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R. Stevie Moore

One of the most difficult to categorize musicians in rock, R. Stevie Moore is a true original. Bypassing the traditional recording industry more thoroughly than just about any internationally known singer/songwriter ever has, Moore has self-released literally thousands of songs through the R. Stevie Moore Cassette Club (online at www.rsteviemoore.com), an ongoing mail-order operation that has hundreds of individually dubbed cassettes and CD-Rs in its catalog. The handful of traditional LPs and CDs Moore has released since 1975 are primarily collections of some of the best songs from those cassettes. Moore's music, a blend of classic pop influences, arty experimentalism, idiosyncratic lyrics, wild stylistic left turns, and homemade rough edges, is one of a kind, but entire generations of lo-fi enthusiasts and indie trailblazers, from Guided by Voices to the Apples in Stereo, owe much to Moore's pioneering in the field.

The son of legendary Music City session musician Bob Moore (not Elvis guitarist Scotty Moore, as many articles mistakenly claim) and the older brother of Linda Moore, singer/bassist for '80s country-pop band Calamity Jane, Robert Steven Moore was born January 18, 1952, in Nashville, Tennessee. Growing up in a musical environment, Moore mastered several instruments as a child, including guitar, piano, bass, and drums. He formed his first band, the Marlborough, at the age of 15; armed with inspiration from the first two Mothers of Invention albums and an inexpensive four-track recorder he received for his 16th birthday, Moore began recording Marlborough performances, bizarre spoken word pieces, comedic skits, and one-man band songs. This all-over-the-map D.I.Y. aesthetic would remain Moore's calling card throughout his career.

After graduating from high school and dropping out of Vanderbilt University, Moore became a session musician and the president of his father's music publishing company, but did not excel at either. Moore's eccentric personal style and non-country musical influences, including Zappa, the Beatles, Brian Wilson, Todd Rundgren, and the Move, were determinedly out of step with Nashville's prevailing musical culture during the early '70s. Although Moore and his high-school friends gigged around town under a variety of band names, most of his time was spent writing and recording by himself, slowly developing an idiosyncratic but increasingly poppy personal style. Encouraged by his uncle Harry Palmer, who at the time was president of Atco Records, Moore pieced together his 1975 debut album, Phonography, from two years' worth of home recording sessions. Palmer issued Phonography and its two follow-ups, Stance and Delicate Tension, on his own HP Music label. Encouraged by the response his records were receiving in the nascent New York punk and new wave scene -- Ira Robbins' Trouser Press magazine was particularly complimentary in its praise -- Moore moved to northern New Jersey in early 1978.

Aside from periodic bouts of gigging around New York, often backed by friends like Chris Butler and the Smithereens' Dennis Diken, Moore has remained a home-recording loner, creating new songs on an almost weekly basis in styles ranging all the way from hip-hop to Windham Hill-style piano instrumentals. A mid-'80s association with the French New Rose label resulted in his best-known albums, the two-disc retrospective Everything You Always Wanted to Know About R. Stevie Moore But Were Afraid to Ask and the fruit of a rare session in a real recording studio, Teenage Spectacular. Other albums and CDs, including an expanded digital reissue of Phonography and a well-chosen but unfortunately named career overview called Greatesttits, have come out on a variety of tiny American and European indies.

Moore continued to record throughout the '90s and 2000s, seeing a spike in recognition by the late 2000s when emerging lo-fi artists such as Ariel Pink and John Maus cited Moore as a primary influence. This led to more exposure for his always prolific recordings, as well as European touring and a cover story in the end name for all experimental music mags, The Wire. Amid a constant stream of new songs and releases, 2012 saw the release of yet another collection of his stronger work, Lo-Fi Hi-Fives... A Kind of Best Of, followed the next year by another, Personal Appeal. Probably too quirky and challenging to ever break through beyond his devoted and slowly growing cult following, R. Stevie Moore has remained true to his fiercely independent vision. ~ Stewart Mason
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Personal Appeal

1. Why Can't I Write A Hit?

2. Makeup Shakeup

3. Old

4. Structure Of Love

5. The Picture

6. Quarter Peep Show

7. I've Begun To Fall In Love

8. Pretend For A Second That You Are Very Intelligent

9. Forecast

10. No Body

11. Man Without A Purpose

12. Treat Me What We Did

13. Copy Me

14. I'm Sorry But Goodnight

15. I'm Sorry But Goodnight

x

Track List: Me Too

1. Play

2. First Hand

3. We Love Ourselves Don't We

4. You Love Me, Do Something

5. Horoscovia

6. Alecia

7. Jump Out In Front Of A Car

8. New Strings

9. 21 Mules And Mutants

10. I Loved You

11. All Well And Good

12. Elation Damnation

13. Outpatient

14. How 'Bout Writin' Me A Goddamn Song?

15. Whereabouts

16. Misplacement

17. Ryman Auditorium

18. Why Do You Hate Me So Much

19. Let's Rest Together

20. U.R. True

21. That Long Walk To The Barn 6AM

22. Blank Track

x

Track List: Meet The R. Stevie Moore!

1. I Wanna Hit You

2. 'interview Fragment'

3. You And Me

4. Hobbies Galore

5. Cool Daddio

6. Goodbye Piano

7. I Want You In My Life

8. Don't Let Me Go To The Dogs

9. Play Myself Some Music

10. Show Biz Is Dead

11. Horizontal Hideaway

12. Schoolgirl

13. Oh Pat

14. Answers

15. I Hope That You Remember

16. Puttin' Up The Groceries

17. Why Should I Love You ?

18. Debbie

19. She Don't Know What To Do With Herself

20. Once And For All

21. Teen Routines

22. I Wish I Could Sing

23. Thinking

24. Adult Tree

x

Track List: Nevertheless Optimistic

1. Hug Me

2. Dates

3. First Hand

4. Holocaust Parade

5. Part Of The Problem

6. Hobbies Galore

7. Galore

8. Funny Child

9. Back In Time

10. The Jinx

11. Wayne, Wayne

12. Pedestrian Hop

13. Copy Me

14. Blues For Cathy Taylor

15. I Hate People

16. In My Own Quiet Way

17. One Moore Time

18. Cuss Me Out

19. I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover

20. Indian Giver

21. The Man With The Cigar

22. Love Is The Way To My Heart

23. Moons

x

Track List: Phonography

1. Melbourne

2. Explanation Of Artist

3. Goodbye Piano

4. Explanation Of Listener

5. California Rhythm

6. I've Begun To Fall In Love

7. The Spot

8. I Want You In My Life

9. I Wish I Could Sing

10. Theme From A.G.

11. The Voice

12. Showing Shadows

13. She Don't Know What To Do With Herself

14. The Lariat Wressed Posing Hour

15. I Not Listening

16. Mr. Nashville

17. Moons

x

Track List: Lo Fi High Fives... A Kind Of Best Of

1. Pop Music

2. Showbiz Is Dead

3. Why Should I Love You?

4. Dutch Me

5. Big Mistake

6. The Winner

7. Here Comes Summer Again

8. Hurry Up

9. I Go Into Your Mind

10. You And Me

11. Another Day Slips Away

12. Sentimental Ties

13. Little Man

14. Find Any

Comments

Report as inappropriate
+ 1 Bobonnit, as usual, your commentary is spot on
Report as inappropriate
And he bites as bad as Syd Barret
Report as inappropriate
shawman47
this is simple to categorize - this is Syd Barret era Pink Floyd.
Report as inappropriate
this guy sounds like a bad a**!

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