"Yoo Doo Right" -- the most enduring song on Can's debut, Monster Movie, and a sibling of sorts to the Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray" -- was driven by Mooney's never-ending wail. With a flat, raspy voice that could go from beatnik-speak to soulful croon to chanting madness, Mooney practiced rock 'n' roll as surrealist primal scream. He sang nonsense nursery rhymes, blues rants, and poetic odes to butterflies, water lilies, and spaceships. On "Little Star of Bethlehem," he repeated, "Froggie and Toadie carried off tangerine seeds one by one/ And came back for the popcorn after dinner." What this stuff meant was anybody's guess. It just sounded good shouted over clanging guitar and trance-inducing drumbeats.
After leaving Can and Germany in 1969, Mooney made his way as a printer, painter, and teacher, among other things. Except for a brief Can reunion in the late 1980s, Mooney stayed out of music until the mid-1990s, when a renewed interest in Can brought him out of retirement. Now, with the aid of Bay Area art-rockers the 10th Planet (which features members of MX-80 Sound), Mooney offers lengthy free-form freakouts and dismantled versions of Can classics, full of blustery bass winds, skittering free-jazz drums, prog-rock guitars, and his own unhinged recitations.