Monday, January 14, 2013

Artists I Get: R. Stevie Moore

R. Stevie Moore - Courtesy United Mutations 

The past two weeks were dedicated to artists I don't get, but I'm making things more positive at The Lost Soul of Rock and Roll and will focus upon artists that I do get. I'm hoping to spread the word about some artists that you don't know, so they can gain some more appreciation from the rock and roll community. The first artist I'll examine for this series is R. Stevie Moore.

R. Stevie Moore is a multi instrumental do-it-yourself artist that began his career during the 1960's, and has recorded and released an estimated four hundred albums from the confines of his homes in Tennessee and New Jersey. That was not a typo on my part when I mentioned four hundred albums. All of his albums were (and still are) self-released via mail order. Moore was able to develop a cult following, but during the past five years, it seems that more people are getting to know R. Stevie Moore.

What else is there to know about this truly prolific artist? He grew up in Tennessee, but later moved to New Jersey, when the punk movement hit the east coast. Moore comes from a great musical background where his father was a famous session musician who played with artists like Elvis Presley.

For over forty years, he has created a massive catalog of wonderfully weird and original tunes that doesn't have a specific sound or style because Moore knows music and can create anything from an avant-garde piece to a sweet pop tune. The reason I get Moore is because he knows rock and roll music and wants to create his own music on his terms. Moore's boldness or stubbornness did not equal major success at first, but he has truly paid his dues. 

I first discovered R. Stevie Moore five or six years ago while doing some research on outsider music. Artists that do not play by the rules of mainstream music are stamped with the label of 'outsider music', and I urge you to explore that musical universe. Your world will be changed by the cool music you'll discover. I was impressed when I discovered the music of R. Stevie Moore. One of the first songs I heard was 'I Like To Stay Home', a bouncy pop rock ode to chillin' at the crib in order to avoid the nonsense of the outside world. Check out the video of R. Stevie Moore performing 'I Like To Stay Home' on a New Jersey cable access show circa 1987.

Not only has Moore released some four hundred albums, but you can find numerous homemade music videos by Moore on YouTube. The next song I'm going to share is 'Under the Light' from his 1976 release, Play. The video was recorded during the late 1980's at Moore's apartment in New Jersey. 'Under the Light' is another great example of Moore's under-appreciated work. Forget the lo-fi hiss and take in this cool rock tune. On a side note, I wish that Moore would have put on a shirt for his video.

For those of you that need some polished rock and roll music, then check out Moore's cover of Martin Newell's 'I Wasn't Drinking (I Was Just Tired)'. Pure and straightforward, 'I Wasn't Drinking (I Was Just Tired)' shows Moore going strong all those years after leaving Tennessee. As a Guided By Voices fan, it was cool to see Moore and friends recording this song in a basement with a 'Do The Collapse' era sticker in the background.

What I like about R. Stevie Moore is that he has the ability to tackle any genre under the rock and roll umbrella and produce something very cool but original. His catalog has something that will interest all kinds of music fans. I'm going to leave you with a fun new wave number titled 'Conflict of Interest'. Enjoy.

The official R. Stevie Moore website:

TonyDoug Wright is The Lost Soul of Rock and Roll and is also the head writer and owner of Champion City Comics. Follow him @TonyDougWright on Twitter.

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