October 1st, 2010 / 9:03 pm

A little more about Moe.

An earlier snippet linked to a Pitchfork story about Moe Tucker, drummer from The Velvet Underground, having recently been spotted at an Albany Tea Party rally. Not just spotted, though. Ms. Tucker was interviewed, and in grand ole Tea Party style, she talked about being “furious about the way [the country and its citizens] being led towards socialism.”

The snippet says just this: hearing that Moe Tucker, drummer from one of my favorite bands, and creator of some really great solo work, is now part of a political movement I find—when I am trying to be generous and open-minded—baffling, kind of made a little part of me die. (In ungenerous moments, I say “Hear, hear,” to Matt Taibbi’s assessment of the Tea Parties in Rolling Stone.)

A comment made by someone going by R. Ridge:

Yet another reason to separate art from artist. I was watching “Chinatown” earlier and had to remind myself this.

I would tend to agree with this. I really would. Usually. (And though I am about to disagree with it, I respect this comment and am not posting again in response to it with even an ounce of snark in my heart, R.)

I don’t know if I can do it in this case. Moe Tucker is one of those artists—one of those rare artists—whose work I think is inseparable from who she is. Straight-forwarded, sweet-spirited (as Adam mentioned), devastating in her ability to make simple complicated. Moe.

How do I take Moe Tucker out of Moe Tucker? I don’t know if I know where to look to find the seam that would allow me to slip a knife through so I can pull out the stitches that attach Moe Tucker to Moe Tucker. I can’t do it. Here’s some Moe for Friday.





Tags: ,


  1. John Minichillo

      This is what drugs can do to your brains, kiddies.

      On a completely unrelated note, see my story “Moe Tucker” in Northville Review.

  2. reynard seifert

      she’s just old, man. she’s old.

  3. jereme

      don’t blame the drugs…

  4. Mybutt

      Moe Tucker is cool, but Reynard is right. In the Half Japanese documentary she talks about how bad an influence rap music and MTV are on the youth, and that was like 20 years ago. This is someone who went to church every Sunday even while touring with the VU and who worked typing transcripts for Andy Warhol but refused to write any swear words, two things that are so anti-rock ‘n’ roll that they ironically out rock ‘n’ roll Lou Reed’s pedestrian drug habit and other rock excess cliches.

  5. Clay Scott Brown

      Not every Radical ends up a Democrat. Why not rip a Socialists proverbial head off? Well, why not? I mean what’s wrong with that? Socialism is the next step to Theology. And then Ruin.

      The Velvet Underground is a bit more important than Politics.

      “Believe For Me.”

  6. reynard seifert

      indeed. also, i have never thought of the velvets as a political band. most of their songs are seeped in irony and they were a lot more interested in being cooler than cool than representing or presenting any kind of political agenda. there’s room to refute that probably, but it’s not a great leap from simple heart to simple mind.

  7. deadgod

      What does being “old” have to do with being a political teabagger??

      The AARP is a pretty progressive organization, politically – example: the latest issue of their Bulletin has an article (If Health Care Reform Unravels) that explains, without [mm-hm] angry rhetoric, how important to “seniors” preserving much of the recent health care bill is – . And a depressing number of young (potential) voters appear – at least on tv – at ultraconservative rallies. And it seems that Tucker’s acted on socially ‘conservative’ points of view for decades.

  8. reynard seifert

      in my mind all conservatives are little old men, but when they are in fact little old people it’s excusable because their minds are soft and their hearts are cold.

      also, i was sort of joking. i sort of don’t take anything seriously, deadgawd, even when it seems like i do, because someday none of us or this or that or anything else will be anywhere, and so i sort of think everything is arbitrary. i could just as easily have said, ‘i like corn chips with my salsa.’ if you’re wondering, yes that makes me sort of a nihilist. and i’m sort of okay with that. i used to care about politics but obama has done a lot to take the wind out of my sails. i’ve never much liked democrats or republicans. neither is a very good option to tell you the truth. this country is fucked.

      now if you’ll excuse me it is friday and the bar is waiting to eat me. i’m glad we had this talk.

  9. efferny jomes

      i like lou reed’s solo stuff more than VU anyway
      although he is a very insufferable asshole

  10. deadgod

      You “sort of don’t take anything seriously”?! “[T]he bar is waiting to eat” you? – What? – is that supposed to be some kind of jo-

      Oh. Wait . . .

  11. Janey Smith

      Never trust a hippie.

  12. Schulyer Prinz

      Maybe if Lou Reed hadn’t completely and utterly dicked over the rest of VU when it came to royalties, Moe Tucker wouldn’t have to work at a WAL-MART (!!!) just to support herself, and she wouldn’t be so bitter and disillusioned with America; maybe she’d still be making kick-ass music instead of hanging out with the rank and file morons of this country. Again: Moe tucker works at Wal-Mart. That is the tragedy here. And when you parse the word tragedy, you get the phrase ‘goat song’.

  13. deadgod

      Whoa. Working for a living leads to bitterness and disillusionment with “America”? – Tucker can’t tell the difference between Reed and “America”? (Is it impossible for gullible people to make kick-ass music?) Working for a living is a tragedy??

      Sadly for me, when I “parse” individual words, I get nothing at all.

  14. Moe Tucker – Tea Partier | The American Book of the Dead

      […] comment on HTML Giant might explain it: In the Half Japanese documentary she talks about how bad an influence rap music […]

  15. Luke

      Really, what’s the big deal here? Is it such a shock that an artist contains multitudes not apparent in her work, and that within those multitudes are things you find unpleasant? Musicians are performers, the VU are icons, Moe Tucker is also an ordinary person. Lou Reed grew a mullet and shilled for Honda. David Lynch promotes the hell out of the Maharishi, whose motives are very dubious.

      Jonathan Richman’s music means more to me than my favorite books. I talked to him after a show once and he went on about how he wasn’t sure he’d be able to tour ever again because the world was about to run out of fuel and the Fourth Reich was gonna take over. (This was in 2006.) There’s still the music, and everything I really know and love about Jonathan Richman is contained within it.

  16. deadgod

      mea culpa: That last remark is too comprehensive. To identify “tragedy” as ‘a noun’ is a basic form of “parsing”. Also, exclamations are sometimes single words that can be “parsed” in the more analytical sense of ‘identifying grammatical function in relation to a syntactic whole’.

  17. Schulyer Prinz

      maybe you should study some greek. Or just continue to be an asshat. Either/or

  18. Lomez

      I’m with the Ridge fella. Celine, Wagner, Lovecraft, Pound… Most of the writers I know are terrible people. Let the art stand for itself.

  19. Shelly

      she lives in nowhere south ga & is super-cool. i graduated high school with her son richard who is also a musician. motherless jackson is his athens band. i used to hang out at her house–& she wasnt moe tucker drummer for the velvet underground, she was a mother always on the computer, etc. i dont know why people are judging her just b/c she ‘was the drummer for the velvet underground’–yeah, that gives her a platform, but really this all seems silly to me.

  20. Amy McDaniel

      Instead of trying to take the Moe Tucker out of Moe Tucker, why not try to accept that it’s possible to respect someone–all of someone–even if their political views don’t align with your own? I have extended family members who support the Tea Party. I wish they felt differently, but I recognize that they have different lives than me, and they have reasons for their views. What I know about them otherwise tells me that someone’s political views don’t really indicate that much about their character or their loveliness. If anything, maybe the example of a musician we respect supporting the Tea Party can help us recognize that we can’t dismiss people just for their politics. “If you close the door, I’d never have to see the day again … drink a toast to never” is talking about something so much more important than any political platform, on either side, could possibly address.

  21. deadgod

      pars, ‘part’, is a Latin word, connected to the verb 1. paro, ‘to provide, prepare, design’. The Indo-European root 2. PAR-, POR- also appears in classical Greek in (assumed) derivatives from *PORW, ‘to furnish, give’, namely eporon and peprwmai, and in words such as par[th]enos, ‘female virgin’.

      Maybe you should continue to be a smugly thoughtless dingbat. And a rank and file linguist. Both/and.

  22. mimi

      dear deadgod,
      i like your name and i always like your smart but cranky comments, please do not be too hard on us lessers; a few hours ago i almost replied to you ‘what does any of this have to do with parsley?’ because that’s just the kind of thing i sometimes do, but in a moment of clarity and good sense, i refrained

      and ‘the bar is waiting to eat me’ is a lebowski reference, i think (right, rey-rey?)
      but you probably already knew that

  23. deadgod

      Yes, mimi – I’d thought of saying something like ‘when I parse “tragedy”, I get a high-fiber garnish’. You should have gone ahead and teased me before that called-for mea culpa.

  24. Donald

      They’re more cranky than smart. They are smart, certainly, but the smartness is dented by the fact that they always seem to think themselves smarter than they are.

      The guy pointed him to Greek because of this:
      ‘Tragedy (Ancient Greek: τραγῳδία, tragōidia, “he-goat-song”[1])’

      That’s from the Wikipedia page for ‘Tragedy’.

      There’s also some old (good) poet who said something about tragedy beginning with satyrs. He or she said it more obliquely. It may have been something to do with dancing men in goat suits. I forget the line, and the poet, but I’ve a feeling that both are very, very well known. Shit’s canonical.

      Anyway, deadgod, your comments are sometimes enjoyable—and, before the final sprint of this sentence, I acknowledge that I have no authority over you, nor do I believe that I should have, so, you know, whatnot—but my take on tings is that you should probably try to be a “dingbat” less often yourself. Also, perhaps try to cultivate a greater awareness of your own shortcomings. You appear to be lacking in that area. It might be that in reality you’re painfully aware of them, but it doesn’t come across in the things that you write.

      You don’t have to try to maintain the appearance of knowing all things. It’s fine. Really. People don’t.

  25. Matt

      Where are these socialists whose proverbial heads are cool to rip off? (I mean, seriously, where are they? I don’t see very many in America, and definitely not in our government.)

      Being in the Tea Party isn’t having a political stance, it’s being a pawn of corporate interests.

  26. mimi

      well, all i can say is that previously i did not know that the etymologic origin of ‘tragedy’ means ‘he-goat-song’ and now I do


      “There’s also some old (good) poet who said something about tragedy beginning with satyrs. … It may have been something to do with dancing men in goat suits.”


      i can make a lebowski tie-in:

      “It’s a male myth about feminists that we hate sex…. However there are some people–it is called satyriasis in men, nymphomania in women–who engage in it compulsively and without joy.”
      -Maude Lebowski

      i have absolutely nothing against goat suits (whatever yanks your chain) but “…sex… engag(ing) in it compulsively and without joy” yeah, now that’s tragic

  27. Donald

      Ah, I’d forgotten that bit. I need to watch The Big Lebowski again sometime. It’s been too long.

      I like that comment, mimi. It’s pleasantly bizarre. It took me a while to work out exactly what was going on in it, ha. Informative!

  28. deadgod

      Donald, you’ve entered the conversation to correct somebody for being a no-account know-it-all. Cool; I love dramatic irony.

      [T]hey always seem to think themselves smarter than they are.

      That’s lovely. First, a scolding for communicating intellectual arrogance, then a needless repetition of Schulyer’s ‘parsing’ – in fact, an etymology – , — then, the imperishable sanctimony of

      [T]ry to cultivate a greater awareness of your own shortcomings. You appear to be lacking in that area.

      – followed by the painfully self-amused “It’s fine. Really. People don’t.”

      Donald, the only pieces of evidence you have of self-confidence from me are my statements of fact and peevish reactions to dull-witted (my opinion) criticisms. Your self-righteous straightening-out says more – to me – about your limitations than it possibly can about my own.

      Do you see? – your sense that someone is being over-confidently competitive, and should be brought down to Earth, is coming from . . . your own . . .

      I didn’t respond to the Greek etymology of “tragedy” because it would have been as pointless of me as it actually has been of you: yes, tragwidia is coined from tragos, ‘he-goat’, and aoidos (contracted widos), ‘song’. My clarification (to Schulyer) had to do with ‘to parse’ (which first remark I doubted he got), not his (correct) etymology.

      If you’re still reading: to Schulyer’s point, what do you think about the assertion that Tucker working at Mall-Wart [“!!!”] is a “tragedy”? or the assumption – which Schulyer might deny having made – that teabaggers are more likely to be “rank and file morons” than to be yuppie “morons”?

  29. reynard

      yes mimi you are correct! ‘sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar… well, he eats you’ – it’s a pun on the wild west pronunciation and spelling of ‘bear’ (‘bar) – love that movie

  30. AA

      Moe looked old 20 years ago. She was born old-looking, but that has nothing to do with her political views, only with her intake of prune juice.

  31. reynard seifert

      yes mimi you are correct! ‘sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar… well, he eats you’ – it’s a pun on the wild west pronunciation and spelling of ‘bear’ (‘bar) – love that movie