11 min read

Saying goodbye to Joe Flaherty, SCTV's criminally underappreciated utility player and secret weapon

Flaherty, more than any other SCTV cast member, kept the flame of the series alive. The obvious enthusiasm and pride that he maintained for the show’s legacy is on display in the handful of interviews he gave on it over the years.
Saying goodbye to Joe Flaherty, SCTV's criminally underappreciated utility player and secret weapon
The man. The myth. The legend.

It’s often been said by rock scribes that Moe Tucker was “the heart” of the Velvet Underground, and I won’t disagree with that assessment. 

As one-fourth of a mercurial, chaotic, trail-blazing quartet that essentially invented the concept of anarchic noise-pop, that diminutive, no-nonsense, devoutly Catholic punch card operator kept it between the ditches. True, the fact that she avoided recreational drugs like the plague, other than the occasional bottle of Budweiser or Pabst Blue Ribbon, helped her avoid the drastic mood shifts that contributed to that iconic group’s volatile history. Notwithstanding her unexpectedly antagonistic and regressive political viewpoints over the last 15 years, which left many of her more progressively minded admirers scratching their heads or wringing their hands, she dignified herself since that band’s early ‘70s dissolution as something of its only constant. Amidst all the acrimony that came along with their messy breakup, Moe emerged as the quiet, low-profile peacemaker who remained on good terms with all her former bandmates. And, perhaps surprisingly, the one member whose post-VU music often hewed closest to that band’s trademark sound.

It cannot be ignored that Tucker was the drummer of the band. Her innovative style of playing is remembered for its precise, unwavering meter and tempo. Despite occasional bursts of tribal percussion which openly displayed affection for the work of her hero, the Nigerian drumming icon Babatunde Olatunji, Moe’s trademark contribution to the VU was serving as the calm in the midst of the raging guitar and keyboard storm whipped up by Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and, later, Doug Yule.

It's a cliché, but this human metronome with the unique ability to express profound emotion through stark and rigid minimalism was not just the heart of that band, she was its heartbeat.

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