Known as the Viking of Sixth Avenue, Moondog was a fixture at the corner of Sixth Avenue and 54th Street from the late 1940's until the early 70's, when he relocated to Germany to live out the rest of his life. Born Louis Hardin in Kansas in 1916, the self-taught musician and composer reportedly started drumming at age five, on drums he created out of cardboard boxes. He would continue to invent musical instruments and write his compositions using braille, after being blinded at age 16 in a farming accident. He recorded a number of albums for both major labels and small independents and has been covered by Antony and the Johnsons, Alan Licht, the Kronos Quartet, Janis Joplin, NRBQ, Motorpsycho, Prefab Sprout, and Laibach, as well as sampled by Mr. Scruff (Ninjatune records) and Mouse on Mars.
Moondog died at the age of 83, in 1999.
A resurgence of interest in his work follows recent CD reissues and compilations, a new biography by Robert Scotto (http://processmediainc.com/titles/coming_soon/moondog.php) and a festival dedicated to his work which runs this Friday and Saturday at the Advent Lutheran Church at 93rd and Broadway in NYC (www.moondogrising.com).