Entertainment

Kinky Friedman, Musician and Comedian Who Killed Sacred Cows, Dies at 79

Kinky Friedman, a singer, songwriter, comedian and sometime politician who with his band, the Texas Jewboys, developed a fervent following among fans of alternative country music with songs like “They Don’t Make Jews Like Jesus Anymore” — and whose biting cultural commentary earned him comparisons to Will Rogers and Mark Twain — died Wednesday at his ranch near Austin, Texas. He was 79.

Little Jewford, his bandmate and longtime friend, confirmed the death. He did not specify the cause, but said Mr. Friedman had been ill in recent months.

Mr. Friedman occupied a singular place on the fringes of American popular culture, alongside artists like Jello Biafra, the Dead Milkmen and Mojo Nixon. With a thick mustache, sideburns and a wide-brimmed cowboy hat, he played his own version of Texas-influenced country music, songs that poked fun at Jewish culture, American politics and a wide range of sacred cows, including feminism – the National Organization. for Women once awarded him its “Male Chauvinist Pig Award.”

Behind the jokes, Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys had a certain musical talent. They toured extensively in the 1970s, including the second leg of Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour in 1976.

In the 1980s, he turned to crime fiction, using the same casual irreverence he brought to books like “Kill Two Birds and Get Stones” and “God Bless John Wayne.” He also wrote a column for Texas Monthly magazine in the 2000s.

Yet there was also a surprising seriousness behind its strangeness. Mr. Friedman founded a rescue dog ranch. He and his siblings, Marcie and Roger, ran Camp Echo Hill, which they inherited from their parents and offered free to the children of parents killed while serving in the U.S. Army.

While many people considered his independent run for governor of Texas in 2006 a joke, he insisted it was serious business. He campaigned on a platform calling for legalizing drugs and ending the smoking ban, but he also called for higher teacher salaries and a crackdown on illegal immigration.

A full obituary will be published soon.

Gn entert
News Source : www.nytimes.com

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