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Kim Fowley’s Advice For New Zealand Musicians: Live Local and Think Global.

Kim Fowley is a legend. Among his many accomplishments are discovering the Modern Lovers, managing Joan Jetts’ 1st band the Runways and writing songs for everybody. His own albums ,particularly Outrageous! and Son of Frankenstein, are masterpieces of underground rock. I rang him ostensibly to talk about the Runaways but Kim declined this topic and decided he wanted to talk about “what’s wrong with New Zealand bands”. I thought “Sounds good” This is what he had to say.

“New Zealand needs to live local and think global. The musical community needn’t become a traveling circus rushing off to Australia, United States of America otherwise known as the USA, the UK or any other EU destination. Live local. Think global.
The last thing you want to do is become the Pascal lamb of the travel industry and fly into some exotic place with 20 dollars in your pocket and a sad story and a clipping from Real Groove Magazine that says you’re great. That’s not going to mean anything so don’t go that far.
Try to do it from down there. Make noises and send the noises or the pictures or the noises and the pictures to the other side of the planet from New Zealand and we will either like it or dislike it or we will understand it or we will ignore it but we will respond to it in some way. At least we’ll hear it. What if it’s awful? Save the trip. What if it’s wonderful? Then someone overseas will somehow release it and if the public around the world likes what they’re hearing they’ll invite you to come entertain them and you will be paid top billing. Nobody wants to do a self funded tour of anywhere. And that’s gonna happen if you show up saying your big in New Zealand. They will say “so what?”

Make it big at home but better yet if everyone at home hates you study the overseas market and learn how to use courier mail learn how to use sound files or learn how to use snail mail or sea mail. Put in a bottle – in a manuscript – send it out. There have been people in the histories of rock and roll or pop music who weren’t big in their country of origin but other countries picked it up. Dancing In The Moonlight was a record that was made in an attic in Paris. It was #1 in the world everywhere but France. I can’t remember the name of the band but it was done in a French attic. Everybody but the French liked it – they probably still don’t….

You could stay in your bedroom until people send for you but in the meantime you can sit there and dream and plot and then if you have recording equipment you and your friends can make noise or you can go to a studio locally prepare and remember Douglas McArthur – who dropped the bomb on Japan and won the war – he said preparedness is the keynote to victory. He also introduced baseball to the Japanese and they have good baseball players who play in the American major leagues it’s the national sport of Japan now. Well why don’t you prepare? Why don’t you say… (This is a hypothetical New Zealand band or artists, composer or whatever, a producer) “I can do this. I have proof of doing this in a recording. My recording is unique. My sound is unique. My songs are unique. I am unique. Everything is unique about it, yet it’s familiar, yet it’s different. The world doesn’t have this at the moment but the world needs it.” You need to study the world. How do you study the world? Well the 1st thing you do is you go on Myspace or you go to youtube. You have that in NZ don’t you? Well spend time and makes friends, penpals, get other versions of you, find versions of you, find people who hate you, find people like you, find other people struggling. A pattern will emerge. Perhaps you’ll have friends, you’ll exchange music, information. Some of them may want to come to New Zealand. Some of you may want to go to their town. Begin hooking up other people with the same age or the same interest or the same music culture as you’re aspiring to and, all of a sudden, it will become clearer what’s going on.
I live on the edge of the Californian desert. I am an ugly old man. I am not Brad Pitt. I am not Tom Cruise. I am not even nice. So what am I doing about my career? What do they think of me in my town? They think I’m a crippled old man that’s unattractive. They do not even talk to me here because I am a crippled old ugly man in an ugly house. However if you look at http://www.kimfowley.com you follow my links to therealkimfowley Jukebox California or to the other item I’m doing promotional video producing and directing Video Jam Entertainment and then you follow the link to my radio show that I do from the desert – Sirius Satellite Radio Underground Garage – you’ll find I have 4 million listeners from my little town. How come? I record it here. I go down to UPS and every Monday I mail it off and on weekends 4 million people get to hear me.

You can send me anything good at Kim Fowley, 700-u East Redlands blvd,
pmb352 Redlands Cam 92373 USA. Send it before October 20th because after that I will be in Spain.”

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