A Brief History of Bill Hicks, Kevin Booth, and Sacred Cow Productions
The Hicks and the Booths both moved to Houston around the early seventies during Houston's economic boom. We actually lived less than a mile away from each other for about five years before meeting. Bill's bedroom window looked out into the parking lot of the Catholic church my mother dragged me to every Sunday, while Bill was being dragged to a more Baptist church, closer to my house.
In 1975 I first met Bill and his best friend, Dwight Slade, while on the track team and we quickly formed STRESS, the first punk band of all time (that's right, look it up). After high school STRESS continued, but I started Year Zero with some other classmates and Bill focused on being a funny man. All through the 80's we continued playing together, but after buying my first video camera in 1984, the epic karate-opera NINJA BACHELOR PARTY started production. It was during one of many shroom trips at my family's ranch in 1986 when a prize brahma bull explained to me in great detail how I needed to create a production company... and SACRED COW PRODUCTIONS was born.
My band Year Zero got the boot from the prestigious British label Chrysalis Records in 1989 and we set out to produce Bill's first feature length stand-up concert film, SANE MAN. By now Bill had done many Letterman appearances and had been on HBO Live at Dangerfield's. In 1990 we formed MARBLEHEAD JOHNSON with drummer Pat Brown. Only a month or so after recording our Marble Head record, Bill asked me to produce his second CD for Invasion Records. RELENTLESS is one of Bill's more playful works and we ended up putting the Marble song CHICKS DIG JERKS on the end.
In 1993, deciding to change musical styles and wanting to make a more conceptual album, Bill and I recorded ARIZONA BAY, a 45-minute prayer for Los Angels to sink into the ocean. This was probably the greatest collaborative effort I ever did with Bill, as he and I recorded all the tracks at my home studio, literally cutting ourselves off from the world for several months.
In March of 1993, a gun-toting Christian with 16 wives by the name of David Koresh (aka Jesus, aka Vernon) had a little run-in with the BATF outside of WACO. Like kids in a candy store, the two of us rushed to the site and on the 7th day of the WACO siege, we were able to sneak past DPS check points and shoot a short film.
During the Arizona/Waco sessions and while eating 10 pounds of Mexican and Korean food daily, Bill complained of a pain, but did not want to see my doctor. (Unbeknownst to me, Bill was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on June 17th, 1993). In July of 1993, Bill and I started work on RANT IN E MINOR. We did the initial recordings in San Francisco while shooting a sequel to NINJA BACHELOR PARTY.
We recorded the SCP HALLOWEEN SPECIAL in October of 1993, I still didn't know of Bill's illness. After finally telling me about it, we spent Christmas together in Austin and were able to do one final recording the night of December 26. Bill fought very hard to squeeze out a few last songs that would eventually end up on RANT IN E MINOR. On December 27, 1993, Bill and his parents came to my house to listen to the music before they drove back to Little Rock. My last vision of Bill was him walking into the morning sun with his mom and dad on either side, helping him walk. On February 26, around 10PM, Bill's brother Steve called to tell me that Bill had taken his last breath while in his mothers arms. Soon after Bill's passing I was involved in several tributes and helped found the BILL HICKS FOUNDATION FOR WILD-LIFE.
Sacred Cow Productions' web-site went live in 1996 after getting advice from some guy at Austin Access TV who said, "this here Internet is going to be big someday." In 1997, along with the newly formed Arizona Bay Productions (Bill's mother Mary), RELENTLESS, ARIZONA BAY & RANT IN E MINOR were released through Ryko Disc. Yes, it's true that I have had my share of trials and tribulations with Bill's family, but it's only because we are all so passionate about Bill. In December of 2004 we signed an agreement that encompasses every single project Bill and I ever did, hopefully insuring the proper future release of EVERYTHING!
In March of 2005, with Writer Michael Bertin, I released a book about Bill entitled "BILL HICKS AGENT OF EVOLUTION", available through Harper Collins UK. In December of 2005, Ryko Disc released SANE MAN on DVD at the same time SACRED COW relocated to Los Angels to complete a film about the Drug War.
Today many Hicks fans ask me, "why do you live in Hollywood, when Bill hated it so much?" My answer is because CHICKS DIG JERKS. Seriously - Bill hated it - but at the same time lived here. Kind of like someone who has never smoked pot telling you that pot is bad. Los Angeles, like it or not, is the center of our hellish ego. Bill didn't choose to sit outside of the machine and rage at it, he got in the machine and did way more damage. I'm not saying that I'm like Bill just because I moved to LA; my wife and I moved here because the Drug War was raging out of control... and it has many great restaurants.
If you want to see Sacred Cow survive, let's temporarily put the Arizona Bay prayer on hold.