The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

« Previous Post | The Big Picture Home | Next Post »

The Velvet Underground's Moe Tucker is having a party: A tea party

October 5, 2010 | 12:13 pm

Moe_tucker I got deluged with e-mails this morning from old music biz pals who are (pick one) outraged, depressed or scandalized by the news that Velvet Underground drummer Maureen (Moe) Tucker, an undeniable icon of cool in the 1960s, is now a "tea party" zealot. According to the Huffington Post, whose story is basically a rewrite of a piece from England's Guardian newspaper, a woman identified as Tucker was interviewed on TV earlier this year, complaining that Barack Obama is leading the country toward socialism. (When the Huffington Post reached Tucker at her home in Georgia, she confirmed her identity but wouldn't discuss her political views.)

Of course, in the '60s, pretty much every rock musician was in favor of socialism, not just because he or she was a share-the-wealth style outsider and idealist, but because he figured that at least under socialism he'd get paid some money (under music industry capitalism, virtually all of the moolah went straight into the record company coffers). Still, it comes as a shock to imagine that someone like Tucker, whose band was the epitome of counterculture cool, could now reemerge as an angry protester being quoted as referring to the president as "King Obama," adding that "I have come to believe (not just wonder) that Obama's plan is to destroy American from within."

It's startling, just as it would be for people on the right if a staunch conservative such as former Reagan administration cabinet member Bill Bennett suddenly surfaced, advocating legalizing drugs and raising taxes on the rich. I mean, the horror! I'm sure that the right will embrace Tucker as one of its own, taking great pleasure in seeing such a lefty cult hero having joined the tea party ranks. But if I were a liberal, I wouldn't be so surprised. After all, Tucker fits the tea party profile, being older, white and living in a small town. It turns out that the people who lost faith in the system when they were young are just as likely to lose faith again now.   

Photo: Maureen (Moe) Tucker, second from left, with Velvet Underground members Sterling Morrison, Lou Reed and John Cale. Credit: Gerard Malanga / Polydor Records