Kupferberg, pictured in 1968, first made his name in the 1950s as a Beat poet who was friendly with such literary greats as Allen Ginsberg. In the mid-’60s, he and fellow poet Ed Sanders formed the Fugs, an off-kilter folk band reportedly named after a euphemism employed frequently in Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead. The Fugs’ music went on to attract great acclaim and no small degree of controversy, boldly tackling topics like sex and drugs. They were also proudly outspoken about politics, participating in many protests against the ever-escalating Vietnam War. At one famous October 1967 event, the Fugs helped Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, and others attempt to symbolically levitate the Pentagon through music.
For more on Kupferberg’s lasting significance to the left-of-center artistic community in New York and beyond, you can start by reading about a tribute to him held this January in Brooklyn with the likes of Lou Reed and Sonic Youth.
Please join the Music Mix in sending our condolences to the friends and family of Tuli Kupferberg. Share your memories of Kupferberg and the Fugs in the comments, below.
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