‘King Of the Underground’ as Outsider Musician R Stevie Moore describes himself. Undoubtedly a pioneer in DIY pop with his groundbreaking cassette tape club which has been going since the end of the seventies. I struggled to find the RSTV castle – I was three hours late to see the legendary man and his partner Krys (Krystine). They both live in the respectable and yet bohemian town of Bloomfield New Jersey in Orange County.
On the way, I was pulled over on the freeway by a terrifying NYC highway patrol car. We pulled over in the centre lane and onto the hard shoulder. He started off quite aggressively, telling me that I should not be white-lining through the traffic. I have already spoken of this in the blog, Jersey and California allow motorcycles to filter between cars, in the rest of the US it is an offence. I explained that I thought that was in New Jersey but it did not wash with the patrolman. Show me your insurance drivers licence , if and ownership. I stammered that I had the electronic copy of the US insurance on my laptop, he was not amused. He opened the scrappy piece of paper that was my UK driving license and started to say that this was not valid to drive in the US. I did not argue and let him sit in his car to look me up on the computer, possibly to check on the insured vehicles listings and stolen vehicles listings. “Where do you actually live, sir?” I told him London and I was very sorry and will not filter in NYC. He gave me my papers and said I will lead you back onto the freeway. My hands trembled as I did up my bags back onto the bike and drove away. Phew. I think it was too much hassle to book a foreigner who was going home in a few days. Oh, and the story of 10,000 miles on a police bike did not impress him either.
I eventually found Bloomfield. Krys welcomed me and offered some dinner. It was great to see them both. We chatted, I asked RSTV to play something (Goodbye, Halo off Zeitgeist) but my infernal mini disk has packed up. I did manage a small bit of chat – its not that good, I may upload it later. I was hoping to include the recording on tomorrows show on WFMU. I will use something on his site instead.
Every inch of RSTV’s studio is jammed packed with vinyl and machines, gadgets. He eats works and – I was later to find, sleeps in there as well. I found him to be a very complex man, venerable, like a college professor. Perhaps this was the psyche of Philip K Dick, certainly was as how I imagine PKD to have been.
Krys and Stevie did not let me get back on the bike and offered me to sleep in the studio with Stevie. So I did. We talked on, like a couple of kids at a sleepover and Stevie switched on his white noise CD to play on through the night on repeat. It was the only way he could get any sleep, so he said. It did lull us both off. I hope it drowned out my snoring, which is notoriously bad.
Steve is the son of a Nashville bass player who worked with Elvis for ten years. Steve’s unconventional approach to music did not sit well with his father and I will just say they did not see eye to eye. The early days, I tried seesion work, I could do it in my sleep, I went home and did my stuff. I could not stand doing what my father did.
Krys and Steve have both been WFMU Djs since the early days when it was at Uppsala College, back in 1986. Krys did three shows a week, including a 4AM spot but it all became too much and she does not do it anymore. I hope they listen to my little offering.
In the morning, Krys had left for work, leaving Steve and myself to have a cup of tea – I could see Steve was not used to visitors, but he did tell me he enjoyed my visit. We hung out a bit more, I packed up my stuff, hugged him goodbye and left.
Thank you Krys and Stevie for being such gracious hosts and letting me sleep over, it was great meeting you both!