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French piece about the new Tuli Album & English translat

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Joined: 05 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:48 pm    Post subject: French piece about the new Tuli Album & English translat Reply with quote

Tuli was the Keeper of the old bohemian Manhattan--Jeffrey Lewis

An underground legend, that’s Tuli Kupferberg (1923-2010). Co-founder of The Fugs in the winter of 1964-1965, when he was already in his forties, he will remain forever the oldest rocker in history! Although already twice the age of Bob Dylan, Lou Reed or Mick Jagger, to name only those, no one has effectively been more far out than Tuli. In the early 2000s, another Bohemian torchbearer, Jeffrey Lewis, was Tuli's friend, for whom he now organizes birthday memorial concerts every year, Tuli-Day.

Works By Tuli Kupferberg (Don Giovanni Records) illustrates some of Jeffrey’s finest arrangements, revisiting with brio four decades of mad creativity Kupferberg offered posterity. We find 60s classics (Morning Morning), unreleased songs (Listen to the Mockingbird), poems set to music (The And Song), a song parody (I Wanna Hold Your Foot) or later Fugs pieces (Try to Be Joyful). For the occasion, Jeffrey Lewis leads an exuberant cohort of "wild" men and women, including Peter Stampfel, an original member of The Fugs. This gave Jeffrey the chance to revive these songs with the same originality critically acclaimed for his other album of covers: 12 Crass Songs.
Whether you're a fan of The Fugs or Jeffrey Lewis, Works by Tuli Kupferberg is an incredible psychedelic ride through the hidden history of New York punk folk ‘sub-genius'.

Scribouille: What made you create this record of covers dedicated to Tuli Kupferberg?

Jeffrey Lewis (J.L.): This album is a kind of extension of the previous one, Manhattan. Tuli was for me the insurer of a certain cultural mood peculiar to Old Manhattan-Bohemia. With his death and Lou Reed’s, a whole part of this culture disappeared without anyone really having carried it on. If Lou Reed had become a symbol of New York City for the whole world, Tuli was something more local, above all, more specific. He represented Manhattan for the people of Manhattan. I had to perpetuate this heritage as much as possible, while having a more modern approach.

Scribouille: Tuli left behind a considerable work, qualitatively and quantitatively. How did you decide which title would appear on the album?

J. L.: The important thing was to be able to extract the best part of the songs to revisit. It seemed impossible to me to make good covers of certain songs among the most well- known . I think I had a a hell of a time with Kill For Peace, Nothing or CIA Man whose original versions are just perfect. By contrast, listening to other things, like Life Is Strange, Try To Be Joyful or No Deposit No Return, I managed to envision a new and better way to interpret them, to carry the ideas that they convey while making them sound different. And then there are those other songs that have never been recorded, some funny lyrics that I found in a book, and I really took a great pleasure in bringing them to life by trying to do them the way that Tuli would have liked.

Scribouille: Finally, I find that the album reflects quite well the different facets of the artist that was Tuli. Is that something you thought about or did it come naturally?

J. L.: It came naturally because, in a way, Tuli was like a member of my family. My uncle, my father, my grandparents, the lives they lived, their way of speaking, their reading matter, their sense of humor, all that I found in Tuli. When I met him for the first time, I really felt like I was with an old uncle I had never seen before or something like that. My drummer Dave even said to me one day: "It's crazy, we would think he’s you! Many people must have felt the same about him. So, I'm aware that it's totally gratuitous and unfair to say that because Tuli had his own life, of which I know little more than any other fan, and he had a family of his own and his own problems and I do not doubt that we have to differ on many levels. It's just that our similarities on crucial points, as well as a certain mutual understanding, were important to me, especially when I was launching this project.

Scribouille: This album is marked by spontaneity. I sometimes listen to it, eyes closed, and feel like I’m attending one of your concerts. So, I wonder and I ask you: was it intentional and how did you work that in the studio?

J. L.: There was clearly this idea of ​​doing things spontaneously. I was in the habit of gathering musicians every year for Tuli's birthday. We perform 10 songs we play on stage. But once this moment has passed, if you do not practice, you forget quickly! Suddenly, the year after, you find yourself starting the same process again: choosing songs, relearning them, working on new ones, making other musicians discover them, and rehearsing them for this little tribute concert to Tuli. You can quickly feel like wasting your time. I dreamed of going back to the studio with the musicians present, just one day after the concert, to record a record before we all forgot everything. But everyone was too busy with his own projects. I was too taken by mine. When I finally managed to get a band together, we barely remembered half the songs we'd played a few times before. Some of the recorded titles did not sound terrible and needed to be reworked. For others, it immediately worked perfectly and it went very quickly. But I must say that it took much longer than originally thought. Most of the disc was recorded in one day, but it still had to re-record some things, add instruments and voices or cut some songs that were too long.

Scribouille: It seems equally important to highlight the musicians who accompany you. Because it's not just your album but that of a collective. Besides, we find this community spirit that prevailed among Fugs. It was important to you?

J. L .: Yes, the "gang" side is something important, it almost borders on a cult! Like the "Manson Family" or the "Source Family"! But with more humor and a little less murder! Mingling young and old, men and women, is undeniably a plus for the album. The human race is just a mix. How could a band release a series of highly artistic and humanistic songs if its members are exactly the same? The Beatles and Rolling Stones would have been even better if there had been a greater mix. It's something the Velvet Underground had with Maureen Tucker or John Cale and his Welsh accent or Nico and her Germanic intonations. It was interesting. There was a bit of that also with the Fugs because Tuli was twice as old as the other members! They were all 20 years old when he was 40. But the Fugs would have been a much better group if there had been women. Imagine how great it would have been, if a pair of poets - crazy hippies from the East Side, young and old - had joined Ed (Sanders), Tuli and Ken (Weaver)? If someone like Patti Smith, a wild rock and roll poet, had been part of the band with her wild voice? But 1965 is very, very far back in time. It's a shame they didn’t think about that at the time.

Scribouille: Parallel to the release of this disc, let's discuss your news: Fuff # 12 finally is finished, in studio with Rouger Moutenot of late, and a new tour in Europe in April ... What can you tell us about all this?

J. L.: Just that time goes by too fast and it's a real frustration for me. I have so much to do, like my tax return, my working visas for the tour, renting cars etc. In fact, even making albums seems like a waste of time, really. The main thing is creativity: to have an idea and do something with it. I had not made a new comic book for two years, it's long ... Where does all this time go? Interviews, Facebook, posting tour posters ... I do not really know. I don’t know how to organize my time. Well, I should be working on something else at this moment, even…

Hervé Pugi

Thanks to Jeffrey for his availability and the staff of Don Giovanni Records
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the translation!!
Fun to do the interview in english, then the guy translated it into French, now I get to see it translated back to english, all the meaning is basically preserved even if the wording ends up a little different!
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for sharing
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