Various Artists
Impossible But True: The Kim Fowley Story

Ace Records

uck me, I hate the 60s. It was shit, the entire lot of it. Especially the American 60s. At least in Britain they had the sense to run down to the seaside and kick the shit out of Eddie Cochran fans. What did they do in the US during this time? “Oh, half our generation has been sent to war, and are currently being shot in the ass by a load of 12 year olds… let’s sit in a field and take a load of drugs!”. Fucking useless. Toss in to that 60s culpability for leather jacketed shaggy haired garage rock, and Down With Love, and you can pretty much file the whole decade under “Go away before I punch you”.

As for music… everyone lost their chance in the 60s when Dean Martin knocked the Beatles off of number one. That was a victory. If everyone had kept on that path, the musical outlay of the 60s would have been a lot happier place. And this would have been a lot better album.

Kim Fowley is a “scenester”. I don’t know what that means, I think it’s something to do with Vice magazine. He’s a tall guy what put together a bunch of none more 60s named bands (The Seeds, The Pharoahs, Gary “Alley-Oop” Paxton and the Hollywood Argyles) who managed to accumulate moderate fame, then went on to discover burka-stomping dyke popstress Joan Jett, and now probably sits in the corner of a pub talking to uninterested 17 year olds about how “I invented punk/grunge/Eurobeat”.

Calling your album Impossible But True automatically puts you in the “poon” side of humanity, but the guy actually managed to put stuff together here, despite everything coming across as the music made by minor characters in Thomas Pynchon novels. What’s good? Well, “Satan’s Holiday” by The Lancasters is about fifteen minutes from ironic rediscovery by gangster film directors. Deservedly. Does surf-guitar/beatpop recycling of that piece of classical music that’s really important but only referred to as “The Alton Towers music” sound like a good idea to you? To me, it sounds like a perfect idea. Pete Waterman didn’t get round to trying out this schitck, basing Sinitta songs on Wagner or Stockhausen samples or whatever, for another twenty years!

What else… everyone in the 60s was stupid (John-John over Tricky Dicky? What the fuck?) so blatant copying of popular bands of the day’s sounds was actively encouraged (put your own joke about whoever’s in the top 40 this week here, I can’t be bothered). Fowley’s own “The Trip” manages to ape “On Her Majesty’s Satanic Service” with no noticeable problems, Spider go all 65 Dylan on us with “The Comedown Song” (let’s sit in a field and take loads of drugs!), some bits are art-pop, some bits sound like “Mr Sandman”, some bits are just Kim Fowley waving his dick in our face and going “Look at me! I’m nary ten years away from revolutionising rock and roll by discovering Joan Jett”. Not pleasant.

But it does give you some sort of desire for, if not regression, retro-gression. I’m not going to go “Guy who wrote for the NME in 1984 writing for a broadsheet arts section” on you and mither on about pop music nowadays, because it’s as good and bad as it’s ever been. But, really, Simon Cowell is no more than a musical equivalent of that dude in the mask on Secrets of Magic Revealed (yes, we know how the trick is done. We just don’t care). Fowley hit the target more times than he missed, and that’s the best you can hope for from something like this. If only they’d have stuck with Dino over the Beatles, perhaps this could have all been avoided…

Reviewed by: Dom Passantino

Reviewed on: 2003-10-17

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