The Fugs was a band formed in New York City in 1965 by poets Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg, with Ken Weaver on drums. The Fugs made the front cover of the Life magazine in 1967 with Ed Sanders listed as the leader of New York's other culture. Later that year they were joined by Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber of the Holy Modal Rounders.
The band was named by Kupferberg who borrowed the name from the euphemistic substitute for the word "fuck" famously used in Norman Mailer's novel, The Naked and the Dead. Incidentally, the band is featured in a chapter of Mailer's book, Armies of the Night, as they play at the 1967 march on the Pentagon in protest of the Vietnam War (with Scott Rashap on upright bass). Some of the early history of The Fugs, including the band's essential roots in the culture of New York City's East Village, its difficulties with censorious news media, and its determination to elevate the tone of American rock music are related by Ed Sanders, apparently with tongue firmly in cheek at times, in two segments of video recorded during a tour of Scandinavia in 1968.
The band's original core members, Sanders, Kupferberg, and Weaver, were joined at various times in the 1960s on stage and in the studio by a number of others, some of whom were noted session musicians or members of other bands. These included Weber and Stampfel, bassist John Anderson, guitarist Vinny Leary, guitarist Peter Kearney, keyboardist Lee Crabtree, guitarist Jon Kalb, guitarist Stefan Grossman, singer/guitarist Jake Jacobs, guitarist Eric Gale, bassist Chuck Rainey, keyboardist Robert Banks, bassist Charles Larkey, guitarist Ken Pine, guitarist Danny Kortchmar, and drummer Bill Wolf.
The Fugs were, and are more than thirty years later, a satirical and self-satirizing rock band that in its early years performed at war protests [against the Vietnam War and since the 1980s at events around other US-instigated wars]. The band's often frank and almost always humorous lyrics about sex, drugs, and politics have caused a sometimes hostile reaction in some quarters. Their irreverent humor is comparable to that of a number of musical and comedic groups performing satirical commentary on contemporary affairs (such as Saturday Night Live and other late-night political satire shows).
The Fugs have remained committed to literature and poetry with a socio-political thrust and often mine the history of European and American literature as inspiration for contemporary pop song lyrics. One of their better-known songs is an adaptation of Matthew Arnold's poem, Dover Beach. Others were renditions of William Blake's poems Ah! Sun-flower and How Sweet I Roam'd. These poems-turned-songs are certainly some of the most moving adaptations of the late 20th century.
The Official Fugs Website states that The Fugs played their final concert of the 1960s in 1969 at the Hersheypark Arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania with the Grateful Dead. However, DeadBase, a Grateful Dead archive site, places this concert in the Stanley Theater, Pittsburgh, PA., not Hershey Arena, on February 7th, 1969. Also appearing in this show were The Velvet Underground.
After pursuing individual projects over the years, in 1984 Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg decided to reform the band and stage a series of Fugs reunion concerts. This incarnation of the Fugs included Sanders and Kupferberg and, at various times, guitarist and singer Steven Taylor, drummer and singer Coby Batty, bassist Mark Kramer, guitarist Vinny Leary (who had contributed to the first two original Fugs albums), and bassist/keyboardist Scott Petito. The re-formed Fugs performed concerts at numerous locations in the U.S. and Europe over the next several years.
In 1994 the band intended to perform a series of concerts in Woodstock, New York, (where Ed Sanders had lived for many years) to commemorate the 1969 Woodstock Festival, which had actually occurred near the town of Bethel, some 50 miles away. They learned that a group of promoters were planning to stage Woodstock '94 that August near Saugerties, about 8 miles from Woodstock, and that this festival would be much more tightly controlled and commercialized than the original. Consequently The Fugs decided to stage their own August 1994 concerts as "The Real Woodstock Festival", in an atmosphere more in keeping with the spirit of the 1969 festival. The basic Fugs roster of Sanders, Kupferberg, Taylor, Batty, and Petito performed in this series of concerts with additional vocal support from Amy Fradon and Leslie Ritter and also with appearances by Allen Ginsberg and Country Joe McDonald.
For most of the last twenty-five years, then, The Fugs has been composed of primary singer/songwriters Sanders and Kupferberg, composer, song writer, guitarist, and long-time Allen Ginsberg-collaborator Steven Taylor, acclaimed singer/songwriter and percussionist Coby Batty, and Scott Petito, a renowned musician and music producer with his own bucolic recording studio in Hurley, New York (not far from Woodstock).
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Arguably the first underground rock group of all time, the Fugs formed at the Peace Eye bookstore in New York's East Village in late 1964. The nucleus of the band throughout their many personnel changes was Peace Eye owner Ed Sanders and fellow poet Tuli Kupferberg. Sanders and Kupferberg had strong ties to the beat literary scene, but charged, in the manner of their friend Allen Ginsberg, full steam ahead into the maelstrom of '60s political involvement and psychedelia. Surrounded by an assortment of motley refugees from the New York folk and jug band scene (including Steve Weber and Peter Stampfel of the Holy Modal Rounders), some of whom could barely play their instruments, the group nonetheless was determined to play rock & roll their way -- which meant rife with political and social satire, as well as explicit profanity and sexual references, that were downright unheard of in 1965. Starting on the legendary avant-garde ESP label, the Fugs' debut was full of equal amounts of chaos and charm, but their songwriting and instrumental chops improved surprisingly quickly, resulting in a second album that was undoubtedly the most shocking and satirical recording ever to grace the Top 100 when it was released. After cutting an unreleased album for Atlantic, they moved on to Frank Sinatra's Reprise label, unleashing a few more albums of equally satirical material that were more instrumentally polished, but equally scathing lyrically. Breaking up around 1970, Sanders and Kupferberg continued to write prose and poetry, and sometimes wrote and performed music both on their own and as part of Fugs reunions. By breaking lyrical taboos of popular music, they helped pave the way for the even more innovative outrage of the Mothers of Invention, the Velvet Underground, and others.
by Richie Unterberger
The Official Fugs Website：
From All Music Guide