Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages
Rock's Backpages

Riding Shotgun in Swinging London

Kim Fowley, Rock's Backpages, 1999

The arrival of The Beatles in 1964 convinced Kim Fowley that he had no immediate future as a freelance record producer in his native Los Angeles. Deciding the time was right to get a legitimate A&R job in the music biz, he went to see Karl Engermann at Capitol. Engemann turned him down flat: "You’re gonna disrupt the office. You’ll have Negroes and people with long hair in here. You’ll have surfers and rednecks in here, awful people smoking cigarettes and looking at secretaries’ body parts. You probably won’t come to work early and you’ll be in here writing songs late at night." Fowley decided it was time to take a sabatical: "That was the day I decided to go weird, because that was the day I realised I was a good boy: I didn’t smoke dope, I didn’t drink, I wasn’t gay, I wasn’t a thief, I wasn’t a piece or shit, and I didn’t swear in front of women. I was a nice guy and I tried to do the right thing and none of it meant a thing to the powers that be. So I thought, I can’t wait to be a freak. I’m wounded, I’m pissed, and I’m gonna grow my hair long. I’m going to become a fucking asshole!"

Total word count of piece: 3276