It’s OK to look. Randy Fowler doesn’t mind the attention.
Fowler, 59, started dressing like rocker Rod Stewart when he opened Rod’s Limos in Boise in 1994. His first brush with Internet fame came a decade later, when Fowler gave interviews about his still-unpublished, tell-all book about his estranged brother and actor Kevin Spacey, star of the Netflix TV political drama “House of Cards” and Academy Award winner for Best Actor in “American Beauty.”
For years, Randy promised the book would detail sexual abuse by his father and how he and his mother protected Kevin. Fowler was featured in articles in The National Enquirer, Fox News and The Globe, as well as the Idaho Statesman. Fowler enjoyed a second round of time in the Internet spotlight in early September when the blog Gawker published an online post titled “Kevin Spacey’s Brother is a Limo-Driving Rod Stewart Impersonator in Boise.”
Life has slowed down for Fowler, who is “on sabbatical” from Rod’s Limos, he said. He’s looking for a new partner to provide a limousine after a former partner left, taking the eight-seat, white Lincoln limo that Fowler used to drive patrons around the Treasure Valley seven days a week. He’s also looking for a publisher for the book — previously titled “Living in the Shadows, Brothers Split by Secrets,” “I’m Spacey’s Brother, Whether he Likes it or Not” and “Spacey’s Brother: Out of the Closet.”
But Fowler still dresses to the nines every day, and he still has plenty to say about his Rod Stewart persona and his famous little brother.
Here’s Fowler’s story, according to him:
Q: When did you become a Rod Stewart impersonator?
A: I’m not a Rod Stewart impersonator. I mean, I have a Rod Stewart CD I’ll put in if my clients ask for it. But I was a drummer for 35 years. I did my hair like this, and everybody called me Rod.
Q: OK. When did you start dressing like Rod Stewart?
A: In 2004, I wanted to do something different in entertainment. I decided to redefine what a chauffeur is. Instead of the traditional white shirt, black suit — I call it the “penguin squat” — I started working for every limousine company in the Valley. One of my stipulations was, I want to dress the way I dress. I’m unique. I’m a very nonaggressive personality. I can get along with anybody. I know how to blend in. It was inevitable I was going to start my own business.
Q: What kind of revenues did Rod’s Limos pull in?
A: When I had ads on television, I was making between $4,000 and $6,000 a month. But when the economy dropped out, business dropped. I made just enough to be broke, just like everybody else.
Q: You’re in Boise State University Broncos colors today. How many outfits do you have?
A: Clients can go to my website and pick out what they want me to wear. There’s only 92 outfits posted, but I’ve got 366 outfits that I can wear. The outfits can match with the inside of the limousine to the napkins to the color of the balloons, the satin pillows, the silk flowers, the carpet.
Q: Why Rod Stewart?
A: In the 1980s when I went on the road, I was playing with a band called Livatious. It was a high-end lounge show. We wore blue jumpsuits with sequins. I started wearing my hair spiky, and folks all said I look like Rod because I’ve got the chiseled nose.
Q: Are you in full garb whenever you’re in public?
Q: What about when you are at home?
A: I’m in my bathrobe. The people at my condo complex who know me see me in shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. But when I go out into the public, this is the way I choose to let people see me.
Q: You attract attention. Does that ever bother you?
A: I don’t care about what people think about me, or whether they say I’m gay or anything else. When I’m in public, I look nice.
Q: What kind of relationship do you have with Kevin Spacey?
A: I’ve only talked to him four times in 36 years. I know Kevin Fowler. I don’t know Kevin Spacey. He doesn’t have anything to do with anybody in the family.
Q: Why was your book never published?
A: We finished the first version, called “Spacey’s Brother: Out of the Closet,” referring to the fact that I was hiding in the closet with a loaded gun waiting to blow my father away because I knew it was going to be another rape session. We sent the book to the attorneys. It cost me a pile of money to have them read it. They came back and said, “Wow. This book is absolutely brilliant. Too bad you can’t publish it because your brother would sue you.” Unfortunately, I took their advice and didn’t publish it.
Q: Do you wish you had?
A: If I could go back, I would publish it. It would have been sauce for the goose. I could say, “Go ahead and sue me.” I wouldn’t care. It’s about my life. It’s not about him. (Attorneys) rewrote it three or four times and it got so watered down that it lost all that essence and grit. I fired the writer and sat on it for three years. I’m trying to finish it.
Q: Do you like Rod Stewart’s music?
A: I love his music. He’s killer, especially his 1930s and ’40s show tunes that he does.
Q: Have people ever mistaken you for Rod Stewart?
A: Years ago, he did a show at the Idaho Center, and I went with my wife. By coincidence, I was wearing the exact outfit he was wearing. I really wanted to meet Rod and have my picture taken with him, but he had already split, and I was just standing there, and everybody thought I was Rod Stewart. I didn’t open up my mouth. I just stood there and got my picture taken and signed autographs. It was hysterical.
Q: Did you sign them as Rod Stewart?
A: The way I write my name, it kind of looks like “Rod.” These people don’t know the difference. I just smiled and kept my mouth shut.
Q: Are you finished with limousine driving?
A: I’m looking for another partner to buy me another limousine. I’m a money-making machine. I’m not a financial risk to anybody because of my rapport with the community. So I’m taking a little sabbatical. I worked for 10 years without taking a day off. I’m enjoying the time off, but I know it won’t last forever.