Review Revue: Maureen Tucker – Life in Exile after Abdication

mo tucker

Over 40 years ago, a little band known as the Velvet Underground asked a young woman named Maureen Tucker if she would play drums for them, after their current percussionist decided that he couldn’t play for paying audiences (and you thought Ian MacKaye was a badass!). She was 19 at the time, and went on to help create some of the most seminal music in rock and roll history, inspiring millions to strum lacklusterly at guitars, sing disjointed lyrics in a half-hearted manner, and shoot heroin. OK, maybe when you put it that way it doesn’t sound like the greatest of legacies, but I think we can safely say that music today would be much worse off were it not for the contributions of the Velvet Underground. Just take my word for it, OK?

After the VU’s inevitable collapse, Ms. Tucker (who tends to go by “Moe”) went on to live her own life and produce her own music, which she seems still to be doing to this day from her base in Douglas, Georgia. In 1981, she released Playin’ Possum, which she recorded and released herself. For her second album, 1989’s Life in Exile after Abdication (which you can buy on cassette via her Web site) she expanded her horizons, and worked with such luminaries as Jad Fair, Daniel Johnston, Kramer, the members of Sonic Youth, and her own former bandmate Lou Reed. Let’s see what our friends at KCMU circa 1989 thought about the results, shall we?

“Legendary original drummer for the Velvet Underground, after a few & now out of print lame 45s this LP is a great surprise — a lot of styles, from a great instrumental (1-4) to a Leadbelly song and much more. ‘Work’ is a stand-out. This is a record that grows on you the more you listen.”

“Check out the stellar lineup of musicians. (Kim Gordon plays bass on about half the tracks, all of Sonic Youth jam on “The Chase,” and Uncle Lou plays lead on a couple of tracks.)”

“Nicely done! Fuzzy guitars, good drumming, nice overall!!”

“1 of my faves of ’89. Excellent!!!”

“H action pretty pleez…”

“Yeah Hostess.”

“‘The Chase’ — 1:4 really fuzz rocks.”

“‘Spam again'”

“Goodnight Irene”

“Whatta gal! Whattan LP!”

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