Originally published in Flagpole Magazine, July 6, 2011
There are about a billion places that you could start to unravel the nearly four decades of madness that is the musical career of R. Stevie Moore, but let’s start with a number: 400. That’s approximately how many albums he has recorded since he started in the ’60s, and that’s actually a low estimate. And here’s where it starts to get really nuts: he did most of the recording entirely on his own.
Moore has been called a lot of things: the Godfather of DIY recording, this country’s greatest undiscovered talent, a creative genius, etc. His legacy dates back to 1952, when he was born in Nashville—the eldest son of Bob Moore, famous Nashville session bassist for the likes of Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison. Very early on, Moore had access to both instruments and recording gear. According to the extremely detailed timeline on Moore’s website, he made his first home recordings at age 16.
While continually recording, learning music and doing some session work in studios around Nashville, Moore also delved into the blossoming post-punk scene of the ’70s and ’80s in the New York/ New Jersey area.
By 1982 Moore had launched the R. Stevie Moore Cassette Club, through which he distributed his home-recorded, hand-labeled records via subscription to what would become a loving, dedicated fanbase. Over those hundreds of releases he has covered a lot of ground—from post punk to metal to experimental noise to comedy to pop, all the way back to the Grand Ole Opry country of Nashville… not to mention plenty of deranged, homemade videos.
Luckily for us, Moore has enough ego and eccentricity to share that creativity which has already inspired numerous artists—from experimental L.A. freak folk-er Ariel Pink to local act The Apples in Stereo and countless others. And in this digital age, Moore now has many more channels through which to funnel his music, including YouTube and numerous MySpace accounts. He has even taken advantage of Kickstarter, creating an account there to fund this, his first-ever extended tour.
If you’ve gone this long without hearing of Moore, do yourself a favor and head to this show. You only get to see genius every so often.
Link to original online publication