Tuesday, January 3, 2017
KIDDY KIM FOWLEY POSTED BY MASONICYOUTH
Kim’s mother married again, to musical arranger William Friml. Kim received his first music-biz lesson by listening through the walls as his stepfather worked with musicians to craft hits and careers. It was an education not in musical inspiration, talent development, and the frisson of collaboration, but in shrewd packaging and manipulation—the worst mass-culture nightmare of Theodor Adorno and the Frankfurt school.
Kim said of his early experience with the music industry, “The client would come in and these guys would figure out ways around their inabilities to sing and play and perform, and at the end of it they had a package and would make thousands of dollars a week,” he recalls. “That’s when I learned how to record attitude and arrange attitude, as opposed to actually having musical talent. The Runaways, for example, as a group were not great. They had strengths and weaknesses individually, and I was always aware of what they couldn’t do musically, and I would hide that from the audience, and then I would play on the things they could do… I learned at a young age that not everybody who walks in the doors is Caruso or somebody who’s going to be Al Jolson and stop the show every night. Some of these people don’t deserve to be on a stage, they don’t deserve to be on an album cover, but they have pretty faces, or they can dance, or they can do something else, and then suddenly, it becomes product.…"
Kim,“It was never a matter of art for me, it was never a matter of fun. It was just like, ‘Oh, this is what you do.’ Just like if you were a kid and your dad worked in coal mines, you say, ‘Well, Dad digs, someday I’ll go down and check it out.’ Show business was the family business for me.”
He attended University High School at the same time as singers Jan Berry and Dean Torrence (later of Jan and Dean fame), Nancy Sinatra, Bruce Johnston (later of the Beach Boys), as well as actors Ryan O'Neal, James Brolin and Sandra Dee.
In 1957, he was hospitalized with polio and, on his release, became manager and publicist for a local band the Sleepwalkers that included Johnston, drummer Sandy Nelson and, occasionally, Phil Spector. He spent some time in the armed forces and, by his own account, worked in the sex industry in Los Angeles in the late 1950s. In 1959 he began working in the music industry in various capacities for both Alan Freed and Berry Gordy.
Laurel Canyon: Fowley wrote the lyrics for the song "Portobello Road", the B-side of Cat Stevens' first single, "I Love My Dog". He later was credited for "hypephone" on Frank Zappa's first album Freak Out! Other singles by Fowley as a recording artist included "Animal Man", during the song he remarks "Its too dirty, it'll be banned" from his popular 1968 album Outrageous. All his efforts as a solo artist since 1970 have become cult items, both in reissue and bootleg formats. Fowley collaborated with his friend Skip Battin during Battin's membership as bassist with the Byrds on a number of songs. Several appeared on the group's 1970 album, Untitled; and one from the 1971 LP, Byrdmaniax, Farther Along was released as a single: "America's Great National Pastime". He co-wrote songs for KISS, Helen Reddy, Alice Cooper, Leon Russell and Kris Kristofferson.
In late 1971 music industry publicistRodney Bingenheimer moved to London after becoming fed up with the American music industry. While in England he saw the birth of the glam rock movement and David Bowiesuggested Bingenheimer open a Glam club in Los Angeles. In October 1972 he and his record producer partner Tom Ayers opened the E Club club onSunset Boulevard. In late December they moved the club further down the strip to 7561 Sunset Boulevard with the new name, Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco. Kim Fowley later recalled, "The English Disco was more a public-toilet version of the E Club. The new location gave it the teenage stench it needed. Everybody had great hair and great make-up, and there were Lolita girls everywhere. People worked at it."It soon became the center of the newGlitter Rock movement in Los Angeles. Bowie's biography noted, "The crowd at the club ranged in age from twelve to fifteen... nymphet groupies were stars in their tight little world. Some dressed like Shirley Temple; others wore dominatrix outfits or 'Hollywood underwear,' a knee-length shirt, nylon stockings, and garter belts. These stargirls streaked their hair chartreuse and like to lift their skirts to display their bare crotches. As they danced they mimed fellatio and cunnilingus in tribute to David's onstage act of fellatio on Ronno's guitar." Watney's Red Barrel beer imported from England was served on tap at the club, but the underaged groupies' favorite drink there was cherry cola. Sometimes the house DJ Chuck E Starr would perform a striptease down to a gold or silver lamé bikini.
Screenshots from google.books linking Fowley and Bingenheimer's E club as well as Iggy Pop and 15 year old groupie Sabal Star at Rodney's:
In 1974, Fowley placed an advertisement in local fanzine Who Put the Bomp looking for female performers. He hoped to form an all-girl group that he could produce and would perform his songs, but no one responded to the advert. In 1975, he met the teenage guitarist Joan Jett who expressed interest in forming an all-girl band. Less than two weeks later, he met 15-year-old drummer Sandy West who introduced herself outside of the Rainbow Bar and Grill in Hollywood, California. West told Fowley of her aspirations to form an all-girl band after playing in all male groups. This meeting led to Fowley giving West Jett's phone number. The two met and began playing together at West's home the following week. A short time later Fowley recruited Lita Ford, Cherie Currie, and Jackie Fox. They eventually became the Runaways.
THE Runaways OG lineup: Cherie Currie (16), lead vocals; Lita Ford (17), Joan Jett (16), guitars; Jackie Fox (16), bass; and Sandy West (16), drums. As Fowley himself put it in Queens of Noise, describing his taste for vulnerable women: “I’m like a shark. I’ll smell the blood.” The musicians and journalists who formed Fowley’s inner circle back then wanted to see his menace as an act, a test to weed out the weak. But some of his behavior was simply too violent to dismiss.
In September 1975, Audrey Pavia, who had just turned 18, ended up backstage at an early Runaways show, when the band was just a trio. Without warning, Fowley ran at her from across the room. “He threw me up against the wall and he put his arm across my neck,” Pavia remembers. “Then he hammered his knee between my legs.” Fowley lifted her up off the ground and licked her face. He bit and sucked on her ear. She says she struggled to get away, but he pinned her to the wall for five minutes, telling her all the things he was going to do to her. “I was terrified. I was embarrassed,” Pavia says. “This is the part that’s most embarrassing for me. … I was a virgin. This was the most physical contact I’d had with a man.” Afterward, she noticed that her hair was matted with his spit.
THE RAPE OF KARI KROME
Fowley could also come on slow, courting and grooming unsuspecting girls.
In early 1975, he became enamored of Kari Krome, a 13-year-old aspiring songwriter he’d met at Alice Cooper’s birthday party. She was his type: a young girl who spent too much time dodging her violent stepdad and bouncing from apartment to apartment in various working-class neighborhoods. She sought refuge in the glam-rock scene, where her bisexuality was welcomed, and filled notebooks with songs that chronicled her experiences. “It wasn’t a hobby,” she explains. “I needed it like I needed to breathe.” Soon, Fowley began calling her at night, instructing her to tell her mother that the calls were merely about business. They’d talk about music for hours; sometimes he’d play her a 45 over the phone and ask her what she thought about it. He told her she had good taste. He insisted that they meet without her mother knowing. At a park near her home in Long Beach, Fowley brought Krome presents, including an Art Deco copper choker and a stack of the hippest 45s, magazines and T-shirts. It seemed to Krome that he had done this before. On her 14th birthday, Krome’s mother took her to Fowley’s lawyer’s office so she could sign a contract: Krome would write songs for Fowley in return for $100 a month. She more than earned the money.
It was Krome who discovered Joan Jett and convinced Fowley to start a band with her; she says he didn’t see Jett’s potential at first. In a way, Fowley was the most responsible adult in her world. She needed him to believe in her, and he kept taking advantage of that. Months before Jackie joined the band, Krome and all the Runaways at the time crashed at the Dog Palace. Once everyone went to sleep, Krome says, Fowley walked into the living room and shook her awake. Before she could make a sound, he put a finger to his lips, shushing her. Then he grabbed her by her ankle and pulled her into the bedroom. When Krome asked what was going on, he said something like, “It’s time for dog worship” and told her if she didn’t give in to his sexual demands, she’d have to go back to Long Beach. Krome thought about leaving, calling someone for a ride. But her family was poor and didn’t have a telephone. She had nowhere to go. That night, Fowley masturbated on her. “I didn’t know how to say, ‘I don’t want you to do this,’” Krome says. “I did not have that voice. … I was also scared of him. He could be really scary.”
Fowley sexually assaulted her several other times, Krome says. “In his mind, he thought he was having a relationship with me, like a romantic relationship,” she says. “He didn’t care what I thought about it. He just decided.” So many people in the industry knew what Fowley was like, what he was capable of. But he had just enough clout to convince the naïve and the desperate that he could make them stars. It was too risky to cross him. Krome remembers waking up after the first incident and trying to talk to Jett and West. 1 “I told them he’s abusing me. I’m powerless, and I don’t know what to do,” Krome says. “They just looked at me blankly like I was the idiot. … I remember getting really mad and saying, ‘You know what? Watch your ass, because you might be next.’” Jim Caron, who owned Wild Man Sam’s, remembers being impressed with the band that night, but also feeling uneasy about how young they all were. “Kim is not your regular, normal kind of guy,” he recalls. “It wasn’t like I could go up to Kim and say, ‘Dude, what are you going to do with the girls now that they are done playing? Are you going to take them home? Do they sleep in the studio? Do you keep them in a cage?’ He obviously had a lot of control over them.”
THE RAPE OF JACKIE FOX:
After the Gig on New Years There was another Rape: After the final set, at around 1 a.m., Fowley took the band to a drab motel near the club, where they started celebrating with friends. Jackie had thought of herself at the time as only a provisional member of the Runaways. Getting through the marathon show felt like a triumph. She’d seen so many kids her own age in the audience staring up at her. “It was an amazing feeling,” she says. “It was empowering.” It was also short-lived. Soon after Jackie arrived at the motel, a grown man she thinks was a roadie approached her with a Quaalude in his hand. He told her she needed to take it, no questions asked. And she did. Another partygoer, Brent Williams, a friend of Krome’s, says he heard people (not members of the band) talking about the number of Quaaludes Jackie was being given that night—four, five, even six pills. “It was a date rape-type situation,” he says. Jackie has never before publicly discussed what happened next, once the drugs took hold, but it has changed the course of her life. Most of the people at the party were teenagers, and they were spread out into different rooms. They smoked cigarettes and passed around beers. Jett played guitar with Williams; Krome smoked a joint with a guy outside. (Lita Ford was the one band member who said she wasn’t there, and witnesses say the same.) When Helen Roessler and Trudie Arguelles, two of Jackie’s friends from the Sunset music scene, showed up, they couldn’t believe the state she was in. They had known her for a year and never once had they seen her intoxicated. “It didn’t seem OK,” Roessler says. “Jackie was always really in control.” At some point, Jackie says she had to lie down on a bed to rest. She was having trouble staying upright. When a roadie checked to see if she was OK, Fowley asked him if he was interested in having sex with her. “She doesn’t mind,” Fowley said. “Do you?” Jackie tried to protest, but she was frozen. “You don’t know what terror is until you realize something bad is about to happen to you and you can’t move a muscle,” she says. “I can’t move. I can’t speak. All I can do is look him in the eye and do the best I can do to communicate: Please say no. ... I don’t know what it looked like from the outside. But I know what was going on inside and it was horror.” The roadie declined Fowley’s offer, and soon after, Jackie says she started to slip in and out of consciousness. According to Roessler, Fowley stood over Jackie and began to unbutton her blouse. Jackie wasn’t wearing a bra. “Nobody seemed to really care,” Roessler says. “It was really weird. Everybody was sitting in there alone with themselves. It felt like everyone was detached or trying to pretend like nothing was going on.” But Roessler couldn’t stop staring at Fowley. She hoped he would notice her mute pleading, the rage in her eyes. “I remember really clearly just staring at him like, ‘If only I stare at him hard enough, it’ll make this all stop,’” Roessler says. “If only I stare at him and he looks at me, he’ll go, ‘Oh my God, what am I doing?’” When Fowley started taking Jackie’s pants off, Roessler couldn’t bear it anymore. She got in her parents’ car and left. Around this time, Williams stumbled into the room. Multiple witnesses say that Fowley began to penetrate Jackie with the handle of a hairbrush. “It was one of those times you feel like there’s a spotlight on you,” Williams says. “Everybody’s looking at you to see how you would respond. You just want to get out of there.” And, soon enough, he did. Fowley invited other guys to have sex with Jackie before removing his own pants and climbing on top of her. “Kim’s fucking someone!” a voice shouted from the door of the motel room to the partygoers outside, calling them in to watch. Arguelles returned to the room to see if this was all a big joke. On the bed, Fowley played to the crowd, gnashing his teeth and growling like a dog as he raped Jackie. He got up at one point to strut around the room before returning to Jackie’s body. “I remember opening my eyes, Kim Fowley was raping me, and there were people watching me,” Jackie says. She looked out from the bed and noticed Currie and Jett staring at her. She says this was her last memory of the night. Jett, through a representative, denied witnessing the event as it has been described here. Her representative referred all further questions to Jackie “as it’s a matter involving her and she can speak for herself.” Currie claims that she spoke up and stormed out of the room. All witnesses say they felt intimidated. “It turned into this really disgusting Grand Guignol–like theater performance that he put on,” Krome says. “And Jackie was dead, dead, dead drunk—like corpse drunk. She was just laying down on her back, sound asleep, out of it.” Krome says Fowley picked up Jackie’s arm “and it flopped down like a marionette. … He had to manually move her body parts into positions that he wanted for himself.” Krome escaped to the adjoining room and began drinking. She was confused why nobody did anything to end the attack. She recalls that Jett and Currie were sitting off to the side of the room for part of the time, snickering. “I didn’t know what to do,” she says. “Like what was I going to do? Go outside and drive and find a pay phone and call the police? I didn’t want to call the police on anyone, but at the same time I knew what was happening was wrong.” Krome was 14.
Jackie showed up at the next band practice some days later, not ready to stop being a Runaway. Although she was nervous about how her bandmates would treat her, she at least expected them to acknowledge that something bad had happened. But the girls hardly registered her presence. They just plugged in and started running through their songs. That was the day, Jackie says, “the elephant joined the band.” Jackie took her bandmates’ silence to mean that she should keep quiet, too. “I didn’t know if anybody would have backed me,” she says. “I knew I would be treated horribly by the police—that I was going to be the one that ended up on trial more than Kim. I carried this sense of shame and of thinking it was somehow my fault for decades.” Currie says the girls, who were then all 16 and 17, never talked about how to handle the rape. There was no decision or strategy. The unspoken rule was simply, “you forget it and you move on,” Currie explains. “I pushed it out of my mind the best I could.” Jackie tried to do the same. She didn’t tell her parents what had happened. She did tell her sister Carol, who was just 13 at the time. Carol believes that Jackie “compartmentalized” the rape so that she could stay in the band.
Shortly after Jackie returned to Los Angeles and the stories of her quitting the band hit the news, Brent Williams, who witnessed what happened to her the previous New Year’s, says he received a call from Jett. She said that Jackie’s parents might file a lawsuit. If lawyers ever contacted him, he needed to deny being in the motel room that night. (Jett’s representative did not comment when asked about the phone call.) This was part of a pattern, Williams says. A day or two after the rape, Fowley made sure Williams attended a party of his in Hermosa Beach. There, Fowley warned him not to talk about what he'd seen. Fowley then asked Williams to pick up a guitar and gave him an on-the-spot songwriting lesson. Fowley always denied any sexual impropriety with members of the Runaways, including in a 2013 band biography: “They can talk about it until the cows come home but, in my mind, I didn't make love to anybody in the Runaways nor did they make love to me.”
Victory Tischler-Blue was Jackie’s replacement on bass, and one of her main memories from her time as a Runaway was how some of the other members made fun of what happened to Jackie. “I heard about that nonstop,” she says now. “They would talk about Kim fucking Jackie like a dog. It was kind of a running joke.” Oftentimes during soundchecks, Tischler-Blue says that Smythe would play his secret recording of Jackie’s breakdown in Japan. He made listening to it part of the band’s pre-show ritual. “He was taunting her and she started screaming, ‘I’m sick of being sick,’” Tischler-Blue remembers. “It became a catchphrase with the band. She was shrieking it. It shook me to my core—and everybody would laugh.”
In 2014: Jackie knew what she needed to do. She set about trying to track down Fowley. In the few times that Jackie had spoken to him on the phone years earlier, he would begin the conversation by asking if she was taping the call. Now, sick with bladder cancer, he brushed off her emails, and the number she had for him was disconnected. Inspired by a lawsuit filed against Cosby by one of his alleged victims, she met with an attorney. She says she didn’t want money from Fowley; she just thought she might be able to scare him into a meeting. She craved an acknowledgement that what Fowley did was wrong, an apology. And if she didn’t get it, she knew precisely what to do: “I could have looked at him and said, ‘Don’t kid yourself that you’re dying in a state of grace. You’re going to die knowing you are not forgiven.’” She never got that moment. Fowley died in mid-January and The New York Times hailed him as a “muse and talent scout of disposable art, a rogue conscience at the ground level of West Coast pop culture.” The obits, testimonials and tear-stained tweets, including some from her former bandmates, nauseated Jackie.
Before he died from bladder cancer this January, he turned up in a wheelchair in a Beyoncé video. Pic Below
HERES A LINK TO ANOTHER KIM FOWLEY STORY!
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