Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Kim Fowley—
Outrageous


Released 1968 on Imperial
The Seth Man, May 2000ce
“Power, violence, noise, numbers, animalism, vulgarity and pure madness” are the solutions to today’s (well, 1968’s) problems, states Kim Fowley in the liners, along with: “Let’s get out of our minds to get back in.” Whoa. And within mere seconds of side one, he’s already scared off 99% of everyone who ever heard this record. The mayhem begins with “Animal Man,” musically akin to Steppenwolf covering The Music Machine’s “Talk Talk.” Which figures: as Mars Bonfire guests on the album along with (unbelievably enough) three members of Three Dog Night. And over the whole bubblegum/garage whack out is Kim Fowley’s barking vocals, changing tempo and inflection as he raps, flaps his arms, moans, pants, laughs and generally cavorts in front of the microphone like a lunatic. Here is his first of many vocal transmissions, repeated verbatim:

“I’m ugly...Hahaha...
dirty, filthy, sneaky, horrible...uughhhh!
I’m gonna kill you...
Are you straight? Well, I’m Animal Man! WHOA!
Yeaaugh! I’m a hounddogasavage...awudda wudda...tiger!
I’m the devil (burp)...!
I’m vulgar...!
I’m a pig...oink, oink! Haha...
I’m love addict...public enemy number one!
I’m gonna butcher all the girls in my loving room floor...”

Then a woman coos “Oh, Animal Man, you’re SO rough and SO big” which, of course, sets Fowley off into panting up a storm that fogs up the studio control room glass, quickly adding: “Oh, it’s too dirty, it’ll be banned...Ha ha...oh, Gawd...”

The cover shows a completely different Fowley: hair long but neatly combed over, all teen appeal with backing East German disco lighting. But it’s the back cover which shows the truer, dark side of “Outrageous”: Fowley’s wearing black leather, black turtleneck black gloves (WHY) and maniacal grimace, his hands tied together with a chain at the bottom of a drained pool up to his ankles in stagnant water. And the gatefold shows him cowering under a topless girl brandishing the chain in the same pool. Huh? Kim Fowley always seems to leave you with far too many unanswered questions. Like: Does he care? Does he WANT people to like his music? Or is he telling a big enough lie so that everyone -- Kim included -- gets deluded into believing it? And does he even exist?!! Listening to this album is like chain-smoking ciggies of insanity: one after another after another until it’s really starts to zap your head and you start to wonder why you ever put it on in the first place. But it’s so full of unbridled maniacal energy it’s hard to dismiss. Some of it’s downright hilarious, like “Chinese Water Torture”. All ringing feedback and drum fills over Kim’s fake Sino-babble, then when it stops, Kim informs the studio: “I think the police have arrived...well, don’t just stand there stoned!” Over the silence he then adds: “Hey: We’re all dead.” The sessionmen must have freaked and bolted the studio behind his back! “Nightrider” is a raving rock out with Fowley barking, panting, choking, spitting, puking, whoa whoa-ing, larynx-strangling all gnarled and psychotic as hell. “Bubble Gum” shows off the only gentle side on “Outrageous” with Kinks-inflected vocals over hard rock and Hammond organ. But the rest of the album journeys further into twisted realms of L.A.-L.S.D.-LA LA land with the nightmarish “Inner Space Discovery”, a feedback and cymbal freakout that marks the beginning of Fowley’s abuse of the studio’s echo chamber starts to get as out of hand on side two’s crossfaded epic, “Up” / “Caught In The Middle” / “Down” as Fowley himself. He really outdoes himself with all the echo, which makes his insane vocal perambulations even crazier. It’s a long and battering bad trip to the last song, “California Hayride” where Fowley’s now left all alone in the studio. But it’s hardly an a cappella moment as he’s now YELLING and chanting his catch phrase of the moment, “We’re rough! We’re tough! We’ve had enough!!!” through echo that processes it into a single distorted signal that has the microphone feeding back at the end as wave upon wave ripples out...Kim Fowley: a fourth dimensional underground animal.