Dangerous Minds pal Michael Simmons sends word of a concert in New York this weekend to benefit Tuli Kupferberg, patron saint of bohemian New York and one of The Fugs, history’s first punk band. In his way Mr. K has challenged the world, but Michael tells it much better than I can:
The Fugs were founded by poets Tuli Kupferberg, Ed Sanders, and Ken Weaver in 1965 as a logical marriage of the three Bs—Beat (poetry), (the) Beatles, and (Lenny) Bruce. Born in 1923, Tuli billed himself as “the world’s oldest rock star” at the advanced age of 42. He’d already published Beat zines Birth and Yeah, was noted by Mailer and Allen Ginsberg for outsider behavior including the levitation of the Pentagon, and beloved by we younger hippies for his unshakeable bohemianism as captured in his rooftop striptease. (It’s interesting how repressed America was back then while now everyone gets naked on the Internet. There was a time when disrobing publicly was a political act.) Tuli wrote many of the Fugs’ biggest non-hits: “I Feel Like Homemade Shit,” “Nothing” (“Monday nothing/Tuesday nothing/Wednesday Thursday nothing”), the aching ballad “Morning Morning” (beautifully covered by Richie Havens), “CIA Man” (recently heard in the Coen Brothers Burn After Reading), and “Kill For Peace,” the greatest anti-war song of all time. The latter captured Tuli’s outrageous wit in the service of his dead serious anarcho-pacifistic loathing of war and violence.
Thr Fugs broke up in 1969 and reformed in Orwell and Reagan’s 1984. They’ve continued to record and perform live, rail against the ruthless and selfish, and sing to the heavens in support of peace, fun, sharing, and love. If none of the latter four attributes have been abundant for the last 30 years, one cannot blame the Fugs. O how they’ve tried. For those who trot out the tired clich?ɬ