Although GBV have been at it for almost a decade they are beat in the longevity department by R. Stevie Moore who has been home taping since 1968 and selling his recordings through his Cassette Club. With over 200 tapes to his credit and more constantly in progress 43 year old Stevie has turned his hobby into a unique cottage industry supplemented by running a record store.
R. Stevie's voice is pleasant, at times speedy as hell, other times monotone; his 'songs' are utterly and completely unpredictable. Cover versions include Slade's "Mama Weer All Crazee Now," "Chantilly Lace" and Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun." His originals sometimes contain spoken word (pretty awful poetry) or spooky, tormented babbling. Musically we're reminded of Todd Rundgren, the Bonzo Dog Band, AM radio rock, Cheap Trick, and acknowledged fave, Brian Wilson. Lyrically, as with most pop, the subject matter is primarily love won, lost and forgotten...in Stevie style that is.
For proof of Moore's notoreity look no further than Ira A. Robbins' Trouser Press Record Guide (Robbins being the most respected rock reviewer around, sez BOAC) which positively gushes over the man and winds up by stating "The American record industry's failure to recognize and promote the unique gifts of this giant talent is a case of criminal neglect." And hey, not just any Joe gets his home studio reviewed in Musician magazine (6/83).
Write R. Stevie for his 6 page catalogue of tapes available, or just do what BOAC did and send him some money and ask for his latest tape or a collection. With some 200 titles he's sure to have something for you. [No Alex or Big Star covers, I checked]. I happily ended up with Phonography, Unpopular Singer (both volumes) and Teenage Spectacular among other gems. Perhaps Everything You Always Wanted to Know About R. Stevie Moore but Were Afraid to Ask, would be a good place to begin. C90 tapes are $8, C60 are $6 and, if you buy two you get one free (way to go Stevie). There are also a couple of CD collections which are a whopping $18; it seems to me in this situation buying the CD would somehow defeat the purpose, but no matter, whatever the format I'd urge any music lover to experience the twisted beauty of Mr. Moore's tunes.
~~~Judith Beeman >