September 16, 2003

Lester Bangs, on the Fugs:

One day I walked in & bought the second Fugs album, took it home & was astounded, came back & asked the clerk what the first Fugs album sounded like. "Oh, just a little more primitive," she smiled, a bit sarcastically I thought. I couldn't imagine at the time how anything could possibly be more primitive than the second Fugs album (when I heard The Fugs First Album, of course, I found out). When I played "Virgin Forest" on that second album for my nephew, he had a word for the Fugs: "These people are sick," he said.

No, they weren't. They were poets, with a bedrock-primitive folkie guitarswatter or two thrown in to round out the hairmoon pie. Ed Sanders & Tuli Kupferberg had enjoyed quite respectable careers as beatniks on the Lower East Side for several years before forming the band with Ken Weaver, Peter Stampfel, Steve Weber & several others who shifted from album to album. So don't ever make the Seventies mistake of thinking they did this stuff just to get famous. They did it to EXPRESS THEMSELVES (let us recall that the cover of the later Fugs Four, Rounders Score was painted by a chimp)!

Lyrics to:

If You Want to Be President
by The Fugs

If you want to be President
A very long while
Be sure you invade
A very small isle
For if it is tiny
And it's soldiers are few
They'll never make
A fool out of you
You may kill with impunity
Kill for a lark
If the color of your victims
Is rather dark
And all of the Americans
Will love you too
If the total dead Americans
Is rather few
But when the numbers mount up
As they did in Vietnam
Then you could be
In a big political jam
So invade a tiny island
Where the soldiers are naive
And leave Nicaragua
To the mercenaries
And always kill people
For their own good
Ban meetings, censor papers
For Libertyhood
Postpone the elections
That you said you sought
For what if the results
Are not what they ought?
Protect all Americans
Kill a lesser breed
It's the black man's burden
It's your blood lust that you feed
Old soldiers never die
They only kill
And movie stars with general's bars
They fill the corporate till
Someone else's suffering
It's int'resting to see
You can watch it every night
On CBS or NBC
Though we can only have
One nuclear war
Well 1,2,3 Vietnams
We can have even more
So if you want to stay President
A very long while
Be sure you invade
A tiny tiny isle
For if it's small enough
And it's soldiers very few
It can never make
A fool out of you...
(I think)

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