Tuli Kupferberg was a mentor to all of us who grew up in the ’60s and sensed there was more to life than shuffling off to Vietnam and, if you returned, getting a job as an accountant and paying off a white picket fenced home in Levitttown. Like a Colossus he bridged the worlds of the literary Beats and the hedonistic hippies and infused his gentle, pacifist worldview into everything he did. His work would make you laugh out loud and cry inside. Watching him perform his incredible songs like “Nothing”, “Morning Morning”, and “Kill for Peace” with The Fugs was a cultural revelation and more mind-altering than any psychedelic. The fact that Tuli continues to make his voice heard, via You Tube, at 86, and after two debilitating strokes, makes him an American treasure and puts all of us who can still feel greatly in his debt.
Kupferberg co-founded the Fugs in 1965 and has continued performing until now. He’s 86, recently had two stokes that have left him incapacitated and nearly blind. Since our health care system sucks, he’s got bills he can’t pay.
On Jan 22. there will be a benefit concert for him in NYC with the Fugs, Sonic Youth, Lou Reed, John Zorn, and others. Donate here. I just did.