Cult fave Kim Fowley teams up with local rockers on 'Detroit Invasion'

Who's Kim Fowley? This man can not only claim to having invented that tradition of people holding lighters in the air at concerts, but he did it for a guy named John Lennon in Toronto at some giant festival he helped organize in 1969. Fowley discovered and produced the Runaways in the 1970s, wrote a slew of novelty hits in the 1960s, worked closely with Helen Reddy and KISS, and made dozens of messy and obscure solo records that complicated people will tell you are genius things. He's also recorded with, written songs for, and worked on records by Warren Zevon, the Byrds, Soft Machine, Cat Stevens, Alice Cooper, and Gene Vincent. Dude has even been in a Beyoncé video. For many people, his work has always been too trashy to be art and too artsy to be true trash.

But there are some folks who love cultural margin-walkers, and two of those people are here in Detroit — and they are the ones who got this record together (as well as its 1997 predecessor Michigan Babylon). Outrageous Cherry founder Matthew Smith and Destroy All Monsters founder Cary Loren are both longtime fans of Fowley, while Smith's been close friends with him for decades. Simply releasing this wooly thing is a labor of love. It's a live record and it's a little bit rough, but it's also charming in its own psychedelic way. The LP was recorded almost three years ago in Hamtramck at the Polish National Alliance Hall, actually for Metro Times' own Blowout, back when the festival only took place in bars and venues around Hamtramck. Many ideas are proffered at the same time, with Fowley delivering a West Coast patter not too dissimilar from Beatnik, but philosophically closer to Rat Fink than Kerouac.

You can pick up a copy locally at Cary Loren's Book Beat.

Mike McGonigal

Metro Times music editor Mike McGonigal has written about music since 1984, when he started the fanzine Chemical Imbalance at age sixteen with money saved from mowing lawns in Florida. He's since written for Spin, Pitchfork, the Village VOICE and Artforum. He's been a museum guard, a financial reporter, a bicycle...
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