Tuli Kupferberg Has Died

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Tuli Kupferberg, among other things founding member of The Fugs, has died at the age of 86. No attempt to summarize his life has any hope of success: he was who he was, every day.

As a youngster, I was privileged to be an occasional visitor-spectator at Ed Sanders’s Peace Eye Bookstore way over on Avenue A. The way I looked at that store was as a cathedral where the saints weren’t icons on the wall, but were real men and women walking around and laughing and yelling and writing poems and singing songs and making things that people will always care about. So I was scared to death to go in (sometimes I didn’t), and scared to do anything but walk around the edge of the room if I did.

Tuli Kupferberg and Ed Sanders are sometimes seen (with Harry Smith, who produced the Fugs’ first album) as a bridge between the beats and the hippies, but I’ve never agreed with that: I think everyone over there had his own way of seeing, and every so often a few of them would wind up seeing more or less the same thing and kind of riff together on it for a while, and then drift away and then come back with a different thing and a different band of collaborators. And the beats were part of it and the hippies were part of it but there was never really a movement, just an aimful wandering.

So check out the Fugs website, read Tuli’s most famous books (out of print, but worth looking for), 1001 Ways to Beat the Draft and 1001 Ways to Live Without Working, and watch this video of one of the Fugs’ most famous songs, Morning, Morning from their 2nd Album. Please enjoy.

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