January 10th, 2012
NOTE: I originally wrote this in preparation for a piece on Velocity’s blog. When I stopped writing for them, they took it down. Their loss. Here is what I have left of the original draft, edited for relevance. At the time, RSM was in the midst of a Kickstarter finance campaign for an album called Advanced. That album is now available for your purchase. Since I wrote this originally a year ago, RSM has been on his first ever full-scale US tour and multiple dates. He has a bigger profile than ever. Those of us who knew screamed from the mountaintops until people listened for themselves. You want to see a fifty-nine year-old achieving his dream of becoming a rock star, especially when he’s been at it for over forty years. This was posted 1/11/11 or so.
Robert Steven Moore, baby-boomer, baby-boomerang. Son of Bob Moore, a legendary Nashville musician who played on some Elvis records. Born in Nashville, moved to New Jersey in his 20s, returned to Nashville very recently. Since the age of sixteen, he has recorded thousands of songs. He is a pioneer in the field of home recording and can play at least a dozen different musical instruments. Apart from the occasional love-letter blog (like this one) or magazine article, R. Stevie Moore is not famous because he’s been too busy writing and recording to maintain a “career”.
Charles Bukowski’s short story “Would You Suggest Writing As A Career?” >>> Buk is the guest of honor at a university where he is to give a reading and a Q&A. One of the students asks him the titular question. Buk was too busy drinking and writing to have a “career”. If you told Bukowski how important networking was, you’d be stupid. Networking may be important but it’s nowhere near as important as WORKING ON YOUR CRAFT, FOR JESUS’ SAKE!!! Must I yell this from the top of the highest mountain on the world’s largest megaphone?
Some of the most successful people in entertainment have networked their way into it. I once saw Dave Navarro on TV wearing a shirt that read “Talentless But Connected” and that might sum up more of popular music over the last thirty years than anything I think of. Oh hell, let’s just lump all of popular entertainment in there. Especially film. Bukowski did what pleased him, and that was drinking, screwing, gambling on horse races and writing. That’s not a career, that’s just what he did. Which is what R. Stevie Moore continues to do, at least when it comes to music and probably not when it comes to horse racing.
Let’s talk about the strangeness of all this prolificness and archivery (I made that word up). Long before an iTunes, long before any Napster, there was R. Stevie Moore’s Cassette Club, with hundreds of selections. Youthful experimental music, strange skits, a radio play about the music business “Apologies To Mr. Gottlieb”, and yes, thousands of songs. Several times, indie record labels have attempted to compile the finest, most melodic musical flowers of RSM. I would suggest “Meet The R. Stevie Moore” for the uninitiated.
As if that weren’t enough, RSM finally burned out on writing and recording in the late 80s and started making his own music videos. For songs that had been recorded years earlier, decades earlier for some. I know he has more than one Youtube account, but “autosam” has at least 165 videos to accompany his songs. The videos are so lo-fi they make the music sound like a Spector production. Mostly camcorder weirdness shot around his NJ apartment. And there was no Youtube in 1989, no way MTV would play this stuff not even on 120 Minutes. R. Stevie Moore could not have possibly forseen a forum where his videos could be seen by people all over the world with one click. Is there any explanation that would make sense besides “why not”? It’s not like he had a career, much like Bukowski. No folks, what R. Stevie Moore had/has/now&forever is a PASSION!
It is PASSION that compels the music maker. And it is why we keep going, why we sometimes throw good money after bad, why we take risks and follow our muse. There is no point in playing the game when the game does not explicitly involve the thing you love to do. “NETWORKING” is a word I hate with the fury of a thousand volcanoes. I am not advocating being an island unto yourself. I am saying that I don’t want to network unless it’s with people who could and want to help bring a musical vision to life! This is what the PASSION is all about, and Mr. Moore has somehow managed to fuel his long before most of us were a gleam in our parents’ eyes.
R. Stevie Moore returned to music making after a few years and the world is a better place for it. Fifty-eight years old, back in his hometown. It is hoped that his return home will allow him to finally gain the reverence he deserves.