G Force

For Moore, more tunes is better

R. Stevie Moore (center) will be backed by Tropical Ooze when he performs at Church. He last appeared in Boston in 1984. R. Stevie Moore (center) will be backed by Tropical Ooze when he performs at Church. He last appeared in Boston in 1984. (Jon Demiglio)
By James Reed
Globe Staff / June 11, 2011

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Q. You’re the guy known for a song called “I Like to Stay Home,’’ so it’s surprising to hear you’re on your first-ever tour at 59. Why the change of heart?

A. There’s no one particular reason. It’s fate more than anything. It’s kind of cool that I never toured, which means it’s now a gala event. And we’re milking that as much as we can. I’ve hardly ever gigged over the years, just sporadic gigs. In the late 2000s, I finally started working with bands and playing in New York.

Q. What should we expect?

A. It’s just kind of a hard-rock show combined with sweet Brian Wilson balladry and a little bit of craziness, obviously.

Q. Your one and only show in Boston was at the Channel, a club that no longer exists, back in 1984. The Globe’s review of your performance noted that a heckler told you to go home. And you did.

A. There was a review of my show there? It had to be short. It wasn’t a very good show.

Q. With such a dense catalog, where does someone even start to discover your music?

A. That’s always been a dilemma, but I’m constantly explaining that’s just how I roll. People say it’s artistic suicide, that I need to consolidate. I’m known as the man who needs an editor. And that’s totally true, yet on the other hand, that’s not my thing. My thing is a diary of sound that I’ve been doing since the late ’60s.

Q. What are you like as a self-editor? Is there anything you don’t release?

A. Nope, not at all. That’s why there are 400 albums, because every sound I’ve ever recorded is available for whoever wants to buy it. It’s all available. There’s no cutting-room-floor outtakes that I refuse for people to hear because they’re so awful.

Q. That’s unusual for an artist to let fans see so much of the process.

A. Perhaps you’re right. Again, I don’t make a big deal about it. There may be some people who think that’s utter pretentiousness. Sure, he’s got 400 albums, but are they all good? That’s a stupid question that doesn’t apply. Extend your horizons. I have no room for mediocrity. I love simplicity, but I’m sick of decades of artists, and public support for those artists, who don’t try to put little twists in their music.

Q. There’s a perception that you never wanted to be more famous. Is that true?

A. I didn’t set out to be a rebel, to buck the system. It’s just what I did. I was constantly wishing that I could get out of the struggle and get somebody who had money to be interested in me. What would I do if a major label wanted me to sign? I’d always say, “Give me that pen. I’ll sign anything.’’

Q. It’s obvious from your albums that you’re a voracious listener. Is there any genre you haven’t explored in your music?

A. Probably not. It’s all about diversity. All of my records are like mixtapes by various artists. I don’t try to [upset] people. That’s just how I am.

Interview was condensed and edited. James Reed can be reached at

R. Stevie Moore
Variously known as a pioneer of home-recording and a musical genius who’s criminally underappreciated, Moore has lived in a parallel pop universe since the late 1960s. It’s safe to say more folks have heard of Moore than have heard his music. As captured on more than 400 albums, his lo-fi songs impart the woozy sensation of an acid trip through 50 years of American music, from pop and country to classical and punk rock. (To really get a contact high, check out his wild videos on YouTube.) Moore’s legacy — as an uncompromising artist who has self-released and distributed his music on cassettes and CD-Rs — has been especially influential to contemporary indie-rock musicians such as Ariel Pink. Moore is now the subject of a forthcoming documentary and will soon release a new fan-financed album. “Advanced.’’ Backed by the Brooklyn, N.Y., band Tropical Ooze, Moore comes to Boston on Tuesday for his first performance here since 1984.
R. Stevie Moore performs at Church (69 Kilmarnock St., Boston) on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. Tickets: $10. 617-236-7600.