Interview: Moe Tucker of the Velvet Underground Sets the Record Straight

Categories: Interviews
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A 1966 Velvet Underground press shot. Moe Tucker is on the bottom right.
In April 2009, WALB-TV aired a story about a Tea Party rally in nearby Tifton, Georgia. About two-and-a-half minutes into the feature, one "Maureen Tucker, Tea Party Supporter" was quoted as saying, "I'm furious about the way we're being led toward socialism. I'm furious about the incredible waste of money, when things that we really need and are important get dropped, because there's no money left."

Eighteen months later, the news story somehow ended up posted on YouTube, and the blogosphere started buzzing. Could this actually be Moe Tucker, former drummer for the Velvet Underground, one of the most influential and iconic rock bands of all time? All signs pointed to yes. It certainly looked like Tucker, and it was well known that she'd moved to southern Georgia with her family decades earlier. The Huffington Post confirmed the story by reaching Tucker at home; she wouldn't discuss the matter or her political views any further.

For a few days - practically dog years in Internet time - the reaction was swift and furious. Liberals declared themselves depressed and shocked that one of their idols was caught on tape speaking out against a Democratic administration. Some conservatives, meanwhile, congratulated her on her courage and welcomed her to their presumptive fold next to noted right-wing rockers Johnny Ramone and Alice Cooper.

We were curious to know more from Tucker herself, so we tracked her down and asked for an interview. She agreed to answer some questions via email.


Mike Appelstein: In the now-infamous videotape, you indicated that you're furious about the way we're being led toward socialism and "incredible waste of money" being spent. Could you elaborate a bit on these sentiments?
Moe Tucker: No country can provide all things for all citizens. There comes a point where it just isn't possible, and it's proven to be a failure everywhere it's been tried. I am not oblivious to the plight of the poor, but I don't see any reason/sense to the idea that everyone has to have everything, especially when the economy is so bad. I see that philosophy as merely a ploy to control.

My family was damn poor when I was growing up on Long Island. There were no food stamps, no Medicaid, no welfare. If you were poor, you were poor. You didn't have a TV, you didn't have five pairs of shoes, you didn't have Levi's, you didn't have a phone; you ate Spam, hot dogs and spaghetti. We all survived! I am not against food stamps, welfare or Medicaid, if only they would oversee these programs properly!

I am also against the government taking over the student loan program, car companies, bailouts and the White House taking control of the census (what the hell is that all about?); [about] any First Lady telling (I know, I know, "suggesting to") us what to eat, the mayor of New York City declaring "no salt" (screw you, pal!), the mayor/city commissioners of Anytown, U.S.A. declaring you can't fly a flag, can't say the Pledge of Allegiance and can't sing the National Anthem. I'm against a President dismissing any and all who dare to disagree; the water being turned off in (central) California, at [an] area where they've turned off the water because they want to save a one-inch fish -- turning that huge area of farming land into another dustbowl -- the insipid start of food supply control methinks! The government deciding what kind of lightbulbs we can use (all you "think green" people, three objections to this b.s.: 1) Those bulbs give off the light of a candle; 2) They're very expensive; 3) They have mercury in them - how the hell are we supposed to dispose of them?).

I am against the government now thinking about bailing out unions. The unions made the contracts which include insane pensions; the U.S. government didn't. I'm against the government closing down offshore drilling in the Gulf with one hand and with the other giving (lending?) Brazil money to help them do way deeper offshore drilling -- rather curious. I'm against a government that will not defend our borders; and on and on and on.

As a lead-in to the next part of your question: Today it was announced that there would be no cost of living increase for Social Security recipients because "there's no inflation." I'd love to know what makes them think that! Where the hell do they shop? Prices have been rising for over a year. Inflation is a natural happening, I know. But why is it that suddenly food prices don't go up two or three or five cents, but instead they're going up 40, 50, 60 cents at a clip? No inflation my ass!

My anger stems from the unbelievable (criminal!) waste of money on pork and earmarks. It drives me nuts to see that X millions are being allocated to build a turtle tunnel, a donkey museum, a salamander crossing, etc, etc, etc. Billions spent every friggin' year on totally unnecessary crap so that these Congressbums can tell their constituents that they "brought home the bacon" and get re-elected. I'm sorry, but I don't want to pay for any Congress SOB's vote buying, and sure as hell not in these very very worrisome times!

What specifically about the current administration do you disagree with?
I disagree with spending / borrowing / printing -- damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!  I disagree with the "we won" attitude, which is the cowardly way of saying fuck you! I disagree with an administration that for twenty months blames Bush. If the President and his minions are so damn smart, why didn't they know the severity of the situation? The president has actually said (and I saw it on video) that they didn't know!

What would you like to see change?
The current administration!



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