DIY Pioneer Gary Wilson and Mo-Fi Inventor R. Stevie Moore

As I've mentioned earlier, I'm excited to be playing at a Burger Records festival next month in my usual role, playing drums for the one and only Gary Wilson. I write about Gary often, since it's such a thrill and privilege to play with someone so artistically inspiring and important. Gary has influenced artists all around the globe (the role call includes Beck,  Foxygen, Ariel Pink, Questlove, the Residents, and Tyler the Creator), and rightfully so. I've crossed paths with and become aware of really interesting people since I started working with Gary, and that brings me to the legendary R. Stevie Moore.

Moore and Wilson, 2014. Photo Adam Malec

Moore and Wilson, 2014. Photo Adam Malec


I find myself eager to tell people about R. Stevie Moore, in much the way I do with Gary. I'm constantly pulling out my phone at venues and bars to show snippets of  Youtube videos by both artists, giving quick backgrounds, etc. and usually find kindred souls eager to talk about them both as well. I find it's like that with art that really resonates with me, and I love the feeling of just being compelled to share something exciting with people around you who will probably also be moved by - or at least relate to -that art. 

The parallels between Gary and R. Stevie Moore are astounding, and I'm sure many people have already succinctly and accurately pointed to them, so I won't belabor the point here. This is not to say they are not unique as artists, because they both are, and that is so much of their appeal. But they inspire in a similar way -- where some artists may dazzle, or pull energy inwards (commanding admiration, envy, etc.) these two artists seem to to the opposite, at least in my experience. I find that their work inspires and enables creativity in others.

Many is the time I have heard a friend, colleague, or stranger say after a Gary Wilson show something along the lines of, "Wow...I can't wait to get back to my project. I have so many ideas now!" And it's not that they're going to do something similar to Gary's work, but rather that his individuality and sense of lifelong commitment to his vision serve to remind creative people that the road is long, and also inspiring and rewarding. Ultimately, it's not about the distractions of immediate material success, but instead about a lifelong process. 

 

I haven't met R. Stevie Moore yet, but I get the same feeling from him. Recently I saw he pointed out on his Facebook page that he is "Mo-Fi," not "Lo-Fi," and explained that he invented Modern Home Recording. Both Gary Wilson and R. Stevie Moore provided a template, way before the dawn of the internet, for artists seeking real expression outside mainstream channels of production, distribution, and promotion. They both continue to evolve and inspire, decades after their first recordings, and again, I find this so inspiring. It reminds me of when Brian Wilson once explained that the Beach Boys classic "I Just Wasn't Made for These Times" wasn't melancholic nostalgia, but rather an eager look to the future. I feel confident that the Inventor of Mo-Fi has so much great work ahead of him, as does Gary (you think you really know him?). August's show can't come soon enough!