Kim Fowley — “Animal Man”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — May 14, 2022

449) Kim Fowley — “Animal Man”

“Animal Man” is the opening track of Fowley’s outrageous ’68 album Outrageous. As to Fowley (see #89) and the album, Rob Fitzpatrick tells truth to puker:

LA-born legend Kim Fowley was already 30 when this album came out in 1969 and had lived about eight lifetimes’ worth of debauchery and insanity. . . . Fowley was brought up amongst the pimps, whores, mafia men and chorus girls that populated his opium-using dad’s world. . . . [As to Outrageous, t]he album sounds like Fowley himself was off his chump on weapons-grade pharmaceuticals – he rants, raves, seethes, spits, burps, curses, declaims, screams and hollers his way across a heavily psychedelic set of knuckle-scraping rock-outs that recall a post-lobotomy Doors attempting an MC5 b-side while piled in the back of a inexpertly driven truck. On ice. And drugs. On the moon. . . . Recorded in one single six hour session, Fowley improvised every snarling, proto-punk word. Generally sounding either on the point of orgasm or vomiting his guts up, there are few – if any – records that sound like Outrageous . . . .

As to “Animal Man” itself, Julian Cope weighs in:

[I]t wasn’t the music on OUTRAGEOUS which still leaves 21st Century listeners gasping. No no no, the genius of this 1968 album is all contained in the dizzyingly portentous and truly whacked-out vocal delivery which Fowley chooses to foist upon us. . . .

OUTRAGEOUS opens with the brief Gatlin gun drumming and lightweight Hendrix-ish psychedelia of “Animal Man”. . . . Cue verse three:

“I’m a love addict. . . Public enemy number one, I’m gonna butcher all the girls on my loving room floor.” A Suzy Creamcheese-type voice announces: “Oh animal man, you’re so rough and so . . . big.” Seven seconds of grunting (count ‘em) and Fowley comes like a 16-year-old. “It’s too dirty, it’ll be banned,” he chuckles, and that’s where you start liking the guy.

Fowley, larger than life. Where did he come from? As Jason Ankeny explains:

One of the most colorful characters in the annals of rock & roll, Kim Fowley was, over the course of his decades-long career, a true jack-of-all-trades: singer, songwriter, producer, manager, disc jockey, promoter, and published poet. He was also the catalyst behind much of the pop music to emerge from the Los Angeles area during the 1960s and ’70s, guiding several of his associates and protégés to fame and fortune, while remaining himself a shadowy cult figure . . . . Fowley found his first taste of success by producing the Top 20 hit “Cherry Pie” for schoolmates Gary S. Paxton and Skip Battin, who performed under the name Skip & Flip. With Battin, Fowley next created the group the Hollywood Argyles, who topped the charts in 1960 with the novelty smash “Alley Oop.” The duo subsequently masterminded Paul Revere & the Raiders’ first hit, “Like Long Hair,” and in 1962 helped launch the Rivingtons, scoring with the classic “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow.” Another novelty hit, B. Bumble & the Stingers’ “Nut Rocker,” reached number one in the U.K. . . . [I]n 1964[, he] . . . produced the girl group smash “Popsicles and Icicles” by the Murmaids. In the mid-’60s, Fowley became immersed in the Los Angeles counterculture, befriending Frank Zappa . . . and later appearing on . . . the[] Freak Out! LP. [He was a] prolific songwriter . . . . [and f]inally, in 1967 . . . issued his own solo debut, Love Is Alive and Well, a record that found him closely aligned with the flower power movement. (Fowley also claimed to have staged the first “love-in” in Los Angeles.) A series of solo records followed, including 1968’s suitably titled Outrageous . . . but none garnered the commercial success of so many of his other projects. . . . [In] 1975 . . . [he] returned to his Svengali role by assembling the notorious Runaways . . . .

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From ’68, listen to Kim explain the (Laurel) Canyon people to a gullible reporter:

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