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Moe Tucker

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Maureen Ann “Moe” Tucker (born August 26, 1944, in New Jersey, United States) is best known for having been the drummer for the rock group The Velvet Underground.

Tucker first began playing the drums at age 19. When she was asked to join the Velvet Underground, Tucker was working for IBM as a keypunch operator. The band’s original percussionist, Angus Maclise, had left in November 1965 because he refused to play before a paying audience, and Tucker was drafted in because Velvets guitarist Sterling Morrison remembered the kid sister of one of his college friends played the drums.

Tucker’s style of playing was unusual: she played standing up, rather than seated, using a simplified drum kit of tom toms, a snare drum and an upturned bass drum, using mallets rather than drumsticks, and she rarely used cymbals.

Apart from drumming, Tucker sang (co-)lead vocals on three Velvet Underground songs: the acoustic guitar number “After Hours” and the strange poem set to music “The Murder Mystery”, both from 1969’s The Velvet Underground album, and “I’m Sticking with You”, a song recorded in 1969 but left unreleased until it appeared on the 1985 outtakes compilation VU. Lou Reed has said of “After Hours” that it was “so innocent and pure” that he could not possibly sing it himself. In the early days, Tucker would also occasionally play the bass guitar during live gigs; the only released song that features her playing bass is a recording of “Melody Laughter” included on the 1995 box set Peel Slowly and See.

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