Published on July 29th, 2013 | by Craig Silliphant0
The Fugs – Second Album
While they had releases prior to their “Second Album,” this was the one where it all came together for The Fugs — they were one of the first, if not THE first, modern underground band. The band formed in New York in the 60s, brought together by poets Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg and drummer Ken Weaver, taking their name from a euphemism for the word ‘fuck’ used in a Norman Mailer novel.
The Fugs leapt right into the fray with ‘Second Album’, honing their satirical edge and political ideas to create an album with vulgar sexual lyrics that was near unheard of, at least in popular radio circles. They are explicit and hilarious, using irony like a sharpened blade and taking aim at things like government oppression and The Vietnam War. Was it commentary? Was it comedy? Was it too serious to be funny? What the fuck was it?
‘Dirty Old Man’ tells the story of a weirdo hanging out near a school yard handing out drugs, porn, and commie literature, while ‘Kill for Peace’ ironically urges us to all be little zombie soldiers that kill anyone we (or America) hate. [“Kill, Kill, Kill for Peace/if you don’t like the people or the way that they talk/If you don’t like their manners or the way that they walk.”] In fact, they pissed off so many squares that lyrics from their first album were referenced by The FBI in the infamous FBI file on The Doors.
Though they could barely play their instruments before ‘Second Album,’ The Fugs had actually honed their chops by the time they recorded it. It’s sloppy, jangly, amazing psychedelic proto-garage rock, and it’s also full of spirit, charisma, humour, and hooks. Before I paid any attention to the lyrics, I had this shit stuck in my head.
And because they shattered the boundaries of taste and perception, The Fugs paved the way for all kinds of avant garde music and bands who favoured explicit lyrical content. Sure, if it hadn’t have been them, it would have been someone else, but they make it a fuck of a lot of fun. Or should I say, a fug of a lot of fun? Don’t worry, their jokes are better than mine — if you don’t have it, pick this album up NOW.