A Walk Through Velvet Underground History With John Cale

Touring a multimedia experience dedicated to the 1960s group with one of its founders.

Comments: 17

  1. Maybe the greatest band - ever.

  2. John Cale is not the only surviving member of the VU’s original lineup. Nor Tucker is still with us.

  3. Sorry for the typo. I meant Mo (Maureen) Tucker.

  4. @Paul Sager
    Wikipedia lists Angus MacLise as the original drummer, with Moe Tucker joining one year later...

  5. Overlooking Maureen Tucker seems like a huge gaffe; while she may not be a founding member, she's part of the classic lineup everyone knows and is still very much alive.

  6. I have always been dazzled by their impeccancy in postulating the values of freedom.

  7. Finally a challenge to the foolish notion that “Blondie, LCD Soundsystem and the Strokes” are the inheritors of the VU legacy. These sanitized, formulaic, derivative and commercial groups have nothing in common with the ethos and attitude of the VU, let alone the raw energy and experimentalism of the music for its time, aside from the fact that they maybe cribbed an aesthetic they did not pioneer and brought it to commercial audiences. The Times is my go-to for news, but sometimes it feels like the music and culture writing (to say nothing of the tone-deaf and brand-pandering styles section) is coming from someone who never set foot downtown before Whole Foods. I appreciate that the exhibit includes nods to these more accessible groups, and their music can be good too, but I hope for better context and maybe an actual critique from culture writing at the Times. Trap is also not some new thing, but props to Cale for at least pointing to something actually relevant and influential.

  8. Now Playing: My Funny Valentine - Nico

  9. Still listen to Heroin with volume turned up to 11 at least one a month - and still kinda like Black Angel's.

  10. I sang with the Velvet underground, for one night and one song. Nico was not there. They were playing in the upstairs room of the original Max's Kansas City, chick peas and all. I worked there for a short time as a waitress. It was an education. I had a mile crush on John Cale, he had no interest in me. I asked if I could sing with them after my shift that night, and they said sure and I think it was John who taught me the lyrics, I do not even remember the song. Lou Reed was there, but I do not remember much about him. I did see him from time to time around with the Warhol crowd. We had friends in common,Candy Darling and Jackie and Holly. I was in one of Jackie's plays.
    Reading this article brings back Max's and those mad, outrageous and wildly funny, poignant people who went there. I was a single mom and actress, I never used drugs, well except for pot, once in a while, I had to be disciplined and responsible. I never fit in really. I got to sit in the back room there with the celebrities only because I was with Candy or Jackie or one of the others, And what I remember most was the dessert called a snowball, It was three scoops of vanilla Ice cream and chocolate syrup, with whip cream and coconut on top. I am sure I was just terrible singing that one song, but the Velvet Underground guys were very sweet.

  11. Sometimes I feel so happy...:-D

    My pride: original early presses of VU's first three albums.

    ...linger on

  12. Great Friday read before I go on my walk. When I was working and my sister would visit me at my job, she’d call me from the lobby of the building. She’d say “oo wow” and I would reply “bow wow.” Lou Reed and the VU.

  13. My first listening of VU ("Heroin") completely stunned a 15 year old girl from a town of 2400 on the Calif/Mexican border. Can't really go back to the Beach Boys after that :)

  14. The VU was beyond great, pure creative genius. They changed my life and are as relevant today as they were on day one.

  15. It’s hard to talk about John Cale just as a member of the VU. He has had a rather extensive career creating all kinds of varied and interesting music, at times even evocative. You have to expect that his relationship to his past has shifted as his life unfolded. What was once so clear has now turned foggy with moments of focused clarity breaking up the ‘dreaminess’ that becomes the distant past. Memory is an entity unto itself, replete with unknown edits, asides and fading partial truths. Perhaps with age, this fading is a blessing. It affords the view back that is at once a sort of history and an aspect of fantasy. We can become who we want to have been, if only in our minds.
    “Buffalo Ballet” is a terrific example...

  16. Yes, Maureen Tucker was not the _original_ drummer, but she is still alive, and arguably contributed significantly to our conception of the Velvet Underground. So the twice repeated statement that Cale is the "only surviving member of the group's original lineup" while technically true is misleading.

  17. No mention here that Cale was in the U.S. on a Leonard Bernstein scholarship. Nor, that the band started out as The Primitives with sculptor Walter De Maria as the drummer.