It is well known that Tuli Kupferberg named the Fugs after Norman Mailer's substitution of fug for fuck in The Naked and the Dead. This lack of courage on Mailer's part reveals much about the enfant terrible of post-WWII American Literature. Enemy of The Hays Code, Tallulah Bankhead famously put Mailer and his timidness down. As a result, the name of the band has become as legendary and mythic as the band itself.
I am researching a presentation on Fuck You Press and the Fugs right now and when you dig deep into something you see connections everywhere. Maybe I am paranoid but I see a connection to Heidegger in the band's name. The link is Heidegger's use of the word Fug, as joint or a joining, as the joining-enjoining order (or disorder in Un-Fug). In fact, Heidegger used the term Fug to describe his own thought: Fuge as philosophy.
The handbills above show the literary and political concerns of the Fugs and how they intersect. Like Bankhead, the Fugs fought against censorship and puritanism and waged a total assault on the culture. The Fugs were more than a rock and roll band. Their performances on stage and off were a counterculture form of the Socratic Method presenting a way of thinking about and acting in the world. Like Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable, the Fugs presented a fully developed philosophy. The EPI seems to me more of a philosophy of art whereas the Fugs presented a complete world view: political, artistic, economic, sexual, etc. The Fugs came together at the same time that Peace Eye Bookstore opened. The Fugs, Peace Eye, and Fuck You, a magazine of the arts were the weapons of an alternative culture, the means for establishing a new social order. The use of mimeo fits in well here, as it is an alternative form of literary production outside of corporate publishing. These publications were distributed through an separate economy of exchange centered on independent bookstores, mail order, barter, and outright gifts. Drug use and fucking in the streets filled out this philosophy. Fug as joint comes into play here in obvious ways to say nothing of how the Fugs joined literature and rock and roll into a revolutionary hybrid form.
On Friday January 22, there will be a benefit concert for Tuli Kupferberg who suffered a stroke last year. http://www.brooklynvegan.com/archives/2010/01/fugs_tuli_kupfe.html