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Kinky comes ?to town; Texas troubador has enjoyed a long career by thumbing his nose at political correctness

Kinky Friedman revels in his reputation ?as a Texas tornado.

His band, with in-your-face ethnic humor, ?is called the Texas Jewboys, and he is proud of being the first Jew to dominate the stage of the Grand Ol' Opry. On his last visit to Buffalo, he ?was famously run off the stage by angry feminists after he and his band launched into "Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in the Bed." That was almost 30 years ago. He has not been back since.

Yet not just anyone can run for governor in Texas ?and win 12.6 percent of the vote, as Friedman did in 2006. So perhaps it is not surprising that the Kinkster, he got the nickname in college because of his cirly hair, remains, under it all, a Texas gentleman. (Although an interview for ArtVoice, conducted by a male reporter, is full of cuss words; speaking with me, a woman, Friedman keeps it clean.)

He even dwells willingly on his gentler side.

Smilingly, he promises treats at his gig Wednesday in Buffalo. "Anyone who comes to the Sportsmen's Tavern, I think we'll have samples of ‘Man in Black' Tequila. The best Mexican mouthwash," he laughs.

He also talks enthusiastically in his suave cowboy baritone about Utopia Rescue Ranch, a pet project of his. Located on a sprawling ranch owned by his father, a psychologist, it takes in thousands of stray cats and dogs a year. Chickens and pigs, too, he says. And, once, a camel.

"A camel?"

"He was coming from West Texas. His name was Louie," Kinky explains. "Some circus had let him go. He found a very nice home. He's not with us. That's too bad.

"We always say, money will buy you a fine dog, but only love can make it wag its tail."

>Calling Cracker Barrel

Friedman is on the road, in the middle of his Bi-Polar Tour. Catching up with him in the Ohio area is difficult.

First a publicist, another man with a deep Texas twang, says, "He's at a Cracker Barrel. Why don't you call him on his cell and try your luck?"

When that luck does not pan out, another message comes through: "Kinky is ready to talk any time this afternoon. He knows who you are and he is expecting your call."

Kinky Friedman knows who you are! That notion has a singular glamour.

Kenny Biringer, who books the bands for the Sportsmen's Tavern, admits he was initially surprised when he got the call from one of Kinky's reps, saying the Texas troubadour was interested in playing there.

Biringer said yes immediately, delighting in the coup. It made sense, he decided. "His agent's in Austin. A lot of people in Austin know who we are," he says. "Those guys talk to each other, those musicians and agents."

Friedman does not tour all that often. He has been busy throughout the last decade with various projects, which have included helping Billy Bob Thornton with his memoirs ("It's a thinking man's book," he says) and penning a string of popular detective novels.

His Bi-Polar Tour is an intense, monthlong foray through New England and nearby Canada, including Toronto and Quebec. Twenty-one gigs are crammed in between June 6 and July 1.

Nowhere, though, does Friedman face the dramatic memories he will encounter in Buffalo.

The long-ago UB incident was infamous enough to have been written about in the New York Times. It's fun to hear Kinky tell the story, even though he tells it the same way every time, with just a few variations.

"That was 1973 at the University of Buffalo," he confirms. "And the Texas Jewboys were singing this song. It was a pretty harmless little ditty," he adds sweetly. "And we were attacked by, the only way to describe them was, a group of cranked-up lesbians. The lesbians were fighting with the Jewboys on stage, wrecking our equipment, and they were winning. And the cops were called in. They gave us a police escort off campus.

"Later that year, I received the National Organization for Women's Male Chauvinist Pig Award. It's an award I'm still proud of."

>‘No new songs'

"At 68, Friedman could not be said to be mellowing.

If he is becoming more mainstream, it is not his fault.

Liz Smith, the syndicated gossip columnist, wrote not long ago: "One of my favorite people is Kinky Friedman."

Friedman hopes that, at long last, his songs are becoming more accepted. That could be a sign that people are agreeing on what a danger political correctness has become for free speech.

"We've reached the political correctness threshold right now. We're there," he says. "The first person I heard warn against political correctness was Barbara Jordan, a Texas girl, the first black congressperson from the South. She had moral clarity. She knew political correctness was going to do us in. She said it would drown America."

The P.C. wave, he believes, has had a stifling effect on the entertainment industry.

"If a young Richard Pryor walked in, he couldn't be a mainstream success now. Not to mention George Carlin, Lenny Bruce or Mel Brooks," Friedman says. "You and I could have hundreds of millions of dollars. We could have a script for ‘Blazing Saddles,' and we couldn't get it made."

Friedman, with his fearlessness, can be coaxed into political philosophizing.

"I don't see a Churchill, or a man like FDR or Reagan who can inspire people," he says.

He tries to do his own bit by pushing the envelope with his songs – such as the little ditty about the biscuits and the buns.

"The song goes down very well," he says. "As does the song ‘They Ain't Making Jews Like Jesus Anymore.' I'm the only white man using the ‘N' word in the song, along with other racial slurs," he adds happily. "It's become kind of an anthem against political correctness."

At the Sportsmen's, Friedman plans to serve up all the old favorites.

"No new songs. They're set," he says. "Most of the audience was not born when these songs were written, or they are younger than the songs, and we're getting a nice, eccentric, electric mix. Political types, musical types. We're getting great crowds. That's a privilege, for years without hit songs, without record company support."

He grows reflective.

"One of the most beautiful things about being a musician is you can sail as close to the truth as possible without sinking the ship," he says.

"Even those feminists in Buffalo, I reached them. I hadn't lost my charm there. I really infuriated them. Yet they weren't attacking Barry Manilow. That's a great thing. You never know who you're going to reach in a crowd like that."

email: mkunz@buffnews.com

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Kinky Friedman

Rating:Texas singer

7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Sportsmen's Tavern, ?326 Amherst St. Tickets are $35; call 874-7734.