Friedman's father objected to the name of the band, calling it a "negative, hostile, peculiar thing", which gave Kinky even more reason to choose the name.Arriving on the wave of country rock following on from Gram Parsons, The Band, and the Eagles, Friedman originally found cult fame as a country and western singer.

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In February 2007, Sustain Records released a compilation of the songs of Kinky Friedman sung by other artists called Why the Hell Not...

The compilation includes contributions by Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, and Kelly Willis.

Friedman had an early interest in both pop music and chess, and was chosen at age seven as one of 50 local players to challenge U. grandmaster Samuel Reshevsky to simultaneous games in Houston.

Reshevsky won all 50 games, but Friedman was, by far, the youngest competitor.

He founded Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, also located near Kerrville, whose mission is to care for stray, abused and aging animals; more than 1,000 dogs have been saved from animal euthanasia.

Friedman formed his first band, King Arthur & the Carrots, while a student at the University of Texas at Austin.

Friedman also wrote a regular column for the magazine Texas Monthly from April 2001 to March 2005 which was suspended during his run for governor of Texas.

In 2008, Texas Monthly brought his column back on a bimonthly basis.

They are written in a straightforward style which owes a debt to Raymond Chandler.