Velvet Underground

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Ian :|
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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Ian :| » Tue Jul 23, 2013 22:13

a while ago we made a list of all of our possesions (for insurance reasons) and we found that we had way more copies of the Velvet Underground and Nico than two people should have!

3 x vinyl
5 x CD
1 x tape
1 x 8 track cartridge (we don't have an 8 track player!)

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linus
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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by linus » Sun Oct 27, 2013 21:02

I have a weird mix of emotions about lou reed dying, first and most instant was 'that's a shame', you know the sort of human response, and then seeing my facebook and tumblr feed go nuts I started thinking more about how we react when public figures die, how we take it personally, not knowing these people but how we have a need to venerate these individuals and how (naturally?) we feel compelled to say the best of things, to be reverential and talk of these people in only the highest, most lauded terms

the first non-contemporary lp I bought was the andy warhol's velvet underground featuring nico compilation put out by mgm in the uk in 1970 (I bought mine in '85, I think), the double lp with the andy warhol lips/straw/coke bottle cover... pretty much everything I was listening to at the time was, the music press advised me, a nod back to the velvets so I figured I needed to find out for myself

the double lp was an incredible sometimes very testing education in music, not just pretty tunes (there were some of those) but discordant noise (lots of that), thick layers of new york junky grime, nihilism and otherness... this was a sixties record?

my best pal back then was and remains a huge bowie fan and as a consequence had a lot of iggy and solo lou stuff, the velvets record was something we bonded over... I always dug the velvets more than the solo lou stuff, she preferred lou alone with all his bowie links... I'd buy further vu lps and devour the 'uptight' book and kind of schooled myself in all that... linking it back and forward between the stuff I dug now (then) and the original stuff, it gave off it's own electricity, changed the way I listened to music, made me appreciate stuff like sonic youth, the boredoms and sun ra, for example, music that demanded something from me... I wasn't alone, there is no doubting the sheer width and depth of influence the velvets had on punk, post-punk and subsequent alternative and independent music

but I could never warm to lou, I read lester bangs and I liked lester bangs and bangs was a fan of lou, and bangs found lou a spikey combative figure, many years later with bangs long dead lou was asked a question that referred to bangs and lou's response was, 'who's lester bangs?', perhaps an example of lou's idiosyncratic humour but as bangs stuck by lou when few others would and declared his genius when other's had written him off, it seems a little nasty, a little too wrapped up in one's own 'genius' and reptilian wit

so, lou reed, possibly my fourth, maybe fifth, sixth? favourite member of the velvet underground, I can't deny the dude his legacy but I find the more emotive responses to his death kind of weird... lou reed wasn't a care bear, he was not some comforting beneficent figure, I don't know, the hagiographies that follow the deaths of key cultural figures, I just find all that kind of fucking weird, maybe it's just that social media capture us in the moment and we have a propensity to talk shit, and possibly (certainly) that's what I'm doing here

maybe with lou reed's death bands can ditch being a copy of a copy of a copy of this particular original and try something else?

yeh, right...

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Trev » Sun Oct 27, 2013 21:13

I dunno.

The Velvet Underground mean a lot to me. Lou may have been an arse. I went through a phase in the early 90s where I bought all his solo records I could find. Some good, many terrible. I just think without him, rock n roll as I'm calling it tonight, would be different somehow.
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linus
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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by linus » Sun Oct 27, 2013 21:21

oh yeh, sure, but as a solo artist, I dunno, maybe he needed to try harder or try less hard, I can't figure which

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Trev » Sun Oct 27, 2013 21:24

a fog of ideas wrote:oh yeh, sure, but as a solo artist, I dunno, maybe he needed to try harder or try less hard, I can't figure which
I know what you mean about trying to hard/not enough.

But from the solo stuff I rummaged back in the early 90s I still like Lou Reed, Transformer, Berlin, Street Hassle, Metal Machine Music and New York. And there good songs on the other LPs too. But he was very inconsistent as a solo artist, but, saying that - The Velvet Underground still are a band I can return too, again and again, pretty much without fail.
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linus
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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by linus » Sun Oct 27, 2013 21:41

Indeed, but I see VU as a group effort, possibly even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary

Fuck it, I haven't come here to trash talk Lou Reed, I just find the majority of the responses to his death entirely at odds with him as a person and the whole attitude and approach of the band, it's like, people, have you not listened to these fucking records? It's like a reflex response, a singer dies, post a youtube of one of their songs, type 'RIP' and get all weepy

I learned all my iconoclastic, sarcastic, snarky ways from the Velvets, what was everybody else doing?

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Trev
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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Trev » Sun Oct 27, 2013 21:45

a fog of ideas wrote:It's like a reflex response, a singer dies, post a youtube of one of their songs, type 'RIP' and get all weepy
Yeah, there is an element of that when anyone of 'note' dies these days isn't there?

I think, for me, it's just made me remember when I got the first compilation tape with those Velvets songs on. Over the past 2 decades I've pretty much written off his newer solo stuff. I didn't really like Songs For Drella. I avoided the reunion thing in the 90s and I rolled my eyes when I heard about that thing with Metallica. There's a lot not to like, that's for sure.

Still, him dying, made me think of happier memories associated with his band. Ex Girlfriends. Lost friends. 18th Birthdays. Hell, even The Mary Chain stuff.
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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by crystalball » Sun Oct 27, 2013 21:50

a fog of ideas wrote:so, lou reed, possibly my fourth, maybe fifth, sixth? favourite member of the velvet underground, I can't deny the dude his legacy but I find the more emotive responses to his death kind of weird... lou reed wasn't a care bear, he was not some comforting beneficent figure, I don't know, the hagiographies that follow the deaths of key cultural figures, I just find all that kind of fucking weird, maybe it's just that social media capture us in the moment and we have a propensity to talk shit, and possibly (certainly) that's what I'm doing here

maybe with lou reed's death bands can ditch being a copy of a copy of a copy of this particular original and try something else?

yeh, right...
Yeah, I can identify with that sentiment. It's alright isn't it? I often get all irreverent when famous people die, even if they are from bands I love, because social-media mourning makes me feel weird. But I still put the third Velvet Underground album on just now because it's just OH! and, although I'd never high-five Lou Reed, he wrote 'Pale Blue Eyes' and that's good enough. I don't feel conflicted at all about that. I'm not even sure what I'm saying now. My head is a little messed up from listening to that record. *sobs*

Oh hey, you know what's nice? The Slumber Party cover of 'What Goes On'. I'll listen to that next.

Murray

Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Murray » Mon Oct 28, 2013 09:17

I don’t contribute to Anorak as much as I once did because Andy Fog of Ideas encapsulates pretty much everything I want to say, nay; everything I bloody think. It’s uncanny.
Every time I read one of his posts, I think “Yeah! I was gonna say that… but nowhere near as well.” So, I post less to prevent myself from sounding like a gibbering sycophant.

Anyway, Lou Reed died, which is sad for his family and loved ones and friends. He was in the Velvets who were great; decades since they released anything worthwhile though. And… erm…

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by indiehorse » Mon Oct 28, 2013 10:01

Personally I enjoyed having my Facebook feed full of VU/Reed songs.
Beats discussing whether the storm was stormy enough for people's tastes.

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Ben » Mon Oct 28, 2013 14:39

a fog of ideas wrote:Indeed, but I see VU as a group effort, possibly even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary

Fuck it, I haven't come here to trash talk Lou Reed, I just find the majority of the responses to his death entirely at odds with him as a person and the whole attitude and approach of the band, it's like, people, have you not listened to these fucking records? It's like a reflex response, a singer dies, post a youtube of one of their songs, type 'RIP' and get all weepy

I learned all my iconoclastic, sarcastic, snarky ways from the Velvets, what was everybody else doing?
's funny isn't it, when the news filtered through last night perhaps my third or fourth thought was "well that's one tough fucking obituary that a few hundred journalists are gonna have to file by the morning".

For years the whole "Lou Reed is an arsehole" meme has been a running joke in the msuic world, but I dunno if it hold much water to be honest - for every anecdote you read about him being a dick to someone or making a really bad decision, there's another story about him being incredibly kind and eloquent and so on....

I dunno, I guess these days I tend to see him more as someone who was always pushing awkwardly towards some kind of... *something* that nobody except him ever quite managed to 'get', both in terms of his music and his personal conduct. Kind of tragic in a sense, I guess. Millionaire rock star who never managed to make anyone 'understand' - world's smallest violin, etc.

I guess he was just a bit of a complicated, mixed up guy really.... as were all the members of the Velvet Underground, come to think of it*... in fact, read an interview with each of them in turn and it's amazing that they managed to work together for so long without killing each other - but then presumably that clash of personalities is what helped make their output so astonishingly powerful and varied. Like Mr. Fog above, I definitely see the band's achievements as a group effort... Even if Lou took all the songwriting money, I think it's notable that ALL of the VU recordings sound spontaneous and passionate, whereas pretty much all solo Lou Reed stuff sounds like calculated moments of "rock n' roll" spontaneity being recreated by actors under laboratory conditions. Could never really get into that... lots of "oh, well, theoretically I suppose this is quite a good song, but..." moments whenever I've tried.

And, uh, yeah, dunno where I'm going with this - just thinking out loud basically.

*Well except Doug Yule I suppose. He just seems like a nice bloke who wanted to play some tunes...

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by bullyhuff » Mon Oct 28, 2013 18:34



They were wild like the USA
A mystery band in a New York way
Rock and roll, but not like the rest
And to me, America at it's best
How in the world were they making that sound?
Velvet Underground.

A spooky tone on a Fender bass
Played less notes and left more space
Stayed kind of still, looked kinda shy
Kinda far away, kinda dignified.
How in the world were they making that sound?
Velvet Underground.

Now you can look at that band and wonder where
All that sound was coming from
With just 4 people there.

Twangy sounds of the cheapest types,
Sounds as stark as black and white stripes,
Bold and brash, sharp and rude,
Like the heats turned off
And you're low on food.
How in the world were they making that sound?
Velvet Underground.
Like this...

Wild wild parties when they start to unwind
A close encounter of the thirdest kind
On the bandstand playing, everybody's saying
How in the world were they making that sound?
Velvet Underground.

Well you could look at that band
And at first sight
Say that certain rules about modern music
Wouldn't apply tonight.

Twangy sounds of the cheapest kind,
Like "Guitar sale $29.99,"
Bold and brash, stark and still,
Like the heats turned off
And you can't pay the bill.
How in the world were they making that sound?
Velvet Underground.

Both guitars got the fuzz tone on
The drummer's standing upright pounding along
A howl, a tone, a feedback whine
Biker boys meet the college kind
How in the world were they making that sound?
Velvet Underground.

Wild wild parties when they start to unwind
A close encounter of the thirdest kind
On the bandstand grooving, everybody moving
How in the world are they making that sound?
Velvet Underground.

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bulgariandisco
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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by bulgariandisco » Mon Oct 28, 2013 23:10

Murray wrote:
Anyway, Lou Reed died, which is sad for his family and loved ones and friends. He was in the Velvets who were great; decades since they released anything worthwhile though. And… erm…
Where's that 'like/THIS^^/etc' button, then?

I had that reaction many of you mention too, mainly I think because a lot of friends who would be irreverent/iconoclastic when someone more mainstream died, were quick to post respectfully on Facebook. Which is entirely their right, of course. I was certainly sad when Grant McLennan died, or concerned when Edwyn was seriously ill despite not knowing them personally.

I don't know. It just seemed a little 'he was the Grumpy Old Bastard of People's Hearts' somehow.

Still, Foggy Notion, Pale Blue Eyes etc. Nice one Lou (which is probably all those people on Facebook meant anyway...)

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by alongwaltz » Tue Oct 29, 2013 01:53

There's a commercial on TV right now for the new Playstation system which features a bunch of video game soldiers and killers singing "Perfect Day." It comes on every 15 minutes.

I really wanted to post a Facebook status along the lines of "Supposedly the guy who wrote that Playstation commercial song died." but I didn't have the nerve. Not everyone appreciates my sense of humor.

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by Jay » Wed Oct 30, 2013 10:55

I don't know what Lou Reed was like in private, I never met him (sort of), but in public he ranged from idiosyncratic to a complete cunt. Maybe he was a pussy cat when you got to know him and the media persona was all an act. It was a hell of an act that lasted 45 years without him letting his guard down once, but it's possible. I kind of hope that's true and he spent all that time laughing at us, but I don't suppose it makes any difference either way.

For all that, I have been sad these last few days, but I think I'm sad for my old mate Chris. He lent me a copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico back in the late 80s not long after we'd met at 6th form college. You all know the story about being exposed to that album, it's been written about a million times, and my version is no different. Has a month gone by without me playing Heroin at least once since then? Maybe, but not many.

From that point on Chris and Lou Reed kind of got confused in my head. It didn't help that they looked almost identical. I got all the VU albums from Chris, while in turn he began to live his life like a character from one of The Velvet Underground's songs and at the same time made Lou Reed's cantankerous behaviour look positively appealing in comparison. In public he was a pyrotechnic explosion, in private withdrawn and depressed. I don't know why he decided to offload on me, we really didn't know one another that well, and at 18 I didn't have the skills to deal with it. He clearly had serious problems and although I tried my best, I can't deny that at times he was hard work and I found the situation tiring.

We lost touch when I went to university. He didn't do well in his A-levels and stayed at home. I haven't seen him since. I hope he's OK. I hope Lou Reed dying hasn't affected him too badly. I hope such things don't affect him like they once did any more. I hope he's happy.

That's what happens when famous people die isn't it? We get sad because we relate their lives to our own. Probably not as extreme as thinking that for a couple of years in your late teens you went to college with Lou Reed, but their songs or their films or their TV programmes or their books or their goals take us back to a time and a place and to people we have loved and lost.

So, as mawkish and uncool as it may appear, RIP Lou Reed, you may have been a fucker, but I will never be able to express emotion in the way you did on Pale Blue Eyes, and bizarrely enough, we had a few amazing nights raising merry hell through the streets of my home town.

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Re: Velvet Underground

Post by linus » Sun Nov 03, 2013 13:00


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