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The Low Profile of R. Stevie Moore
January 7, 2009 2:10 PM   Subscribe

R. Stevie Moore likes to stay home and play himself some music. Having done so for over 42 years--that's over 2000 songs and 400 albums--he has become the undisputed grandfather of do-it-yourself psychedelic pop and punk. Tagged for decades as underground, an outsider and criminally ignored local genius, R. Stevie is now exploiting and exploding that myth, no short thanks to the internets. Here's where he has scattered his recordings; here are two places where he keeps his home-made videos. WFMU archives his pioneering appearances on their great radio station from 1978-1998. Finally, here are two complete albums' worth of his Greatest "Hits": Hobbies Galore (1973-2005) and Tra La La Phooey (1959-2003). Long Live R. Stevie!
posted by not_on_display (26 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
This post may take a while to get comments because so much awesome must be unpacked.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:20 PM on January 7, 2009


What about the internet: Your personal site is growing so fast it seems that it'll soon choke the entire net .... how did you do it? Got any help?

I do it all using WebTV

posted by jbickers at 2:23 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I pride myself on being kind of a music nerd, and this guy is news to me. Awesome post.
posted by jbickers at 2:24 PM on January 7, 2009


become the undisputed grandfather of do-it-yourself psychedelic pop and punk

Then I'll dispute him, somewhat. I mean, to me, Hasil Adkins is my go to guy when it comes to the grandfather of DIY punk. When it comes to DIY psychedelic pop, I think The Fugs are better grandfathers. Personally I think R. Stevie Moore has made some mighty fine music, but he's not the pioneer he and his fans make him out to be.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 2:34 PM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


R. Stevie Moore - Interview/Going Down The Way (1984)
posted by mrcircles at 3:05 PM on January 7, 2009


I've never heard of this guy, but I loves him! Great post. It all sounds like Bon Iver got up to that cabin of his and inadvertently dropped some strange acid. Yay for us!
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:14 PM on January 7, 2009


R. Stevie Moore is live on WFMU right now.
posted by Joey Bagels at 3:42 PM on January 7, 2009


soundofsuburbia: Then I'll dispute him, somewhat. I mean, to me, Hasil Adkins is my go to guy when it comes to the grandfather of DIY punk. When it comes to DIY psychedelic pop, I think The Fugs are better grandfathers. Personally I think R. Stevie Moore has made some mighty fine music, but he's not the pioneer he and his fans make him out to be.

I will defend: Thanks for introducing me to Hasil Adkins; after viewing a few youtubes of him, he strikes me more as a lone performer or troubadour (?) than a DIY kind of person. Although I'm admittedly not up on the strict sense of what DIY is, it feels to me like an enthusiastic hobbyist making his own stuff in his basement. Hasil strikes me more like a very awesome porch-and-a-bottle-of-whisky kinda guy. "Punk" only in the sense that he seems to be a rebellious type. He seems much more Rockabilly to me.

As for the Fugs, (god love'em I like boobsalot) they had a lot of support from an artistically-minded community, and they were a band. RSM lives in New Jersey--I presume by himself.

Both of your selections are decidedly against the grain, and went way outside the normal means of distribution, but that doesn't equate to DIY in my mind.

Thanks for uncovering Hasil for me, though; I'll look into him more!
posted by not_on_display at 3:46 PM on January 7, 2009


Joey Bagels: R. Stevie Moore is live on WFMU right now.

Holy crap!! Thanks, Joey Bagels!!
posted by not_on_display at 3:47 PM on January 7, 2009


Thank you, n_o_d! Great!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:15 PM on January 7, 2009


I'm sure this guy is an interesting character, but I'll keep my eccentric pop lauds for Hayden and Spooky Reuben

All that said, R. Stevie Moore certainly sounds like a talented musician, I can only deal with so much awesome, and RSM appears to fall outside of my usually broad tolerances.

Cheers to the DIY superstar either way.
posted by NiteMayr at 4:27 PM on January 7, 2009


Well, i guess he's less annoying than Daniel Johnston...
posted by joe defroster at 4:42 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now, n_o_d, your post is a plethora, nay, a cornucopia of links. BUT... like I'm always a'tellin' you youngsters, DON'T FORGET THE MYSPACE MUSIC PAGE! Sure, MySpace is "uncool" and all, but there's music to be heard on those pages! And R. Stevie has one. Er, that is... he has a few.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:56 PM on January 7, 2009


Looks like my kind of post, thanks!
posted by ersatz at 5:57 PM on January 7, 2009


flapjax at midnite: Sure, MySpace is "uncool" and all, but there's music to be heard on those pages!

There sure is!
WHOOPS, I mean, There sure is!
posted by not_on_display at 7:07 PM on January 7, 2009


Haha! Thanks for the nod, n_o_d!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:24 PM on January 7, 2009


I have to admit, R. Stevie Moore has some great, great songs. He's a far better songwriter than, say, Stephen Merrit. But to hell with this DYI stuff. Moore's songs would sound a thousand times better with really slick, commercial production.
posted by Faze at 8:13 PM on January 7, 2009


I would beg to differ, Faze. I think the lack of slick production and the sound that comes through (knowing it was probably recorded with little money needed) give his songs a more personal quality, affecting me for many of the same reasons that I like MeFiMusic -- it's like there's a person, just like anyone you could know, communicating directly and intimately to me, and not a slick production team trying to hit a wider audience or trying to be all flashy or decidedly hip.

Guided By Voices and Sebadoh are two examples of bands that I liked less once they started getting more produced. Production did, though, bring out new, wonderful sides of the Flaming Lips and Ween, admittedly... But no, I think RSM has plenty of nerdy slickness as is without sparing any of the personality.
posted by not_on_display at 9:26 PM on January 7, 2009


Guided By Voices and Sebadoh are two examples of bands that I liked less once they started getting more produced.

Never listened to Sebadoh, so I can't say anything about that, but I definitely agree with you on GBV, n_o_d. I haven't heard anything from GBV or Pollard that moves me anywhere near as much as Bee Thousand, which was about as lo-fi and homemade as it gets.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:28 AM on January 8, 2009


I was just thinking about (the increasing crappiness of) Sebadoh yesterday. It was less the big studio sound IMHO than the departure of Eric Gaffney, but YMMV.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:38 AM on January 8, 2009


I remember seeing his small display ads in the classifieds section of Trouser Press month after month back in the early 80's. I never mailed away for any of his cassettes, but I'm glad he persisted and has made a name for himself.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:11 AM on January 8, 2009


Awesome post, not_on_display!
posted by terrapin at 6:14 AM on January 8, 2009


Soooooo . . . I might as well say that I'm the guy that made the movie in the very first link. For a few months I was working on producing an R. Stevie documentary. The project never came together for a variety of reasons -- none of them having to do with R. Stevie, who was always wonderful, talkative, open and dedicated to the film. That little short is all that I managed to produce. I'm mentioning this because I've got hours and hours of talking head interview and performance footage I shot of him and if anyone's interested in picking up the project, they're more than welcome to it -- if R. Stevie approved. Hit me up on MeFi mail if you're interested . . .
posted by matthewstopheles at 7:07 AM on January 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thanks for making that, matthewstopheles, and for popping into the thread! Being a DIY-type musician myself, and always looking up to R. Stevie's work, that footage really brought into focus more dimensions of the person whom I'd only known through his music (which can often feel very intimate). Good luck with your future projects!
posted by not_on_display at 9:11 AM on January 8, 2009


I hadn't heard of him. Thank you for this post. (I haven't carefully thought about the advantages and disadvantages of DIY and commercial production, but I do think that "I Like To Stay Home" would have been seriously improved had the guitar he used in the TV studio been a Gibson....)
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 10:59 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


K2E, you are awesome. You can find a photo on flickr for just about anything.
posted by not_on_display at 2:01 PM on January 8, 2009


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