"Going from musician to politician is definitely a step down," says Kinky Friedman, who announced his Texas gubernatorial candidacy Tuesday morning. "But I'll take it for Texas.
Of course, it's a step that Friedman, author of numerous mystery novels and songs such as "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Any More" and "The Ballad of Charles Whitman," took once before in 2006, when he got about 13 percent of the popular vote as an independent. Running as a Democrat this time, Friedman is a master of the sound bite but hadn't even come up with a campaign slogan until he was leaving the Houston Press offices last week.
"Smart president, smart governor — how about that?"
Chatter: Why do it again?
Kinky Friedman: That's a really good question. You'd have to ask a few psychiatrists for the answer to that one. I think you do something until you get it right. I think I shouldn't have run as an independent, in retrospect. No independent's ever won in Texas except for Sam Houston. I've always been a Democrat, my heroes have always been Democrats and it just made sense. A lot of the things that I stood for in my last campaign are still true. George Washington wasn't wrong — there's still a lot of flaws in the two-party system. But that's what we have.
C: Other than running as a Democrat this time, do you plan to run your campaign differently than last time?
KF: Yeah. I think it'll be leaner and meaner, and it'll have more ideas. I think one of the big faults of the Democratic Party, why we've had this huge chain of losses here in Texas, why the last man-of-the-people Texas governor wasn't even a man — it was Ann Richards — is because the insiders, the establishment of the Democratic Party, have run candidates not on ideas but on demographics.
They believe in demographics, and to hell with ideas. And of course Rick Perry and Kay Bailey [Hutchison] are fresh out of ideas.
C: Since you last ran, Galveston was of course devastated by Hurricane Ike. Do you still support legalizing gambling on the Island?
KF: Absolutely. If Galveston wants it, and I believe Galveston does want it, I believe it would save Galveston. Corpus might want it. It's up to them. If Baytown or Beaumont wants it — whoever. If San Angelo doesn't want it, they don't have to have it, but the amount of money that can be made is huge for the state. There's no question about it.
C: Should you win, do you still plan to appoint Willie Nelson to your cabinet?
KF: That's up to Willie. We may have to drug-test some of these people before we put 'em on the ballot. I guess that would be an appointment. Whatever Willie wants to do for Texas would be great. He is the hillbilly Dalai Lama.
C: Should Kay Bailey upset Perry in the primaries, would that change anything for you?
KF: Not a thing. That's the clash of the plastic titans. That's the battle of the cheerleaders over there.
Read the entire interview on our Rocks Off music blog (blogs.houstonpress.com/rocks); select "Inquiring Minds" on the scroll-down category menu.
Several area gospel choirs will compete in the Houston round of the "Best Church Choir in America" search next Saturday at Toyota Center. Local finalists in the "Few Voices" category are Christ Church Chorale, UPC; The Levites, Greater Emmanuel Apostolic Church; Voices of JOY, JOY Baptist Tabernacle Church; and Word of Power International Fellowship Church Choir. Competing in the "Many Voices" category are Voices of Faith, St. Agnes Church; Resurrection Baptist Church Mass Choir; Royalwood Sanctuary Choir, United Pentecostal Church, Inc.; and the Greater St. Matthew Church Choir. The winners get cash awards and the right to represent Houston in the national finals. See more information at www.howsweetthesound.com or www.toyotacentertix.com.
1846 Richmond, 713-666-5555
1. Reigning Sound, Love & Curses (LP/CD)
2. Burzum, Lost Wisdom (CD)
3. Carcass, Demos 1986-1987 (LP)
4. Various Artists, Live to Ride (LP)
5. Asphyx, Death the Brutal Way (CD)
6. Nurse With Wound, Surveillance Lounge (CD)
7. Suffocation, Blood Oath (CD)
8. Six Organs of Admittance, Luminous Night (LP/CD)
9. Jandek, Six and Six (LP)
10. Wolf Eyes, Always Wrong (LP)
Howlin' the Blues
KPFT (90.1 FM), Sundays 2-4 p.m. www.kpft.org
Selections from the Blues Hound and Colleen's August 30 playlist
1. Johnny Rawls, "Ace of Spades"
2. Delbert McClinton, "Do It"
3. Blind Boys of Alabama, "Presence of the Lord"
4. Ann Kerstetter, "Messin' Down In Texas"
5. Little Rachel, "It's Not Me"
6. Kenny Neal, "Let Life Flow"
7. Monkey Junk, "Give Me Time"
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8. Jonny Lang, "One Person At a Time"
9. Duke & the Drivers, "Automobile"
10. Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, "Hippology"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)