[Issue 004]


Over the last 40 years, R Stevie Moore (son of Nashville bass legend Bob) has dedicated his life to crafting home recorded albums, most of which have been released on his own label, the CDRSMCLUB (formerly the RSM Cassette Club). Over this period, he’s proved a master of the art of songcraft, as well as a talented multi-instrumentalist and producer, often working with limited time, equipment and funds. However, whilst his talent and unmatchable work rate have resulted in a good degree of underground recognition over the years, a string of bad luck and broken promises, combined with his own refusal to compromise, have meant that mainstream success has managed to elude him.

His recorded work has covered just about every genre imaginable, as well as inventing more than his fair share along the way - from Psych-Pop to Hip Hop, Spoken Word to Found Sound, his oeuvre is as beguiling as it is intriguing, making him a very significant contributor to the untold history of recorded music. Recent years have seen a growing trend for “Lo-Fi” production values and non-conformist approaches to the industry, but R Stevie was there long before these things came into vogue, carving his own path in an environment completely free from the rules and regulations imposed on any artist contracted to a third party.

Given the nature of RSM’s career and output, it was surely only a matter of time until Cherry Red stumbled upon him, and indeed stumble we have. The result of six months of ceaseless communication and hours upon hours of listening and reading is “Meet R Stevie Moore”.

Compiled in collaboration with Stevie himself, this “Introduction to the Godfather of Home Recording” provides a fascinating window into the more accessible areas of his early work, covering material recorded between 1974 and 1986. Difficult as it was to ignore some of the less conventional work, we’ve managed to produce a disc crammed with what Stevie and ourselves believe to be the highlights of this period of his career. We both hope this package will provide plenty to pique the interest and send the listener on an R Stevie Moore journey of their own.

To celebrate the release and try to gain some insight into his world, we ran a few questions past the man himself with typically RSM-centric results…..

Firstly, how did the title "Meet R Stevie Moore" come about?

I am but a stranger in a strange land, so I outstretch my friendly handshake because I wish to make thy acquaintance. How did I get here? You don't know me yet? Friend request, thanks for the add, counsel. Is it or isn't it too obvious? Welcome me like you welcomed The Beatles, The Residents, Danny Wilson, John Doe, Me in St. Louis, The Raisins, Mr. Callaghan, The Press, The Fockers, etc. Meet bread and potatoes. Abbott and Costello Meet RSTVMO. Never the Twain shall meet Shania. Whaaa... say you wanna break off our new relationship already? Ahh, ‘til we meet again...

Do any amusing anecdotes relating to any of these recordings spring to mind?

Countless, likely. And yet, because these homemade sessions came from over 30 years ago, clear memory is way foggy, yo. For me, in retrospect, the entire general atmosphere of the era & locale was amusing - naive little me making such high-intensive quirky lo-fi Britpoprock in a world of Allman Brothers & Waylon. And in addition, I recorded these all alone from the bottom up, so there were pro’lly less amusing anecdotes than if I was directly dealing with other human beans and we could make each other laff. What IS amusing is how on earth did I ever make these sound-on-sound overdubs succeed so well? No multitracks back then and no Dolby noise reduction; just 2 consumer mic/line mixing 7inch reel-to-reels, 1/4 track stereo 7 1/2 ips, building multiple generations of tape hiss. And drums usually added LAST?? Appalling. Amusing, that. RSM absolutely accomplished the impossible.

Presumably there are other standout tracks which didn't make the final cut - can you run us through a few.

You are soo not even kidding right now? Really? When? Methinks we snagged the standout tracks for this disc, naturally? Others merely wouldn't fit, or it was clear that quantity overkill was a sensible must to avoid. Rest assured there are ultra-numerous additional songs in the archives that are just as good if not necessarily quite as. Of all my dozens of styles. Meet… Volume 2! Jukebox set....

With so many recordings under your belt, it must be difficult to keep track of your own tastes - do you have a particular favourite song or album ? Or is a preferred era about as close as you can pinpoint things?

No no no. I'm so often ranting lately about how ridiculous our whole culture has become about its constant required urgency to “rank” everything... The Great Debate: unbiased opinions of recommended favourites, best all time greatest picks, desert island top 10 lists, bare essentials must-haves, forcing narrowed down competing items in any general context… oh please! Absurd. I like it all all the time and there are never any firm final lists... of anything. Shifts. And it looks like I'll never change - wish I could actually sense what it's like for everyone else to honestly rate a favourite and stick with it eternally. Moods and tastes vary so much over the slightest change of time & season, that why would anyone even worry about it? Extreme stylistic variety, people! Revolt! Both apples and oranges during both summers and winters. I favour the opposite of expectation, even my own. One minute I truly prefer my early innocent 70s Nashville period, then the next it's defiantly my early pretentious 80s minimalist experimentation, then OTOH it's quite proven "fact" that my more recent serious digital studio polish towers above all the ancient inferior analogue “demos” of yore. No, wait! GOTTA HAVE IT ALL. Pinpoint THAT.

I know you had a run-in with The Residents in the '70's - what happened there?

Run-in? More like a drive-by! ‘twas all too brief: they indeed took high notice of my krazee song "Goodbye Piano" and actually contacted me in '78, which sent my underground showbiz pipe dreams into orbit! At the time I desperately craved to get a release on their celebrated Ralph Records label, but mayhaps I was simply too mainstream-y for them and it was simply not to be. But anyway, I boldly reprinted their entire letter to me as a full page advert in a music mag without bothering to ask their prior permission. Guess I deserved a barebutt spankin' for that. It didn't fuckin' help my do-or-die plight regardless.

What are R Stevie's plans for 2008?

I wish I knew. Pray to Bob that this sparkling new Cherry Red disc outsells all my previous records combined. Bah! Optimism? Haille unlikely! This doomed veteran plans to be disappointed, betrayed, dumbfounded, robbed, underachieved, ignored, ridiculed, alienated - and NOT by my own doing! MEET THE NEW BAHS, SAME AS THE OLD BAHS. BAH!!

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