybe I thought that such a strong lifeforce would always be around for a bit longer.

Some quotes:

"I'm a piece of sh*t but I'm not a complete piece of sh*t."

"Do you want me to produce or do you just want my name on the record?"

"I asked John Lennon, "What was the secret of The Beatles?" He said, 'We took our favourite records and made them better'. Great answer, John."

Thanks for everything, Kim.

FRANCIS MACDONALD