Bring on The Fugs. The New York State Writers Institute sponsors the first underground rock band of the Sixties.
Founded by noteworthy Beat poets Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg in 1964, The Fugs pioneered a joyously chaotic blend of Beat-style lyrics, political rant, comedy and jug band music that influenced a legion of better-known bands including Frank Zappa’s Mother’s of Invention, The Velvet Underground, The Stooges and Alice Cooper. Their music was the bridge connecting the Beat and the Hippie generations.
They will present a “Literary Concert” sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute on Tuesday, September 16th at 8 p.m., at UAlbany’s Page Hall, featuring musical homages to the works of William Blake, William Shakespeare, Algernon Charles Swinburne, Matthew Arnold, John Donne, Emily Dickinson, various Beat poets, and Homer (in the original Greek.)
The band’s 14 albums include “The Fugs” (1966), which made the “Billboard” Top 100. Poet, co-founder and singer Ed Sanders is a past recipient of “The American Book Award” for his works of poetry. Sanders was profoundly influenced by the work of Allen Ginsberg, who left Missouri as a teenager, moved to New York City and opened the Peace Eye Bookstore where The Fugs were born. Co-founder Tuli Kupferberg, who bills himself as the world’s oldest rock star (he’s 80), is a well-known political satirist, poet, playwright, independent publisher, cartoonist and prolific author. Together they created The Fugs because it was, said Sanders, “better than working or graduate school, and it gave us a modest hope of earning our livelihood from art.”
In addition to Sanders and Kupferberg other band members include guitarist Steve Taylor (a long-time musical collaborator with Beat poet Allen Ginsberg), drummer Coby Batty and bassist Scott Petito. The band never achieved true star status, but acquired a passionate cult following and became a fixture at anti-Vietnam War protests and political demonstrations across the country. Actress and singer Bette Midler claims to have been one of the band’s early groupies. This event at UAlbany will be the band’s very first Albany performance in its 40-year history.
Directions to Page Hall Map of the Downtown Campus NYS Writers Institute