The Fugs (Freak Folk)

Who are The Fugs?: The Fugs are a freak folk band (founded in 1964 in New York City)–defined by their satirical (and ‘obscene’–considering the time-period) lyrics, loose playing style, and liberal political leanings (which is plainly apparent if you are even just half-listening to one of their albums).

Ed Sanders, the lead vocalist (to this day), emphasizes in an interview that the band owes much of its identity to the Civil Rights era, and the many marches/events they religiously attended in the South.

During the band’s initial years (1964-1969), they released seven albums. They released their first album via a small record label named ESP Disk. The royalties earned by the band–as spelled out in the contract–amounted to a mere 3% (which is one of the lowest in history). After breaking up in 1969, they spent almost two decades pursuing personal projects. In 1985, they decided to get back together–and they have yet to break up for a second time.

In retrospect, they are one of the very first beloved ‘underground’ rock bands. David Bowie named their self-titled album The Fugs as one of his 25 favorite albums of all time.

Interesting Fact: The band’s name comes from a euphemism for the word “fuck”–used in Norman Mailer’s novel  The Naked and The Dead. 

Recommended Listening: “I Want To Know” from their self-titled album The Fugs. This is a more approachable song–something for a ‘picky’ listener (which I assume a lot of people are–in one way or another). If you truly want to delve into their discography, I would recommend looking up “Dirty Old Man” or “I Couldn’t Get High” or “Boobs a Lot”.

 

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