The PJ Tatler

Kim Fowley, Notorious Runaways Producer, Dead at 75


“Kim Fowley is a necessary evil.”

That’s how the legendary producer described his role in the L.A. music scene, a career that spanned the latter half of the 20th century, and beyond.

Others, in this morning’s obituaries, are using words like “charismatic” and “eccentric,” which seem a bit euphemistic.

Pitchfork, predictably, is more blunt; their evergreen overview of Fowley’s “blatantly crass and unapologetically obnoxious career” calls him a  “rock’n’roll huckster extraordinaire” “who’s worked with everyone from the Modern Lovers, to the Runaways, to Ariel Pink across the last 50 years.”

Not surprisingly, almost every headline this morning ties Fowley’s life to the Runaways, the all-girl rock band (then as now, a novelty) he manufactured in the 1970s. Thanks to the 2010 movie about the band’s formation, it’s Fowley’s best known accomplishment.

Cherrie Curry, the band’s lead singer (before she was replaced by Joan Jett), went on to accuse Fowley of sexual and financial misconduct.

So I was surprised to learn this morning that she’d helped care for the cancer-stricken Fowley in his last days.

The last twist in a twisted life…

In late August, Currie, 54, moved her former manager into her Los Angeles-area home. Putting aside previous legal battles over royalties, harsh verbal trades in the press and residual ill will from her days with the band (the two reconciled in 2008 when news of Fowley’s condition reached Currie), she opened her home and heart.

“Kim’s fiancee, Kara Wright, called me to let me know about his health, and we agreed a change of environment was what he needed,” says Currie. “It’s draining, yes, but I’ll always step up. It’s who I am.”