AG: So what I want to do this period is to talk about just what I understand of his (Ed Sanders) notion of “Investigative Poetry”, and the things that we’ve done in common (maybe touching on some things that he’ll go into in more extensive detail. I’ll just give my angle on the same).
I want to begin with a sample of.. This is something that I did that Ed approved or encouraged, (and) that I, actually, got a little bit out of Ed. It’s a song. Ed started The Fugs, a rock group, which also began in the early (19)60’s, rather the same time as (the) Peace Eye (bookstore) – (19)64. The Fugs would rehearse at the Peace Eye bookstore, and (it included) people that worked in the Holy Modal Rounders, later – (guitarist Steve) Weber, Tuli Kupferberg, soloist, Ed, soloist, a couple of other people that turned up in other bands. I keep seeing (members) now in other bands, people who played with Joni Mitchell or hanging around (places like) The Bitter End in New York. Apparently he was able to get hold of a lot of a lot of good musicians to back up the amateur poet singers of The Fugs.
I remember one of his early interesting songs was “Police State” – [Police State ? Police State Blues? – maybe, most probably Allen was thinking here of the early Fugs classic, CIA Man]
In other words, he was taking that kind of literary political material and investing it into pop songs and rock songs, and making “a total assault on the culture”, making a real combine of high culture and low – police low-life and dope-fiend low-life hipness. So he was one of the first that introduced actual politics into rock music, and it actually affected a lot of other rock musicians. Because, when he was playing in Greenwich Village in a little theater, I remember Paul McCartney (of The Beatles) came and people from the (Rolling) Stones band came – other musicians, who were commercially better set-up but who were really curious and interested in seeing the sophistication and intelligence and obvious high balletic quality of what Sanders was doing (in terms of body movements, as well as language).
[Audio for the above can be heard here, beginning at approximately twenty-four-and-a-quarter minutes in, through to approximately twenty-seven minutes in]