Maureen Tucker (Velvet Underground)

Velvet_Underground_and_NicoBest known for being the drummer in The Velvet Underground Maureen Ann “Moe” Tucker was born August 26, 1944, in Levittown, New York.Tucker first began playing the drums at age 19. When she was asked to join the Velvet Underground, Tucker had dropped out of Ithaca College and was working for IBM. The band’s original percussionist, Angus Maclise, had left in November 1965. Tucker was drafted because Velvets guitarist Sterling Morrison remembered her as the younger sister of one of his college friends who played the drums. Tucker was frequently noted for her androgynous appearance. Tucker’s style of playing was unconventional. She played standing up rather than seated (for easier access to the bass drum, using a simplified drum kit of tom toms, a snare drum and an upturned bass drum, playing with mallets rather than drumsticks. She rarely used cymbals; she claimed that since she felt the purpose of a drummer was simply to “keep time”, cymbals were unnecessary for this purpose and drowned out the other instruments. Apart from drumming, Tucker sang co-lead vocals on three Velvet Underground songs: the acoustic guitar number “After Hours” and the strange poem set to music “The Murder Mystery”, both from 1969’s The Velvet Underground album, as well as “I’m Sticking with You”, a song recorded in 1969 but left (officially) unreleased until it appeared on the 1985 outtakes compilation VU. Tucker also occasionally played the bass guitar during live gigs.Tucker temporarily left the group when she became pregnant with her first child, Kerry “Trucker” Tucker, in early 1970. Because of this She only played on a few songs on Loaded, the band’s fourth and final album with Lou Reed.Billy Yule, the younger and high-school-age brother of bassist Doug Yule, filled in the role of drummer for most of the songs on the album and live performances.

Tucker returned to the band in late 1970, by which time Reed had left the group and Doug Yule had assumed leadership. She toured North America and Europe with the band during 1970 and 1971; shortly before leaving the band and moving to Phoenix, Arizona in 1971, with her husband and several children, where she played drums in the short-lived band Paris 1942 with Alan Bishop of the Sun City Girls. In the early 1980s, she divorced her husband and relocated to Douglas, Georgia, where she was hired at a Wal-Mart distribution center.She quit the job in 1989 when she was asked to go on tour of Europe with the band Half Japanese.Tucker started recording and touring again, releasing a number of albums on small, independent labels that feature her singing and playing guitar, fronting her own band. This band at times included former Velvets colleague Sterling Morrison. Tucker also participated in the 1992–1993 Velvet Underground reunion, touring Europe and releasing the double album Live MCMXCIII. Tucker has also made guest performances on a number of others’ records, including producing Fire in the Sky (1993) for Half Japanese, whose guitarist, John Sluggett, plays drums on her own recordings. She has also, appeared withMagnet and former Velvet Underground band members Lou Reed (New York) and John Cale (Walking on Locusts).Tucker also played drums on and produced the album The Lives of Charles Douglas by indie rocker and novelist Charles Douglas (also known as Alex McAulay) in 1999.She played bass drum, wrote songs, and sang with the New York/Memphis punk rock–delta blues fusion group, The Kropotkins with Lorette Velvette and Dave Soldier in 1999–2003, recording “Five Points Crawl”.

The Velvet Underground were formed in New York City. First active from 1964 to 1973, its best-known members were Lou Reed and John Cale, who both went on to find success as solo artists. Although experiencing little commercial success while together, the band is often cited by many critics as one of the most important and influential groups of the 1960s. Brian Eno made the often repeated statement that while the first Velvet Underground album may have sold only 30,000 copies in its early years, “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band. Andy Warhol managed the Velvet Underground and it was the house band at his studio, theFactory, and his Exploding Plastic Inevitable events. The provocative lyrics of some of the band’s songs gave a nihilistic outlook to some of their music. Their 1967 debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico (which featured German singer Nico), was named the 13th Greatest Album of All Time, and the “most prophetic rock album ever made” by Rolling Stone in 2003. In 2004,Rolling Stone ranked the band No. 19 on its list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”. And they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, by Patti Smith

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