Read: Ed Sanders’ History of The Fugs

 

 

 

Fug You, published by Da Capo Press, gets into some serious
countercultural jammin’. Bless their fuggin’ hearts.

 

By A.D. Amorosi

 

Ed Sanders
is a lost character in the countercultural ram-jam of the late ‘50s and the
all-over ‘60s. While his and his fucked-folk psych band The Fugs’ was equal
parts Captain Beefheart and Screw magazine put to music, Sanders
himself was/is a richly ribald, anarchistic and energetically poetic character
touched by the unwieldy goofball spirits (wait, they were alive) of Allen
Ginsberg and Lenny Bruce.

 

Sanders’
“total assault on the culture” (William S. Burroughs called it such), or at
least the eight years of Fugs-dom and the period in which he owned the Peace
Eye Bookstore and published Fuck You / A
Magazine of the Arts,
is documented here through scribbled handbills,
letters, illustrations and Sanders’ slipper recantation of the affairs of the
heart, the head and the inner mind. First and foremost, Fug You (with the succinct subtitle An Informal
History Of The Peace Eye Bookstore, The Fuck You Press, The Fugs, And
Counterculture In The Lower East Side
) is a love letter to his fellow Fug,
smelly hippie and one-time neighbor Tuli Kupferberg.

 

Secondly
it’s about the making of artifacts-the story of how weird bands first got
signed by major labels (unbelievably, The Fugs were on the Frank Sinatra-founded
Reprise), what New York City felt like before gentrification (this predates the
punk scene, kids), and how intellectuals like George Plimpton
and politicos like William F. Buckley came sniffing around the counterculture
looking to get laid/turned on. Lastly, it’s about the dying breed of
anything-goes artists like Sanders who risked personal freedom so that art
could stay uncensored. Bless his Fugging heart.

 

 

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