September 16, 2003 at 8:00 p.m.
Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue
The Fugs, the first underground rock band of the 1960s, will present "A Literary Concert" 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).
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 Mothers of Invention, The Velvet Underground, The Stooges and Alice Cooper. Many historians view The Fugs as an important cultural bridge between the Beat Era and the 1960s.
Born in a bookstore (Sanders' famous countercultural Peace Eye book store in New York's Greenwich Village), the band has always been steeped in literary influences. One of their signature tunes, which appears on their first album, is "The Swinburne Stomp," named for the gay Victorian poet Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909).
Although the band never achieved true star status, it acquired a passionate cult following and became a fixture at anti-Vietnam War protests and political demonstrations across the country. Actress Bette Midler claims to have been one of band's early groupies. As founder of The Fugs, Ed Sanders appeared on the front cover of "Life" magazine (February 17, 1967) and was proclaimed a "Leader of New York's Other Culture."
The band's 14 albums include "The Fugs" (1966), which made the "Billboard" Top 100, "Golden Filth" (1969), "No More Slavery" (1986), and "The Real Woodstock Festival" (1995). The band's latest album is "Final CD, Part 1" (2003). Songs include "Western Ballad," a tribute to Allen Ginsberg, who was a long-time friend of the band; a musical setting for a poem by Beat poet Charles Bukowski; and the spoof "Septuagenarian in Love," sung to the tune of "Teenager in Love" by Fugs co-founder Tuli Kupferberg. Kupferberg, who will turn 80 on September 24th, bills himself as the world's oldest rock star.
Fugs co-founder and singer Ed Sanders has received numerous awards for his poetry, including the American Book Award for "Thirsting for Peace in a Raging Century: Selected Poems 1961-1983" (1987). Sanders' most recent books of poetry include "America: A History in Verse" (Part I, 1999; Part II, 2000); "The Poetry and Life of Allen Ginsberg: A Narrative Poem" (2000); "1968: A History in Verse" (1997); and "Chekhov" (1995), a biography of the Russian playwright in verse. Sanders' fiction includes the short story collections, "Tales of Beatnik Glory: Volumes I and II" (1990). Sanders' best-known book may be his work of investigative journalism, "The Family: The Story of Charles Manson's Dune Buggy Attack Battalion" (1971), a national bestseller that was reissued in a revised and updated edition in 2002. Sanders also edits a biweekly newspaper, "The Woodstock Journal" in Woodstock, NY.
Co-founder and singer Tuli Kupferberg is a well-known political satirist, poet, playwright, independent publisher and cartoonist. His bohemian culture magazine, "Birth," helped bring to public attention the writings of several Beat poets, including LeRoi Jones, Allen Ginsberg, Diane DiPrima and Ted Joans. A prolific author, Kupferberg's better-known books include "Beatniks; or, The War Against the Beats" (1961), "1001 Ways to Live Without Working" (1961), "1001 Ways to Beat the Draft" (1966), "1001 Ways to Make Love" (1969), and "Newspoems" (1971).
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 Fugs are currently working on a documentary about their musical career. The event at UAlbany will be the band's very first Albany performance in its 40 year history.
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