R. Stevie Moore and Musician's passion

by Michael James Farmer on Monday, January 31, 2011 at 2:07am

I'm working on something for the Velocity blog and I figured I'd get some scribbles out of the way here. This is about a musician I want you to check out and if you're not into the TL,DR of it all, then go to the bottom where all the links are.


Robert Steven Moore, baby-boomer, baby-boomerang. Son of Bob Moore, a legendary Nashville musician who played on some Elvis records. Born in Nashville, moved to New Jersey in his 20s, returned to Nashville very recently. Since the age of sixteen, he has recorded thousands of songs. He is a pioneer in the field of home recording and can play at least a dozen different musical instruments. Apart from the occasional love-letter blog (like this one) or magazine article, R. Stevie Moore is not famous because he's been too busy writing and recording to maintain a "career".

Charles Bukowski's short story "Would You Suggest Writing As A Career?" >>> Buk is the guest of honor at a university where he is to give a reading and a Q&A. One of the students asks him the titular question. Buk was too busy drinking and writing to have a "career". If you told Bukowski how important networking was, you'd be stupid. Networking may be important but it's nowhere near as important as WORKING ON YOUR CRAFT, FOR JESUS' SAKE!!! Must I yell this from the top of the highest mountain on the world's largest megaphone?

Some of the most successful people in entertainment have networked their way into it. I once saw Dave Navarro on TV wearing a shirt that read "Talentless But Connected" and that might sum up more of popular music over the last thirty years than anything I think of. Oh hell, let's just lump all of popular entertainment in there. Especially film. Bukowski did what pleased him, and that was drinking, screwing, gambling on horse races and writing. That's not a career, that's just what he did. Which is what R. Stevie Moore continues to do, at least when it comes to music and probably not when it comes to horse racing.

Let's talk about the strangeness of all this prolificness and archivery (I made that word up). Long before an iTunes, long before any Napster, there was R. Stevie Moore's Cassette Club, with hundreds of selections. Youthful experimental music, strange skits, a radio play about the music business "Apologies To Mr. Gottlieb", and yes, thousands of songs. Several times, indie record labels have attempted to compile the finest, most melodic musical flowers of RSM. I would suggest "Meet The R. Stevie Moore" for the uninitiated.

As if that weren't enough, RSM finally burned out on writing and recording in the late 80s and started making his own music videos. For songs that had been recorded years earlier, decades earlier for some. I know he has more than one Youtube account, but "autosam" has at least 165 videos to accompany his songs. The videos are so lo-fi they make the music sound like a Spector production. Mostly camcorder weirdness shot around his NJ apartment. And there was no Youtube in 1989, no way MTV would play this stuff not even on 120 Minutes. R. Stevie Moore could not have possibly forseen a forum where his videos could be seen by people all over the world with one click. Is there any explanation that would make sense besides "why not"? It's not like he had a career, much like Bukowski. No folks, what R. Stevie Moore had/has/now&forever is a PASSION!

It is PASSION that compels the music maker. And it is why we keep going, why we sometimes throw good money after bad, why we take risks and follow our muse. There is no point in playing the game when the game does not explicitly involve the thing you love to do. "NETWORKING" is a word I hate with the fury of a thousand volcanoes. I am not advocating being an island unto yourself. I am saying that I don't want to network unless it's with people who could and want to help bring a musical vision to life! This is what the PASSION is all about, and Mr. Moore has somehow managed to fuel his long before most of us were a gleam in our parents' eyes.

R. Stevie Moore returned to music making after a few years and the world is a better place for it. Fifty-eight years old, back in his hometown. Going to take the stage this Friday opening up for Deerhoof in Nashville. It is hoped that his return home will allow him to finally gain the reverence he deserves. R. Stevie Moore now asks for help from the general public for his latest project. A new album to be recorded and released this year. He has almost always done his own home recordings. This time he raises the stakes with a project that requires the raising of $10,000 US currency. And with about ten days to go in raising the 10K, he is about 1/3rd of the way there.

I am posting this link here in case you feel the need to donate to his cause. You can donate big or small. I know many of you are small doners in the pocketbook of life, as am I but all those drips and drabs can fill a bucket mighty quick if there's enough of them. Think of it as gambling, you're putting money on whether a project will be financed. If it doesn't, you keep your money. No harm or foul. If it does, then your gamble is recompensated with a present for your effort. A copy of the new album and a download, if you donate $15 for example. Moore goodies if you donate Moore money. That's how the Kickstarter system works and now RSM is putting it to use.


I am going to conclude with a series of links to songs you can check out. Surely, you won't think that these few videos can sum up a career. But they are certainly excellent songs. And I thank you for your patience in this long screed.

You Love Me (Do Something) - 1985
Begins with some Resident-ial guitar but then turns into what would be a masterpiece for any other artist. A great beat with weird guitar all over it.

I am a good composer
Maybe I should contact Harry Belafonte
What then would he tell me? Would he listen to me?
What then would he tell me? Would he listen poorly.
Everybody's so, everybody's so, everybody's soda fountain

Here Comes Summer Again - 1977


If you know anything about me, you know I enjoy and appreciate song lyrics. Especially when someone takes a Beach Boys-esque melody and throws in a lyric about drinking Old Milwaukee. The lo-fi recording adds a weird vibe but I can't imagine it any other way.

Alecia - 1986


An interview from 2009


Another Day Slips Away - 2006


Goodbye Piano - 1975