In L.A. there are essentially three kinds of people who get attention. There are stars, there are scenesters and then there are characters — people who don’t look, act or think like anyone else. Jim Freek (his given birth name) is one of L.A.’s most beloved characters, not just in the everybody-knows-him/life-of-the-party kinda way, but also in the Saturday-morning cartoon sense, with features that should be animated, including a bear (huggable) body, an affinity for putting Brady-esque striped shirts on said bod (a signature style he wears “because I’m still hoping it’ll get me a date with Riff Randell”), a bubbly way of babbling and a bodacious writer’s wit. Back when he wrote the scene column “Freek Show” for New Times, he was never too jovial to rip shitty bands a new one or make fun of too-cool-for-school types in his Silver Lake neighborhood. Before the column, he had his own zine, Fruitbasket Upset, and weekly writeups under the “Night Fever” banner in the now-defunct music mag BAM.
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Six years ago, Freek quit the writer’s life to pursue his real dream, heading his own record label, Teenacide, with which he indulges his love of’60s and ’70s rock femmes and good-girls-gone-bad. “The late/great Greg Shaw once told me, ‘You can’t be a rock journalist and run a record label at the same time, because nobody will take you seriously,’” Freek says. Run out of his groovy Austin Powers–like Vermont Avenue pad, Teenacide has been spewing some of Southern California’s sassiest bubblegum and pissiest pop from the likes of the Shakes, the Holograms, Rocket and the Checkers.
Teenacide, Freek insists, is more than a girl-band label. “We have boy bands too,” he says, “although most of the boys on the label look like girls.”
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Upcoming projects include download-only singles from the Blondes and San Diego–based Kelly Alvarez (of the Zeros tribute band Wild Weekend), plus a full-length album by awesome Anaheim van-rockers Thee Makeout Party.
“Kim Fowley continually calls me to find out who the next Guns N’ Roses are, to which I reply, ‘Nobody, hopefully!’” says Freek. “I’m trying to find the next Moon Unit Zappa!”
Photo by Kevin Scanlon