Kinky Friedman brings Bi-Polar tour to Tulsa at Jazz Depot on Monday
BY JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Sunday, December 02, 2012
12/02/12 at 4:22 AM
More Kinky Friedman: Official Kinky Friedman website.
Hear Mojo Nixon’s tribute, “Kinky is Everywhere.”
Singer-songwriter, novelist, politician, humorist and all-around all-American "Texas Jewboy" Kinky Friedman returns Monday for the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame holiday show at the Jazz Depot.
Depending on the decade in which they were born, fans might best know Friedman as a best-selling whodunit author; a musician, with his band the Texas Jewboys; or a politician.
His last ride through Tulsa, almost exactly a year ago, sold out.
"Sold out are my two favorite words," he said. And not in a way most musicians or authors or politicians would typically use the words when referencing a mealy-mouthed, yellah-bellied dollar-grabber.
Most of all, though, Friedman's always been a storyteller.
His latest project is a partnership with Willie Nelson, "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings from the Road," a best-selling book released in November. Friedman wrote the foreword. "I actually went to Willie with the idea. ... I've written enough that wasn't printed that I actually have another Willie book in my quiver."
Now launching the second leg of his popular Bi-Polar tour, he said many of his first leg stops sold out, too. It also spawned a live album, "Live From Woodstock." It, like his new book, will be on sale at the event. Hang around long enough after the show and he'll likely autograph it, too.
"I'll sign anything but bad legislation," he said, repeating one of his own popular catch phrases.
Speaking of politics, he'll be speaking on politics, too, on his Monday visit, he said. With support from Willie Nelson and Ray Price, Friedman is considering another run for Texas governor.
"I think I'll run as a Democrat - an old-school, Yellow-Dog-Choked-Blue, Harry Truman Democrat," he said. His last run was in 2006, and he lost to Rick Perry. (Friedman's campaign slogan: "Why the Hell Not?")
"I won every state but Texas," he joked. After listing a roster of musicians that inspire him - Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Levon Helm, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard, Frank Zappa and even caustic comedian Lenny Bruce - he added, "I can't think of a single politician today that inspires me."
"Those other guys, they're geezers. They're folk heroes, not celebrities and not politicians. Like the advice Willie once gave me, 'If there is no solution, there is no problem.' ... They wanted to create things that lasted. That's what I want to do."
Friedman will read from his book "Heroes of a Texas Childhood," and other selections, as well as chat politics and music. He'll play an acoustic set, too, he said.
He'll play tunes including "Ride 'Em Jewboy," "Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed," "A-hole from El Paso" and "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore." This time around, he'll also perform a song he learned as a boy but has never before played on tour.
"Ballad of Kevin Barry," often credited to musician Paul Robeson, is an Irish rebel song "that spoke to me, even as a 9-year-old Jewish boy," he said. "It's about the execution of a young Irish soldier," he said of the song about the shooting death of the tune's 18-year-old namesake in 1920, also a member of the Irish Republican Army.
The song has been popularized in more recent times by musician Leonard Cohen. It also featured prominently in Frank McCourt's 1996 memoir "Angela's Ashes" and its 1999 movie adaptation.
"There are more and more singer-songwriters these days, but fewer and fewer good ones," he said. "This song is a story about living and dying, and that's really what folk music is all about, anyway."
And though nothing he plays on this tour is "new," he says, "this isn't about nostalgia. ... My audiences aren't like Jimmy Buffett's. He's very successful and rich, but his audience is extremely narrow. On Monday, though, readers will cross paths with music fans and politics junkies. I never really know what's going to happen."
Sometimes what happens with his own work surprises even him. His popular novel "Kill Two Birds and Get Stoned," "about three merry pranksters who try to destroy a Starbucks," is getting a film treatment in Russia.
As Friedman closes in on 70, younger generations have picked up on his wit and wisdom, too. Jesse Dayton covered an entire album's worth of Friedman songs, "Jesse Sings Kinky." Dayton also is starring in a road production of "Becoming Kinky" by prize-winning playwright Ted Swindley ("Always ... Patsy Cline").
New Jersey singer-songwriter Brian Molnar will join Friedman on most of his Bi-Polar tour stops.
"People ask me 'Why Bi-Polar?' I'm doing 28 shows in 27 days, and by the fourth day I'm always running on pure adrenaline," he said.
The Tulsa stop will be day four, folks.
"Also, you know, as I sing about in 'The Ballad of Charles Whitman,' about the Texas Bell Tower shooter, doctors said he had a tumor or he was bipolar, and if he'd just been medicated the whole thing might not have happened," he said of the 1966 shooting rampage that killed 13 and wounded more than 30.
"Either everybody's a bipolar or nobody's bipolar," he said. "There's a little bit of Charlie in us all."
KINKY FRIEDMAN: THE BI-POLAR TOUR 2012
What: Benefit concert for the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Where: Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, Jazz Depot, 111 E. First St. (upstairs)
Tickets: All ages (parental guidance recommended). Tickets are $16, $30 and VIP (including pre-show reception with Friedman) $50, available online at tulsaworld.com/jazzhalltix, at the door and by calling Bettie Downing at 918-281-8609.
Original Print Headline: Kinky Friedman back in Tulsa
Jennifer Chancellor 918-581-8346
Kinky Friedman performs Monday at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of