‘Fug You’: The Wild Life Of Ed Sanders
An Informal History of the Peace Eye Bookstore, the Fuck You Press, The Fugs, and Counterculture in the Lower East Side
by Ed Sanders
May 5, 2012
Ed Sanders likes to refer to himself as the only beatnik who can yodel. A countercultural icon, he co-founded the raunchy, avant-garde rock band The Fugs and was instrumental in the Youth International Party — commonly called the Yippies.
The 72-year-old is also a classical scholar who wrote a best-selling book about the Manson family. His latest book is a memoir, Fug You, about life on New York’s Lower East Side in the 1960s — a slum, back when Sanders lived there.
“It didn’t take much money to live,” Claudia Dreifus recalls. “You could live poor, you could have a lot of fun. People didn’t need a lot of stuff. And when rents were cheap, all kinds of creative forces ended up here.”
Dreifus is now a science writer for The New York Times, but she cut her teeth at a counterculture newspaper called The East Village Other. She calls Sanders, who was a neighborhood fixture and fellow writer at The Other, a hero.
In his memoir, Sanders refers to the Lower East Side as a “little zone of revolution.” He and several other founders of the Yippies lived there, and played key roles in the anti-war movement’s “exorcism” of the Pentagon and the protests at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago.
Sanders says much of the political and cultural activity of the era was fomented on the Lower East Side. In addition to political activists, writers and artists, the neighborhood was full of musicians like Peter Stampfel, a member of both The Fugs and The Holy Modal Rounders.
“The main thing about the scene back then was that there was this amazing feeling that something wonderful and amazing was going to happen inevitably,” Stampfel says.
But the ’60s faded into the ’70s, and Sanders disbanded The Fugs. He went on to write The Family, about the Manson family, and release a solo record. He also decided to leave the Lower East Side. READ OR LISTEN TO THE STORY…..