The Fugs

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The Fugs were a notorious American rock band who were the first rock act to openly sing about sex, drugs and politics. They fiercely protested against the Vietnam War and the American government. Despite being an underground act even the CIA started to spy on them.

Band member Ed Sanders was mentioned and thanked in the liner notes of The MOFO Project/Object (2006) album. [1]

Relation with Zappa

"All through June and July of 1966 we partied and had fun with friends like Jimi Hendrix and Zappa, although we were reminded of the sad substrate of partying by the untimely deaths at summer's close of great comedian Lenny Bruce and great poet Frank O'Hara.".

"Not long thereafter an anonymous phone call came into Avenue A, with my 2 year old daughter asleep in her room, that the caller was first going to bomb my house, then the home of Frank Zappa. As a result, for the next ten years we had an unlisted telephone number."

— Fugs member Ed Sanders, quoted in "The History of the Fugs" on their personal website

"The Mothers were in reality Frank Zappa, it should be called "The Mother of Invention", whereas The Fugs consisted primarily of three people, in addition a quantity of good musicians. Zappa wasn´t particularly developed politically, his criticism at the culture was a very sharp one, it was well, particularly at the youth culture. Zappa´s criticism was smart and clever and his music was surely very good and entertaining. But I once spoke with Zappa, we had a controversy at a festival in Germany, and there he expressed disparaging about "the commies", he completely condemned all communists in a sweeping statement. He didn´t like radicals, and he didn´t realise that he was a radical himself. I think his consciousness was not particularly developed, whereas The Fugs... look, I´m still coming from the forties, I was a political radical, just before I became a radical artist, I was a traditional, more or less liberal(?) anarchist. We, The Fugs, were thus at least conscious about that we made a political predicate, and we felt our satire was serious and important. Naturally we wanted to have fun, but in addition still we had the strong political and social motivation with us. With Zappa one has the feeling it is only about having fun, just "having a good time"... which can be quite radical, too, particularly in a society which is not at all able to have their fun without beating someone up, getting drunk or... declaring war to another country. That´s America´s conception of having a good time. The Fugs were consciously more radical and less musical than The Mothers. The Mothers were critics at the culture and the way of life, whereas The Fugs criticized anything. We were also more literary, we used songs and poems of William Blake or Allen Ginsberg, for example."

— Band member Tuli Kupferberg, quoted in

"... we need a few Frank Zappas each generation to stand up for freedom against the torches."

Ed Sanders, Liner notes for Have I Offended Someone?, 1997.

"I think the kids are ready for everything on our albums and much more. The kids are ready for anything. I don't think our stuff is offensive in any way. (...) You mentioned the Fugs in comparison to us. The Fugs are not in good taste. They have a few bugs in their plan. One of them appeared on the David Susskind Show. I suppose their basic premise is 'You talk dirty on a rock and roll record and this will lead the way to freedom of speech.' This guy is sitting there in his chair and he couldn't care less about freedom of speech. He wants to be as cool as possible saying things like, 'Yeah man, sure. Yeah, we live in the Village.' They don't care about the musical end of what they're doing. They're overcome with the sociopolitical aspects."

Frank Zappa, Hit Parader, October 1967.

"Gail and I moved to New York in 1967 to play in the Garrick Theater on Bleecker Street. The first place we stayed, before we could find an apartment, was the Hotel Van Rensselaer on Eleventh Street. We were living in a small room on one of the upper floors. I was working on the album cover illustration for Absolutely Free at a desk by the window. I remember the place being so dirty I couldn't keep the soot off the artwork.

We lived on sandwiches and coffee from the Smiler's Deli around the corner. It was cold enough that a container of milk left on the outside windowsill wouldn't go bad for days (but when you brought it back in it was covered with soot). The Fugs, who were also working in the Village then, tried to launch a protest against Con Ed (the suspected source of this evil) by urging concerned citizens to mail their snot to the head office."


See Also