Lord of Garbage: By Kim Fowley, 146 pgs. By Sal Lucci

May 17, 2013

I don’t really know anything about Kim Fowley. I’ve heard plenty about him (wrote some wacky songs, was mean to The Runaways or something), but all this is like thirteenth-hand info from magazine articles, interviews, and the Rodney Bingenheimer documentary that Fowley inserts himself into. Here we have Fowley’s autobiography, the first book in a promised trilogy, published by Norton Records imprint Kicks Books. The writing strikes me as a combination of James Ellroy, Charles Bukowski, and Billy Childish. Ellroy for the self-promoting megalomania, Bukowski for the “woe is me, I had a rough childhood,” and Childish for the really whiny “woe is me”-ness. I love Childish’s music, but his writing… not so much. Don’t expect straight autobiography or even hard facts. Fowley’s irreverent style inserts personality into every sentence, and I get the sense that if he has to exaggerate a story to make it better, so be it. My opinion of the book sways between “oh this is cool rock’n’roll nostalgia from a fringe player” to “who cares about some overblown pop groups that were ‘invented’ instead of coming together organically?” Right now, I’m feeling like it was a quick, fun read, but would have benefitted from more structure and chronology. I’ll at least read the second installment. –Sal Lucci (Kicks Books, PO Box 646, Cooper Station, NY, NY 10276)