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The Ed Sanders Archive

The Fugs

Publicity photo of the Fugs in a Greenwich Village park in the summer of 1966.

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In 1964, after watching Robert Creeley and Amiri Baraka (then LeRoi Jones) dancing to the jukebox at the Dom, Ed Sanders proclaimed to Tuli Kupferberg, “We’ll set poetry to music.” Tuli agreed and the two went on to form the Fugs.

Sanders explains: “We drew inspiration for the Fugs from a long and varied tradition going all the way back to the dances of Dionysus in the ancient Greek plays and the ‘Theory of the Spectacle’ in Aristotle’s Poetics and moving forward to the famous premiere performance of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi in 1896, to the poèmes simultanés of the Dadaists in Zurich’s Cabaret Voltaire in 1916, to the jazz-poetry of the Beats, to Charlie Parker’s seething sax, to the silence of John Cage, to the calm pushiness of the Happening movement, to the songs of the civil rights movement, and to our belief that there were oodles of freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution that were not being used.”

Robert Christgau, the “dean of American Rock criticism,” writing in the Village Voice declared that the band was the “Lower East Side's first true underground band” (Robert Christagau, “Teach Yourself Fugging: The Lower East Side's First Underground Band Refuses to Burn Out.” Village Voice, February 26, 2002) and Ben Ratliffe in the New York Times called them “a scabrous, joyous, poetic-satiric, sort-of rock band” (Ben Ratliff, “Present at the Counterculture’s Creation.” New York Times, January 11, 2012).

Ed Sanders has saved and collected items that document all aspects of the Fugs’ creative life. Those documents place the Fugs not only within American musical history, but also within American poetic and cultural history. Included in The Ed Sanders Archive are five boxes of Fugs photos, 13 boxes that document the complete history of the Fugs (1965–2010), and approximately 7 boxes of master tapes for Fugs albums, CDs, as well as live performance and demo tapes. In addition, Sanders has collected approximately 200 tapes of songs by fellow poet and Fug, Tuli Kupferberg (many unique and currently unreleased).

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Program from the Fugs’ very successful run of over 700 performances, during 1966 and 1967 at the Players Theatre (Café Wha? was located in the building’s basement) on MacDougal Street. During the fall and summer the band played three nightly weekend shows often to full or sold out audiences. “An Evening with the Fugs!” was presented by “Julius Orlovsky & Aleister Crowley in association with the Hydrogen Foot Fetish Society of America, Inc.”

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“The Fugs are back from their cross-country tour / dope-grope rock ‘n’ roll, meat shrieks & rice paddy frenzy” flyer, 1965. Designed and printed by Ed Sanders at Peace Eye.

 

Last page of Ed Sanders’ 5 pages of handwritten notes for the hoped for underground dance sensation, “The Gobble,” 1964 or early 1965.

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Flyer for a three-day Fug Festival, The Last End Theatre, New York City, March 29, 30 and April 5, 1965.

“THEY’RE HERE!! Back by popular demand, The Fugs! The most unbelievable singing group in the history of Western civilization!!”

The festival “featured the world premiere of what we actually hoped might become an underground dance sensation: ‘The Gobble.’ Unfortunately, it was about forty years ahead of its time.” Designed and printed by Ed Sanders at Peace Eye.

Flyer for the Fugs benefit performance at “A Night of Napalm” at The Bridge, New York City, August 7, 1965. Designed and printed by Ed Sanders at Peace Eye.

“[W]e enacted what we called “The Fugs Spaghetti Death.” We had boiled pot after pot of spaghetti at Betsy Klein’s apartment that afternoon until we had almost an entire wastebasket full of spaghetti. We threw globs of the spaghetti at one another and at the audience. It was all over the stage, and we began to slip, slide, and fall.

I spotted Andy Warhol in the front row. It appeared that he was wearing a leather tie—then blap! I got him full face with a glop of spaghetti.”

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Flyer for Vietnam Day Committee campus benefit, Berkeley Community Theatre, 1965.

“Friday October 22 8PM Wowie !! The Fantastic Four VDC [Vietnam Day Committee] Campus Benefit … Featuring Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Alan [sic] Ginsberg, Paul Krassner, Ed Sanders and *gasp* the Fugs.”

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Flyer for the Fugs’ performance at Café Au Go Go, December 26, 1965. Designed and printed by Ed Sanders at Peace Eye.

“For me the weeks The Fugs played the Cafe Au Go Go were a time of wonderment.”

 

 

Flyer for "A Benefit for Jack Smith, Jack Martin, Dale Wilbourn, Irene Noland, & Piero Heliczer" featuring the Fugs at the Village Gate, August 22, 1965. Designed and printed by Ed Sanders at Peace Eye.

“Protest against the rudeness, brusqueness, crudeness & violence of Narcotics Agents!!”

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Ticket for the Fugs double bill with Anthony & the Imperials, at El Patio Beach Club, Lido Beach, New York, July 29, 1966.

“One interesting gig for The Fugs the summer of ’66 was at the El Patio Beach Club, billed as a ‘College Mixer’ with Little Anthony and the Imperials. ‘Girls not permitted in slacks,’ the ticket read. It was exciting to share the bill with the creators of top-ten classics such as the doo-wop ‘Tears on My Pillow’ of ’58 and 1960’s ‘Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko Ko Bop.’”

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Poster for the Fugs “Final U.S.A. Performance Prior to Concert Tour of England,” Town Hall, New York City, June 12, 1966.

According to the poster: “The Fugs giving the wildest sounds of body-poetry,—peace-mantras and skinflowers” uptown at Town Hall, June 12, 1966. The band was given a very positive review by the New York Times’ Robert Shelton: “While obviously far out by most accepted standards of popular music, the Fugs are clever, biting and effective satirists. In settings of poems by William Blake and Charles Olson, they showed a gentler nature. While not for every taste, the group can be commended for its originality, courage and wit.”

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Postcard from Panna Grady to Ed Sanders, September 13, 1966.

Ed was a friend of socialite Panna Grady, often attending parties at her apartment in The Dakota. He worked hard at getting Charles Olson together with Panna and finally succeeded. She sent Ed this postcard from Gloucester saying: “Charles [Olson] said—two nights ago—why don’t we send you a telegram—haven’t seen him since to do it so this is instead to tell you we both would like to make the visit we’d planned earlier with your wife and child. I’ll be here till mid-Oct., so anytime.”

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A Fugs publicity photo from 1966. Left to right: Ed Sanders, Lee Crabtree, Pete Kearey, John Anderson, Vinny Leary, and Ken Weaver. Photo: Tim Boxer.

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Proof of Allen Ginsberg’s liner notes for the Fugs’ second album, The Fugs, 1966.
(Re-released on CD in 1993 as The Fugs Second Album.)

 

The Fugs playing at Astor Place Playhouse, New York City, spring 1966. Left to right: Peter Kearney, Vinny Leary, Ken Weaver, Ed Sanders, Tuli Kupferberg, and Lee Crabtree. Photo: Tim Boxer.

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Ted Berrigan, “The Secrets of Time” lyrics for the Fugs, early 1966.

 

Proof sheets for Richard Avedon’s photo shoot of the Fugs for their Tenderness Junction album, September 25, 1967.

Ed Sanders asked his friend and fashion photographer Richard Avedon to design and take pictures for the Fugs’ third album Tenderness Junction.

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Handwritten draft of the lyrics for “The Belle of Avenue A” that appeared on the Fugs’ 1969 The Belle of Avenue A studio album.

 

Lyrics for Ed Sanders’ reworking of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, 1966.

According to Ed, “Allen Ginsberg didn’t like the use of Howl lines in the song The ‘I Saw the Best Minds of My Generation’ Rock.” Ed agreed.

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Title page for Songs by Sanders & Ginsberg, ca. 1965.

“[A] tape with thirteen songs written and sung by Ed Sanders accompanied by his inimitable auto harp and one song composed and sung by Allen Ginsberg. Mr. Ginsberg has composed a melody to one of William Blake’s most beautiful poems, ‘The Grey Monk,’ ” Was sent with the book.

 

Music sheet for “Saran Wrap” by Ed Sanders, released on The Fugs First Album.

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Lead sheet for “Slum Goddess” by Ken Weaver, released on The Fugs First Album.

 

Ed Sanders’ handwritten chords and lyrics for “The War Song,” released on the Fugs 1968 Tenderness Junction.

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“I Don’t Feel Right Goin Out with Your Mother (While Your Father Wont Date My Daughter),” handwritten lyrics by Tuli Kupferberg.

 

“The Fug Song Book, prepared by Ed Sanders, Ken Weaver, & Betsey Klein at the evil Peace Eye Bookstore,” 1966.

This is one of two binders containing the Fugs performance lyrics, 1965–1966. This one belonged to Lee Crabtree, the Fugs’ drummer.

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Poster for the Fugs playing with Allen Ginsberg and Country Joe MacDonald at the Byrdcliffe Barn, Woodstock, August 13 and 14, 1989.

 

Poster for the Fugs playing with Shiva’s Headband at the Vulcan Gas Co., Austin, February 22, 1969. Artwork by Jim Franklin.

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