Let’s get this straight right up top: Moe Tucker is one of the coolest women who’ve ever lived, as well as one of the greatest drummers in the history of rock ’n’ roll—pioneering for her role as a serious instrumentalist in one of the most influential bands ever, sure, but more importantly, the perfect mix of furious primitive and sensitive percussionist who gave the Velvet Underground the exact rhythms it needed at every turn, on stage and on its first three legendary albums.
But geez, does she seem to be a bonehead when it comes to politics.
Earlier this month, the Internet started buzzing about a local TV news clip of a conservative anti-tax rally near Albany, Georgia, in the spring of 2009 that featured, 2:40 in, a woman identified as “Maureen Tucker, Tea Party Supporter” saying, “I’m furious about the way we’re being led toward socialism. I’m furious about the incredible waste of money, when things that we really need and are important get dropped, because there’s no money left.”
I first became aware of the clip via the wonderful music news aggregator The Daily Swarm, which had picked it up from the Huffington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Anyone who clicked through knowing the Velvets’ work and thinking that they knew Tucker—who had struggled as a single mom to raise a family slaving away in a job at Walmart during the lean years after the band broke up and before it was rediscovered by the rock underground of the late ’70s and early ’80s—had to scratch their head and ask if the musician who hung out with and embraced the freakiest dregs of society at the Warhol Factory, who played drums on “Heroin,” “Venus in Furs,” and “Sister Ray,” and who freaking helped to invent punk rock could really be one of those ill-informed Tea Party nut jobs running around ranting about socialism when they don't even have a clue what it actually is?
Alas, it’s true, and cudos to my old friend Mike Appelstein for getting Tucker to talk on the record about her political views in a piece for the Riverfront Times. Here are just a few of the quotable highlights—though I warn you, if you’re at all like me, they may make you cry.
No country can provide all things for all citizens. There comes a point where it just isn't possible, and it's proven to be a failure everywhere it's been tried. I am not oblivious to the plight of the poor, but I don't see any reason/sense to the idea that everyone has to have everything, especially when the economy is so bad. I see that philosophy as merely a ploy to control.
My family was damn poor when I was growing up on Long Island. There were no food stamps, no Medicaid, no welfare. If you were poor, you were poor. You didn't have a TV, you didn't have five pairs of shoes, you didn't have Levi's, you didn't have a phone; you ate Spam, hot dogs and spaghetti. We all survived! I am not against food stamps, welfare or Medicaid, if only they would oversee these programs properly!...
What specifically about the current administration do you disagree with?
I disagree with spending / borrowing / printing -- damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead! I disagree with the "we won" attitude, which is the cowardly way of saying f--- you! I disagree with an administration that for twenty months blames Bush. If the President and his minions are so damn smart, why didn't they know the severity of the situation? The president has actually said (and I saw it on video) that they didn't know! What would you like to see change? The current administration!...
What are some misconceptions that people have about Tea Parties (and their attendants) in general?
That they're all racists, they're all religious nuts, they're all uninformed, they're all stupid, they want no taxes at all and no regulations whatsoever. Those "arguments" are presented by the Dems in order to keep their base of uninformed voters on their side. In my opinion, as soon as you start name-calling, your opinion is immediately deemed invalid!
Have you always had conservative views?
To be honest, I never paid attention to what the hell was going on. My always voting Democrat was the result of that. My philosophy was and is all politicians are liars, bums and cheats. I make decisions on an issue by issue basis. I'm far more of an independent than a conservative or liberal. I don't agree with all of either side, and I think anyone who claims to is either a fool or a damn liar.