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The Fugs

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New York City (1965 – 1969)

The Fugs were a band formed in New York City in 1965 by Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg, with Ken Weaver on drums. Later that year they were joined by Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber of the Holy Modal Rounders.

The band was named by Kupferberg who borrowed it from the euphemistic substitute for the word “fuck” famously used in Norman Mailer’s novel, The Naked and the Dead. Incidentally, the band is featured in a chapter of Mailer’s book, Armies of the Night as they play at the 1967 march on the Pentagon in protest of the Vietnam War (with Scott Rashap on upright bass).

The Fugs were a satirical and self-satirizing rock band that performed at protests against the Vietnam War nationwide.

Their 1968 Transatlantic Records album “It crawled into my hand, honest” (TRA 181) also helped to make them more widely known on the European side of the Atlantic. (This album {minus LP artwork, of course,} is now also available as tracks 11 to 30 of “Electromagnetic Steamboat”)

The band’s frank lyrics about sex, drugs, and politics aroused a hostile reaction in some quarters, and enthusiastic interest in others. One of their better known songs was an adaptation of Matthew Arnold’s poem, Dover Beach. Another was a William Blake poem.

The Fugs played their “final” concert of the 1960s in 1969 at the Hersheypark Arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania with the Grateful Dead.

The Fugs, minus Weaver (plus Rashap), reunited in 1984 with several performances at the Bottom Line in New York.

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