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Obit: Moondog is dead (1916-1999)

Related thread:
in production: film about 'Moondog' (5)


Wally Macnow 12 Sep 99 - 12:51 PM
Rick Fielding 12 Sep 99 - 01:28 PM
Mike Billo 12 Sep 99 - 02:49 PM
Peter T. 12 Sep 99 - 02:51 PM
Susan A-R 12 Sep 99 - 10:50 PM
DonMeixner 12 Sep 99 - 11:13 PM
dick greenhaus 12 Sep 99 - 11:19 PM
Art Thieme 13 Sep 99 - 12:51 AM
Charlie Baum 13 Sep 99 - 01:58 AM
WyoWoman 13 Sep 99 - 09:28 AM
dick greenhaus 13 Sep 99 - 12:09 PM
Easy Rider 13 Sep 99 - 02:32 PM
mountain tyme 13 Sep 99 - 08:22 PM
Mark Roffe 16 Sep 99 - 01:04 AM
kevin 16 Sep 99 - 03:25 AM
Wally Macnow 16 Sep 99 - 11:48 AM
Peter T. 16 Sep 99 - 02:51 PM
Penny S. 30 Sep 99 - 01:15 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 14 Mar 05 - 09:10 PM
SINSULL 14 Mar 05 - 09:38 PM
keberoxu 11 Jan 19 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 13 Jan 19 - 03:05 PM
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Subject: Moondog is dead
From: Wally Macnow
Date: 12 Sep 99 - 12:51 PM

There's a sizeable obituary in today's (9/12/99) about Moondog. I 'spect you can find it at the New York Times website. I never came across him in his years on the the streets of New York but some of his music moved into the folk idiom. Also some musicians that I know who knew Moondog were quite in awe of him.

I would guess that a few of the people who come in here to chat may have known him or of him.

Wally


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 12 Sep 99 - 01:28 PM

Wally, thanks for posting that. Do you know that in the space of three days both Captain Beefheart, and now Moondog have been mentioned? Wow!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: Mike Billo
Date: 12 Sep 99 - 02:49 PM

A truly unique musician. He seemed to have developed his music completely apart from any outside influence.


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: Peter T.
Date: 12 Sep 99 - 02:51 PM

Well, except for his Nordic roots.
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: Susan A-R
Date: 12 Sep 99 - 10:50 PM

I have, somewhere burried in my books, a book of his rounds. I've managed to sort of learn Nero's Expedition, but want to learn more. He wrote some wild stuff. I am sorry to hear that he is gone.

Oh and Wally, could you try that blue clicky thing over again? Something is amis.

Susan


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: DonMeixner
Date: 12 Sep 99 - 11:13 PM

Susan,

The Blue clicky thing isn't amiss, its a complete miss.

Don


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 12 Sep 99 - 11:19 PM

Moondog--a Juilliard graduate, by the way--wasn't exactly uninfluenced by classical music; he chose to depart from that particular tradition. Fascinating musician.


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: Art Thieme
Date: 13 Sep 99 - 12:51 AM

For about 2 weekis in 1963 Moondog was hanging around Rose Records (214 S. Wabash in Chicago) where I was working days then(singing nights--I hoped). Mostly he'd lurk out on the street under the Adams & Wabash "L" stop. Several times he'd wander into the store. I tried talking to him about things but didn't get very far. His horned viking helmet was pretty amazing. Since Rose Records tried to stock everything available, we had all of his LPs (Columbia classical as I recall). Unless I'm wrong, I remember coming back from lunch one day and walking past Moondog and into the store to hear the sad news that John F. Kennedy had just been killed in Dallas. I went straight through the store and out into the back alley loading dock area and broke into tears. Then, all of a sudden, Moondog just wasn't there any more. He seemed to enjoy being an enigma! Working at the store then were all kinds of musicians trying to keep body and soul together while trying to get to a place where they could make their livings with their music. (Warren "Mike" Casey was selling cassettes then at Rose. Nice guy. Mike, along with Jim Jacobs, would later write a little play named _GREASE_ that made some waves in a little storefront theater in town.)Dan Keding, the storyteller and writer of the storytelling column in Sing Out, worked there also---but not right then. Two blocks North on Wabash, a guy named Sandy Paton had started a strange department at Kroch's & Brentano's book store maybe a year earlier; a folk music records department.

A block east was the Art Institute of Chcago with the two huge lions in front. Many people spent their lunch hours with a book on the steps of the Art Institute---reading between the lions. **little joke**

Moondog seemed old back in '63----he must've been really old by 1999.

Somehow, I think he should've made it to 2000! He was a cosmic personality.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 13 Sep 99 - 01:58 AM

Louis Hardin was born May 26, 1916, and so was only 83 when he died. His Columbia Recordings were made in the late 60s, early 70s, but before that, he had recorded on labels such as Prestige and Epic. I didn't find anything about Julliard in any of his biographies--but he had studied music at the Iowa School for the Blind, came to New York City, and hung around folks from the New York Philharmonic.

I've tried to sing his rounds. His works are amazing--they strictly follow rules of composition and are chaconnes and canons and rounds, except that they are in rhythms like 5/4 or have unusual numbers of measures in each line. "Bird's Lament (in memory of Charlie Parker)" was a regular filler tune between stories on NPR's All Things Considered. I recently got his most recent album, "Sax Pax for a Sax" (Atlantic 83069-2) and became enamored with many of the compositions on it. This past week, I've been fascinated by "Sandalwood," a fugue in 5/4, and "Fiesta" a piano piece whose rhythm is still defying my analysis...

I was first introduced to him in my prep-school days back in 1969 or 1970 by a Norwegian-American dorm-mate who had discovered Moondog's "Nordic principles" [as a street musician, he dressed up in Viking garb, with robes and samndals and spear and Viking-horned hat--sort of like Hagar the Horrible of the comics come to life]. He put on the record of this street poet/musician, and I heard symphonic constructions that just blew my mind.

It was only a few weeks ago that I finally acquired CD "reprints" of those Columbia albums--Moondog, which has his symphonic works, and Moondog 2, which presents 26 of his rounds. They were very different sorts of vinyl LP recordings, but they're both on the same CD.

One of the most truly unique individuals of the world is gone!

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: WyoWoman
Date: 13 Sep 99 - 09:28 AM

I'm very sorry that his death occaisioned this, but I've thoroughly enjoyed reading this thread. Fascinating.

WW


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 13 Sep 99 - 12:09 PM

An odd footnote-- When Alan Freed (sp?), the DJ, came from Cleveland to NY, he was billing himself as Moondog (accompanied by a fairly phony howl). The real Moondog threatened to sue--apparently he had trademarked or copyrighted the name--and Freed had to seek with a different gimmick. What he came up with was"...The King of Rock and Roll..", which was the first time the phrase R&R had any wide exposure. The rest is history.


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: Easy Rider
Date: 13 Sep 99 - 02:32 PM

I also mourn his death. I can remember occasionally running into him, in NY, ever since the late sixties and always wondering how he got by.

EZR


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: mountain tyme
Date: 13 Sep 99 - 08:22 PM

I have wondered what had become of Moondog for many years. He was certainly unique. I have only one of his albums purchased from him on the street in NYC. I often in those days at lunch time purchased some good deli lunches and drove around to find him and share lunch after which he would play on and on. He was a strange one. Sometimes he would listen to my chatter sometimes not. He wore a headpiece of chain mail covering his entire head sometimes under his helmut and would just lift the front so slightly to eat our lunch. He did many styles of music as he pleased. Some days he would gather $45 dollars along the street for his efforts. I tried to find where he lived and why he wasn't much into conversation. I never did. I was in those days doing the Hootinanny at Gerd's Folk City but was never able to get him to drop by. Even offered to drive him many times. He was a loner. I am saddened to find now how many years have passed to hear his name again for this reason. He will be long remembered by many of us for his ability to persue his own musical dream. From other musicians he deserves the highest respect for that. Thanks all of you for the memories.


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: Mark Roffe
Date: 16 Sep 99 - 01:04 AM

Wait, let me get this straight: was Moondog the guy I always used to see standing around in Manhattan in the '60's who was quite tall, bearded, long-haired, and was dressed as a Viking, helmet, spear (or trident?), and all?
I had no idea he was a musician. I thought he was just panhandling. He seemed so quiet and so powerful. I'd stare at him and wonder how he became how he was, but I never spoke to him.

My freshman psychology book actually had a photo of him labeled "mendicant," and I used to look at it and think "is that what he is?"

Now I've got to hear his music. The NY Times link at the beginning of this thread no longer leads to that day's issue, and lists no obituaries. Anyone know where to find more info on Moondog? All I can find at all is at http://www.furious.com/perfect/moondog.html.

Mark Roffe


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: kevin
Date: 16 Sep 99 - 03:25 AM

...he should have lived forever...


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: Wally Macnow
Date: 16 Sep 99 - 11:48 AM

Mark,

The link is still good. It's just not free anymore. If you click on the NYT link and then click on archives on that page, you can get the obit for $2.50. Same day news is free but archived material, with a few exceptions, costs.


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: Peter T.
Date: 16 Sep 99 - 02:51 PM

And yes, Mark, it was the same guy. An original in a world of copies.
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: Penny S.
Date: 30 Sep 99 - 01:15 PM

There was a good obituary in the Guardian


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 14 Mar 05 - 09:10 PM

REFRESH---just to remember the guy


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Subject: RE: Moondog is dead (Sept 1999)
From: SINSULL
Date: 14 Mar 05 - 09:38 PM

I remember seeing him panhandling in NYC. He offered to write a poem on the spot for a few coins and was covered by the local news channels. He and the man who walked around with a paper bag over his head were NYC icons and tourist favorites although both preferred to be left alone.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Moondog is dead (1916-1999)
From: keberoxu
Date: 11 Jan 19 - 02:52 PM

Have just acquired a copy of The Viking of 6th Avenue, Moondog's posthumous biography, written and published in the United States. Will comment further as I read deeper into its pages. Here are a few things.

Charlie Baum, sadly, is on the right track. God rest Dick Greenhaus, who at this time is very recently deceased; Greenhaus posted to this obit thread that Moondog was a Juilliard graduate; Baum disbelieved it. One of the first things I did when the biography copy came out of the packet, was to turn to the index and look under Juilliard. Nothing there.
And believe me, if I go cover to cover in the Moondog biography and find something about Juilliard regardless of the index, you all will be the first to hear about it.

If I recall right from glancing at pages of the book:

how he got by, in New York? There was a resident hotel called something like "Ariosto." Moondog could afford to stay there, if nowhere else, and it was his home for years. When the hotel closed, he had to work out other arrangements.

He was in hospital (in Germany) when he died of heart failure. And that proved a blessing, in light of the chronic illness that was affecting the quality of his life.
Diabetes made his final years uncomfortable, when they were not worse than uncomfortable. Neuropathy set in. He needed a catheter. On one foot, there were two separate amputations, one toe at a time. Until the diabetes took its toll, Moondog had stoically endured all manner of privations, and his health had been robust.

Moondog's international travels made his resettlement in Germany possible; and Germany was not the only place to which he travelled. He was lionized in England, where Danny Thompson, bassist for the Pentangle, sometimes gave him a place to stay. Moondog would stay up at all hours, composing and working, and that meant he was using the Braille device, which was a little bit noisy; so much so, that Thompson initially guessed at an invasion of mice in the house. (from the book)

The biography includes a few pages of black and white copies of photographs; there is one of Moondog face-to-face with the then Queen of Sweden, another country to which he travelled.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Moondog is dead (1916-1999)
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 13 Jan 19 - 03:05 PM

More about The Viking of 6th Avenue.

I misspelled the name of the hotel: it was Aristo, not Ariosto.
Here's a quote:

"A friend was able to get him an inexpensive room at 101 West 44th Street, the Aristo Hotel,
where Moondog would stay on and off for almost twenty years."
(the time period is 1950)

-- page 101, chapter 3, Part Two: The Tree of Life (1943 - 1974), Moondog: The Viking of 6th Avenue, by Robert Scotto.


Yes, Juilliard is mentioned, even though it is omitted from the book's index.
Regarding Maestro Artur Rodzinski at the New York Philharmonic, there is a paragraph about Halina Rodzinski, the conductor's wife, who attempted to literally patronize Moondog.

"Although Halina Rodzinski and Louis[Moondog] differ on the course of events in these years, it seems to be not out of rancor. She genuinely gave much of herself to Louis[Moondog]: she tried to get him into Juilliard (which was not equipped to handle handicapped students, he was told) and took him to a noted eye specialist in a vain attempt to appropriate the latest technology. But later she snubbed or misunderstood him. Her book's tone in describing Moondog and his music is condescending ... "

page 93, chapter 3, Part Two: The Tree of Life, Moondog: The Viking of 6th Avenue, by Robert Scotto.


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