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Kinky Friedman's Biography

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Kinky Friedman was born on November 1, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois.

Originally a country and western singer with his band The Texas Jewboys, whose repertoire included tracks like "They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore", Kinky Friedman went on to write a succession of highly entertaining crime thrillers.

Featuring himself as the hero, the stories are populated by Kinky Friedman's real-life friends and acquaintances, including Larry 'Ratso' Sloman, Steven Rambam and Michael McGovern.

I was lucky enough to interview Kinky Friedman in the early 1990s in London. He was exceptionally funny and friendly. Here are some notes from the interview, obviously some of the jokes are a little lost without hearing Kinky Friedman tell them:


  • Friedman took accordion lessons in Texas when about 11 years old, switched to the guitar a year later;
  • He liked Jimmy Rogers, Slim Whitman, and Hank Williams;
  • Friedman's family were not into country music – they were more keen on the likes of Paul Robeson;
  • If you want to get into country and western having a college education is not a good thing – the only other musician that came to mind was Kris Kristofferson; the other factors that weren't typical of country and western performers were being Jewish and being upper middle-class;
  • Kinky Friedman had his Bar-mitzvah in Huston;
  • The only thing cowboys and Jews have in common is that both wear their hats indoors;
  • Friedman Is the oldest living Jew in Texas who doesn't own real estate;
  • He ran in Kerrville for justice of the peace and came second. The guy who came third had hacked his collie to death just before the election;
  • Writing a novel is much easier than writing a country music song;
  • All major characters signed releases and if they don't like what Kinky writes about them they can take it up with his lawyer, Sonny Corleone;
  • Elvis, Jesus and Coca-Cola was written in an unhappy time in Kinky Friedman's life and is better for that reason;
  • His friend, Don Imus gave the story to Simon and Schuster;
  • When you have a name like Kinky Friedman – you may as well run with it;
  • His actual name is Richard Kinky 'Big Dick' Friedman;
  • Borneo is what the world should be. They have an amazing New Year's parade where there is a candle procession and no sound; their word for 'fishing' means 'visiting the fish';
  • Kinky Got a tattoo in Borneo;
  • Joseph Heller thought "They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore" was an important song;
  • Molly Ivins said his work spread more joy than Ross Perot's ears;
  • There are uncanny parallels between Kinky Friedman and Jesus: They're both Jewish. Both didn't marry, both never had a home to speak of, neither held down a job, both travelled round the countryside irritating people;
  • Friedman didn't realise he was a writer until he was 42;
  • The British tour has been a success – the people love cowboys and they don't even mind Jews too much;
  • a lot of modern country and western is decaffeinated country music – and has no emotional heritage

In Spring 2005 Kinky Friedman announced that he would stand for Governor of Texas in 2006.

Kinky Friedman's policies include abolishing political correctness in the Texas Legislature, appointing Willie Nelson as head of the Texas Rangers, building a fence along the border with Mexico and appointing his Palestinian hairstylist, Farouk Shami, as Texan ambassador to Israel.

In November 2006, with the votes in, it emerged that Kinky's campaign for Governor had failed.

Kinky Friedman died on 27 June 2024.


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