Tuli Kupferberg, Fugs Singer and Beat Poet, Dead at 86
Tuli Kupferberg, a member of The Fugs and a staple of the New York City “beat” scene, has passed away at age 86, according to the New York Times. Kupferberg was the vocalist and percussionist for the ’60s folk-rock band, who were known for the outspoken, anti-war stances and satire-drenched songs. The band’s recording history spanned over four decades, with their final album, ‘Be Free: The Fugs Final CD (Part 2),’ seeing its release this past February.
Over the years, Kupferberg was also a prolific poet, publishing anti-war material as well as publishing early works of Allan Ginsberg. It’s believe that Kupferberg was an inspiration for a character in Ginsberg’s most famous work, ‘Howl.’
Kupferberg slowed down his production of music and writing in the last 15 years, but was still active in getting his message out there with postings of interview snippets, videos and archival material to his YouTube channel.
For the last two years, Kupferberg’s health has been in decline. He’s suffered two strokes, with one in April 2009 leaving his vision severely impaired. But it’s not to say his influence wasn’t felt within the more modern generations — in January 2010, a benefit for Kupferberg was held featuring Sonic Youth, Lou Reed and Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye, in an effort to help out with his mounting medical bills.
Kupferberg is survived by his wife, Sylvia Topp, and their three children.
Tuli Kupferberg performing “Crystal Liason” with The Fugs, live in Denmark.