Eccentric Nashville musician R. Stevie Moore has been writing music for more than 45 years, releasing 400-plus albums in media as varied as CD-R, cassette and digital download. And it’s all been done in essential obscurity. It makes one wonder: What keeps R. Stevie Moore going?
“Music is good,” Moore answers via email. “I don’t understand the question.”
Since the ’60s Moore has blazed his own path, producing a titanic, genre-defying body of work from the highly experimental to straight-ahead pop to what Moore refers to as “anti-pop.” He’s never found anything approaching mainstream success, instead becoming a treasured best-kept secret among esoteric pop connoisseurs. His first tour didn’t come until 2011.
In 2012, Moore released Lo Fi High Fives … A Kind of Best Of …, a boggling coterie of (un)hit songs and anti-anthems. In it, you can hear the width and breadth of Moore’s accessible side. The Beatles-esque “Pop Music” would fit nicely on classic rock radio, and “Show Biz is Dead” is a brainy, herky-jerky, new wave song indicting vapid celebrity worship.
Now, with the help of the internet and the R. Stevie Moore Cassette Club, Moore, at age 62, is more successful than ever. “A rock ‘n’ roll success story at my age is dumbfounding, surreal and exhausting,” Moore says. But the musician is planning for the future. “More of the same,” he says, which includes “recording, official records, gigs and tours, stardom, uncertainty yet pushing outward and upward.”
Behavior Castle presents R. Stevie Moore and Portland’s The Memories 8 pm Thursday, Feb. 20, at Wandering Goat; $5.