I attended the US Army Information School. I was a stringer for Pacific Stars and Stripes in Tokyo. I went to work for a Korean-language magazine published by the United Nations Command. I gained a lot of experience and knowledge writing feature stories for it, mostly about industrial growth in South Korea.
I first came to Nashville to stay for any length of time in
1972. I became Billy Joe Shaver's guitar player, and we
wrote a couple of songs together, one of which, Bottom
Dollar, has at this time been recorded a bunch of
times. It has become a standard country song, but
standards don't pay; hits pay, but not standards...Shaver and I remain friends, I think. Sometimes when he's up against it I still play guitar for him.
I was standing on a street corner one day, gazing up at
Billy Swan's apartment house when I heard a voice over my
right shoulder saying, "Do you think I ought to call myself
Rich Friedman, Kinky Friedman or Big Dick Friedman?" It
was, of course, Kinky. Now he uses all three on his answering machine at the ranch. We became friends, and
he ultimately coerced me into playing guitar on his first
album, "Sold American", and as player and co-writer on his second, "Kinky Friedman". Later, when I joined the Jewboys, I started using the Panama Red moniker, which I'd carried around in my hip pocket since my post-Army San Francisco days when I'd dealt a little pot.
After the Jewboys I toured the U.S. and Canada with my own bands for a couple of years to no real effect, and moved back to Miami to hang out at Criteria Studios, then a hive of disco activity. Unable to bear the cocaine, I ran away to New Mexico.
A long time went by. There was some writing -- not very memorable, and the editing of a physics textbook. I lived in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, San Francisco, and Seattle. While in Seattle, I recorded my first solo CD, "HomeGrown", which Kinky released on his label, Kinkajou.
I came back to Nashville in 2000, stayed a couple of
months, went to Amsterdam for nearly two years. I came back to the U.S. in December of 2001, made some friends in Muscle Shoals and made my second CD. "Choice Buds".
I've been playing and writing blogs ever since.
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