Tuesday, April 26, 2016

"He looked cool in the jungle"—Moulty on rock and roll hair

Interviews in the essential Ugly Things magazine rarely disappoint. In the latest issue, writer Greg Prevost and editor and publisher Mike Stax talk with the Barbarians' legendary, hook-handed drummer Victor "Moulty" Moulton (in a conversation edited from two sit-downs spanning twenty years). Apart from some execrable homophobia —Moulton became a born again Christian after his career in rock and roll, and his attitudes about playing with the Barbarians in queer clubs in his hometown of Provincetown are unfortunate—the interview's a terrific glimpse into the Barbarian' rapid ascent and just as rapid commercial decline. It's another UT must-read for anyone interested in mid-1960s rock and roll and the record business.

My favorite line occurs when either Prevost or Stax asks Moulton about his band's notoriously long hair, a collective mane born in the band's small town which contributed to a pretty savage look (and sound) for 1964. Moulton explains:
We didn't have long hair because of music. We were all musicians all the time but we grew our long hair because we saw Tarzan on television. Johnny Weissmuller was our hero; he had long hair and he looked cool in the jungle.
"We saw Tarzan on television..."
"...he had long hair and he looked cool in the jungle."

This will likely be the coolest rock and roll origin story I'll read in a while.

Moulton also talks about the band's appearance on the legendary T.A.M.I. Show. The Barbarians played several songs that day but, because of their lesser commercial stature, only one song, "Hey Little Bird," was broadcast.

"Now, all the way from their caves in 'ol Cape Cod, the Barbarians!"


    porcupine said...

    I dug "Moulty" on Nuggets but wasn't sure it belonged there. Greg Shaw did a great review of that LP in Rolling Stone at the time with suggestions of his own, what he would replace and what not. Of course now there's a whole Nuggets industry with most if not all of the tunes he suggested in '72!!!

    Joe Bonomo said...

    Agreed, it doesn't quite belong—but what back story anyway!