SPIN Magazine's Bobby Guccione Jr. tracks down the King of Elusive, who's in no mood to be reminded again.
"You know, we never really gave him the chance he deserved...but we always wanted to!" admitted Kurt Loder and David Fricke, when I hurriedly confronted them about their famed early 'discovery' of R. Stevie Moore. Rock legend is nestled in this tidbit of indie happenstance, a picture perfect definition of 'if only we'd known...' Year is 1978, long before most of you kids were around: a super-talented Tennessee boy sheepishly invades the Big Apple, dozens of true masterpieces under his arm. To make his mark, right as punk and new wave are exploding. Perfect timing. Fortunes appear within reach, yet... R. Stevie can never quite get his teeth around it in time. The apple quickly goes sour.
"It's as if I never came," mutters Moore over a sloe gin fizz in the bar at the posh Manhattan Warwick Hotel
|(where he's procured a busboy job). "18 years is a fucking long time to be still waiting reaction to my musical resume," he says. This pathetic text-book case of 'mr. wrong place, wrong time' is clearly anguished at the eternal parade of DIY alt-pop gods who've effortlessly stolen his throne time and time again, from your David Byrnes, Thomases, Hassellhoffs, Robyn Hitchcocks & Quivers and Beck Hansens & Hansons, all the way up to this week's models like your Robert Pollards and Stephen Malkmuses. "Where did I go wrong??" R. Sturston tearfully begs. (I'd genuinely like to help him, but have no clue how. Pity.)|
His story has been told ad infinitum: the famous father, the thousands of home cassettes, the stupifying one-off gigs, the pioneering WFMU radioshows, the self-glorified defeatest attitude, the health problems, the failed ventures, the poverty, etcetera etcetera. VH-1, take note. Every rock fan worth his grain of salt knows the cornucopia of ups & downs this gent has harbored. Many if not most, by now have heard sundry snippets of his VAST oervre. To this day, the editors of SPIN have celebrated the fact that, R. Stevie Moore is SO CLOSE to Dylan-styled deification that even a Clive Davis can smell it! But, no matter. "It simply won't happen," exclaims critic cum laude Dave Marsh. "Moore bathes in formaldehyde."
As if it were that easy to conclude. R. Stevie Moore has baffled A&R, fans, critics and employers for decades. Common rock protocol goes out the window with this honery maverick. His latest album, the stunning Autopsy Party is rife with mock-suicidal penmanship, other-worldly anti-sound, gershwinesque popcraft, and an unexplainably hefty $19.98 list price that all but buries his chances at any curiosity-seeker impulse purchases. "Everybody picks it up, and then puts it right back," states Nazz the Spazz, national music buyer for Walmart. "If only they dared challenge themselves to hear what's inside!"
Moore is beside himself. "Is that me? Or... is this me here?" He's distracted away from our interview with his new Mattel/IMac laptop, valiantly waving his arms and pointing fingers into his cyber-art, paying no attention to my Q&A format. "Could you please put this in your mag?", referring to his queer demonstration on "the best way to truly enter RSTEVIEMOORE.COM " I advise him, "they already know all about it!" RSM returns the quip: "Please prove it to me? I have my doubts, you dig?"
Then and only then, we stop.
At this point, Loder utters: "Have you seen his website? NO, I MEAN TODAY!?"
TO BE CONTINUED