Media and Reviews
"Kinky Friedman's wit, intelligence, and anarchic view of life are abundant in this hilarious, inspiring, and surprisingly moving biography. Texas can boast of a world-class, multi-talented citizen in Kinky." — Dan Aykroyd
“If unearthing Kinky’s legendary lost demo tapes was all Mary Lou Sullivan did she would be hailed as a hero. But she spent years among the outlaws, reprobates, and deviants that Kinky is proud to call his friends—culling the decidedly raw data to amass this biography of a Jewish rebel in the great tradition of Marx, Freud, and Jesus, as Kinky so often immodestly reminds us. Pour yourself a Jameson, light up a stogie, and bathe in the total Kinky experience. You’ll never be the same again.”
—Larry "Ratso" Sloman, NY Times best-selling author, “Dr. Watson” in Kinky's mystery novels
“Mary Lou Sullivan captures the hilarity, the craziness, and, yes, the genius of Texas’s most intriguing black-suit wearing, cigar-chomping Jewish singer-songwriter, author, raconteur, would-be governor, and dog-rescuer. Her storytelling takes me back to the days as Kinky’s editor when he would call me every morning at 9:15—every single morning—to ask whether I was going to let ‘the lawyers and bean-counters tell us what we could publish.'"
—Brian D. Sweany, former editor-in-chief, Texas Monthly
“Mary Lou Sullivan’s biography of Kinky Friedman is the New Bible—only in this one the Jewish hero lives for our sins.”
—Michael Simmons, MOJO, Huffington Post
Kinky Friedman on the Night Bob Dylan, Jack Nicholson Crashed His Wild House Party- New book 'Everything's Bigger in Texas' details Renaissance man's drug-fueled adventures with musical and Hollywood A-listers - Rolling Stone
Kinky Friedman has performed with Bob Dylan, traveled with Led Zeppelin and partied with John Belushi. When his cocaine habit nearly killed him, he returned to Texas and wrote 30 books, including 18 detective novels and memoirs featuring Willie Nelson and Billy Bob Thornton. More than 547,000 Texans voted for him when he ran for governor in 2006, and bosom buddies Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffet and Lyle Lovett helped with his fundraisers.
In her new book, Everything's Bigger in Texas: The Life and Times of Kinky Friedman, biographer Mary Lou Sullivan provides an intimate look at Richard "Kinky" Friedman culled from hours of candid, in-depth interviews with the Kinkster, his friends and his associates – revealing the man behind the legend.
In this exclusive excerpt, we find Friedman and several hundred guests at a star-studded Sunset Boulevard shindig. With a guest list ranging from Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell to Jack Nicholson, Elliot Gould and Dennis Quaid, Kinky’s recollection of this night frames it best. Simply put, “it was a cool fucking party.”
Imus in the Morning
"I have the book and I like it . . . all the anecdotes are accurate. I don't like to hear about me being drunk on the floor of a recording studio, but that's what I was."
Texas Legend - Foreword Reviews
"Kinky Friedman is something of a Texas legend. The satirist has, at various times, made his name as a singer-songwriter, a mystery author, an essayist, a columnist, an animal-rescue crusader, and a political candidate. Mary Lou Sullivan’s biography of the Kinkster, Everything’s Bigger in Texas, thoroughly captures the Jewish cowboy’s many careers and tells a story packed with interviews and anecdotes.
"Friedman is a master raconteur, always ready with a funny quip, and Sullivan’s book reflects that. But she also gets him to open up to a surprising degree, making this his definitive biography. . . . Along with Friedman’s own recollections, Sullivan includes those of his friends, family, and bandmates, really fleshing out these memories . . .
"The book doesn’t shy away from the darker times either, whether they be an era of heavy cocaine use that cost Friedman several close friends, or the career struggles of music-industry executives who did not get Friedman’s humor. As his myriad careers demonstrate, Kinky Friedman is the sum of many unique and interesting parts, and Sullivan assembles them beautifully."
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Coming to Terms with Kinky - Dallas Morning News
The word he uses is jarring: failure. Richard "Kinky" Friedman -- notorious provocateur and master of the turn of phrase -- isn't joking when he talks about his legacy, or at least how he perceives it. He's a failed musician, he says. Even worse as a politician.
Up to this point, our recent phone conversation has been jovial. He regales me with witticisms and rakish wordplay. And, though I'd heard many of his one-liners before in other interviews, onstage, and in his books, they are no less enjoyable when they are recited just for me. But when we get to "failure," I'm stung.
When he says "failure," it's as if he doesn't see the floods of refracted light streaming through the haze of his hallmark cigar smoke . . . That light is shed most clearly in Mary Lou Sullivan's just-released authorized biography, Everything's Bigger in Texas: The Life and Times of Kinky Friedman.
Kinky Friedman biography to have a Houston release concert - Houston Chronicle
"Kinky Friedman is a man rarely short on words, whether about himself or the world. But sometimes even a garrulous self-made myth like Friedman does well to step aside in the telling of his story. Which is what he's done in authorizing Mary Lou Sullivan to tell his story in 'Everything's Bigger in Texas: The Life and Times of Kinky Friedman.'
"Sullivan has already proven capable of writing about iconic musical Texans with her Johnny Winter bio "Raisin' Cain." That said, Friedman's long, weird career as a singer-songwriter, crime novelist, gubernatorial candidate, pet rescue advocate, cigar enthusiast, etc., perhaps represents a more slippery fish than Winter to capture on the page. She delves back into Friedman's early youth in Chicago and his childhood spent as a chess prodigy and swimming instructor. She follows him through the Peace Corps in Borneo and his time as the leader of the band the Texas Jewboys.
Book Review - Bentley's Bandstand
"Mary Lou Sullivan's insightful and inspiring biography of Friedman captures it all, from growing up the son of a college professor through the '70s music highlights, through the New York years, detective novels and, yes, the increasing craziness of Kinky Friedman himself until he returned to the Texas hill country and started an animal shelter. At the core, though, the man is crazy like a fox and knew exactly what he was doing. Which, in the end, was making a living the best he could. While he lost his campaign for Texas governor, a political possibility might not be out of the question quite yet, as the present landscape clearly proves. Ask the President."
Kinky Friedman Talks New Biography and Recipe for a Long Life: 'Be More of an Asshole' - Dallas Observer
"I think she (Sullivan) did a really good job because you get a taste of the music business too and of the road. And a lot of the celebrity shit - what it's like to be in a band that's barely getting by, just trying to make it. Then there's the drugs."
The Strange Life of Kinky Friedman - Houston Chronicle
"Friedman can tell these sorts of stories (about Mike Bloomfield, Eric Clapton, and Merle Haggard) for hours. But Sullivan found a few cracks that let a different side of Richard Samet Friedman show. Particularly with regard to his parents: Tom, an Air Force pilot who flew dozens of missions over Germany, who studied psychology upon his return from the war; and Minnie, who taught Shakespeare and loved the stage.
"They're almost like the Greek chorus of Sullivan's book, appearing and reappearing with words of encouragement and advice. For all of Friedman's bluster, when he talks about his parents - in the book or conversation - the quips cease.
"My parents were my two best friends, he says. "If you grow up like that, it really devastates you when you lose them. They were my heroes."
Kinky chats with Adam about the art of being a humorist and the "Everything's Bigger in Texas" book tour.
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