by Ed Sanders
Published by Da Capo Press, December 2011
Fug You is Ed Sanders’s unapologetic and often hilarious account of eight key years of “Total Assault on the Culture,” to quote his friend William S. Burroughs.
Fug You traces the flowering years of New York’s downtown bohemia in the Sixties, starting with the marketing problems presented by the title of Sanders’s underground magazine (Fuck You/A Magazine of the Arts) as it faced the scrutiny of the aboveground, including an arrest after a raid on Sanders’s Peace Eye Bookstore, when the arresting officer demanded to look for evidence of Akhenaten’s “Hymn to the Sun Disk” on the author’s privates.
Sanders recalls the ups and downs of running the Peace Eye Bookstore, home of both the world’s first underground comic art exhibition and Lemar, the Committee to Legalize Marijuana. The memoir also traces the career of the Fugs, founded in 1964 by Sanders and his neighbor, the legendary Tuli Kupferberg (in his lifetime, often called “the world’s oldest living hippie” by Allen Ginsberg), as Sanders strives to find a home for this seminal, postmodern, innovative folk rock band in the big time world of record labels.
Full of encounters with a veritable who’s who of downtown New York and the counterculture beyond it (Lenny Bruce, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Andy Warhol, Pete Seeger, Ken Kesey, Charles Olson, George Plimpton, Abbie Hoffman, and the Grateful Dead, just to name a few), Fug You is an illustrated history of social change in the Sixties, as told by the man at the center of it all.
In the 1960s, Ed Sanders cofounded the groundbreaking rock band The Fugs, opened the Peace Eye Bookstore, and appeared on the cover of Life magazine. He is a classics scholar, pioneer in investigative poetics, inventor of musical instruments, publisher of the Woodstock Journal, and author of many books, including the bestselling Charles Manson exposé The Family, the ambitious, multivolume project America: A History in Verse, the American Book Awardwinning Thirsting for Peace in a Raging Century, and the underground classic Tales of Beatnik Glory. He lives in Woodstock, New York, with his wife Miriam.
"...this funny, instructive, nourishing book."
- The New York Times
"If I were a Beat, Ed Sanders is the Beat I’d most like to have been. Virtually the only one I really admire as a poet: his Egyptological and classical Greek learning inflect, in a brilliant way, his vision of the East Village as a site of comic, mythic, pornographic legends."
- New York Observer
"Sanders has been an astonishing and fertile presence in our cultural and political landscape."
- Andrei Codrescu
"Hippies will love tales of protests and of films of neighbors shagging in the name of art. It’s unclear whether Sanders’ attempt to exorcise the Pentagon of satanic forces succeeded, but his book, like the Fugs, proves “bacchic defiance” can be truly inspiring."
- Rolling Stone
"[A] vivid memoir of the decade…Today’s Occupy Wall Street movement can take, if not a lesson, at least inspiration (and perhaps solace) from Sanders’s triumphs and travails."
- Village Voice
"[Sanders] engagingly depicts how the culture of New York City in the 1960s shifted from the beats to the hippies."
- Publishers Weekly
"This brilliant memoir not only chronicles the band’s early days, but paints an outrageous, inspiring picture of life among the artistic outlaws of New York’s Lower East side in the ‘60’s."
- High Times
"Ed Sanders is one of the real geniuses of the last 50 years...Fug You delivers everything it promises. It dishes dense details on early 1960s underground scenes we can scarcely imagine in the 21st century...A very funny book."
- The Wire
"A picaresque chronicle of the 1960s filled with scrupulously documented recollections of Sanders's adventures and misadventures in poetry, politics, and rock 'n' roll."
- Huffington Post