Photo of Weber from August 2005, courtesy of Dr. Roger Straus
Odes to a Rounder
Interviews and intro by Jason Gross
When I asked Peter Stampfel to write about the late Steve Weber (who died on February 7th), his old running buddy in the Holy Modal Rounders (and fellow founding member of the Fugs), he had one request: find other people to contribute too so we could present a well-rounded version of the Rounder. You see, Stampfel and Weber were brothers of another mother but like many siblings, they also had a rivalry, ending with Weber cutting him and his other old friends/musical cohorts out of his life towards the end of it.
Finding other people to speak about Weber wasn't hard. What was hard was finding a lot about the kinder, gentler side of the guy. He was 'an enigma,' 'a great guitarist,' 'living in his own world,' 'funny,' 'in need of attention,' 'musically very knowledgeable,' and so on, etc.. He was complex, which is just what you'd expect from one of the grand-dads of psychedelic folk, freak folk or what have you.
With that in mind, along with Stampfel's lengthy tribute, we have reminiscing from an old friend who put out his only solo album (Kathryn Frederick), a sociologist who provided the wonderful photos here and had some 'run-ins' with him (Roger Straus), writers who knew his work well and had some run-ins with him as well (Michael Simmons, Richie Unterberger, Ed Ward) and even the mad soul who made a movie about the Rounders (Paul Lovelace).
STAMPFEL TOASTS WEBER FRIENDS/WRITERS/DIRECTOR TOAST WEBER
ALSO SEE THIS THREE PART MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO WEBER, ORGANIZED BY KATHRYN FREDERICK:
Also see this video of a rare Weber solo appearance from 1997:
Also see our interview with Stampfel
Stampfel's article on Freak Folk origins
Stampfel's tribute to Sam Shepard
Stampfel's article on 'go' songs
Our interviews with The Fugs
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