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Kinky for President

Quirky Texas country star honors late friend

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SAD SONG With Laurie Schaeffer's passing, Friedman's show went from birthday party to tribute.
  • SAD SONG With Laurie Schaeffer's passing, Friedman's show went from birthday party to tribute.

'I'm doing everything but politics," says Kinky Friedman.

Speaking by phone from his ranch near San Antonio, the cigar-chomping, tequila-swigging, decidedly nonpolitically correct Jewish-cowboy country star is in the middle of a career renaissance. He is currently wrapping up his first studio album in over three decades, finishing up his latest detective novel and working on a top-secret television project that's still under development.

Friedman will bring some of his new material and shows off a slew of his classic songs when he comes to Sebastopol on May 8.

Still, even with all of these projects and his claim to not be running for any office, it's hard for Friedman to talk anything other than politics.

"I'm going deaf, which I like, because I don't have to hear all the bullshit of the world," says Friedman. "I'm just amazed at how lousy the quality of people running for office is. Truly, it is what George Carlin said, the illusion of choice out there politically."

Friedman has long been a politically active figure, especially in Texas, where he made a run for governor as an independent in 2006 with a pro–gay marriage and marijuana decriminalization platform. As a states' rights advocate, Friedman mourns the homogenization of American culture and political apathy.

"You don't see a person that truly inspires anywhere in office today," explains Friedman. "We have completely inverted what JFK said he wanted us to do. JFK wanted us all to get into politics, to get involved—it's what inspired me to join the Peace Corps. And what's happened today is just the opposite. You have a classless class of people in office today."

Creatively, Friedman credits his current resurgence with a recent tour he did through Europe. "In Germany, I feel like the thinking man's David Hasselhoff," Friedman jokes. "I was very inspired by the Germans. That may be the one place on Earth that truly understands me."

Sadly, Friedman's upcoming show in Sebastopol has recently taken a somber turn. It was originally planned as a birthday celebration for North Bay Live concert booker and promoter Laurie Schaeffer, but news came late Friday, April 24, that Schaeffer passed away unexpectedly after suffering organ failure.

Now, Friedman plans to pay tribute to his longtime friend, and the community is coming together to celebrate Schaeffer's life and remember the passionate, dedicated woman who brought so much great music to the North Bay for so many years.

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