Naftali Kupferberg was born in Brooklyn on September 28, 1923. In the early 1950's he lept off of the Manhattan Bridge, an event immortalized in Alan Ginsberg's epic poem, Howl.
In Ginsberg'ss poem, he says it was the Brooklyn Bridge, but in the words of Kupferberg, "When I realized I wasn't dead, I went home, took a bath and went to bed. Nobody even noticed."
In 1966, I heard the Fugs first record. It was in a basement in Detroit and my friend had gotten it away from his brother who was home from college. Of course, we hardly realized what we were hearing. A bunch of maniacs who could barely play their instruments, howling really stupid sounding poetry over a crude beat...but the songs became classics to our 16 year old ears...We sang the nihilistic chant of Nothing! and of course, we loved Boobs A Lot.....
The Fugs were the collaboration of Ed Sanders and Tuli (Naftali) Kupferberg. Proto Punk, Beat Poets who created a new kind of performance art. Tuli was in his 40's at the time, a pacifist anarchist cartoonist, poet and publisher, whose 1958 magazine, Birth, featured Ginsberg, Leroi Jones and the beat notables of the 50's. They were already the nucleus of the Fertile Lower East Side Arts Community that lasted almost 50 years.
After the Fugs, Kupferberg kept performing and writing and inspiring generations of neo beats and punks. These guys were never "Hippies".
Indeed in a recent interview, Ed Saunders stated that he and Kupferberg were actually working on another Fugs record. The last performance of "The Fugs" was in 2004.
Recently, Tuli suffered from a series of heart attacks and finally died yesterday. He was 84 years old.
"When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge." - Tuli Kupferberg (1923-2010)