Posts Tagged ‘The Velvet Underground’

ARC052_LouReed_JeffAlbertson

In the run-up to the release of ‘Do Angels Need Haircuts? Early Poems by Lou Reed’, we explore the music icon’s gift for penning verse . In August 1970, when he was 28 years old, Lou Reed quit The Velvet Underground and moved back into his parents’ home in Long Island, where he stayed for the better part of a year in seclusion to write poetry. He vowed never to play rock and roll again and focussed on writing verse which eventually found its way into the pages of Rolling Stone, in addition to smaller poetry zines like The Harvard Advocate, The World, Fusion, The Unmuzzled Ox, and Cold Spring Journal.

“I’m a poet,” Reed publicly declared on March 10th, 1971, as he took to the stage of the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, New York. Standing before the likes Allen Ginsberg and Ted Berrigan, who smiled in support, Reed recited a selection of new poems along with the lyrics by The Velvet Underground.

Six months later, Reed began recording Transformer, his debut solo album produced by David Bowie and arranged by Mick Ronson. But his time away from the limelight was not in vain for it had solidified Reed’s gift for penning lyrical verse that lived on the page – and sometime later in song.

In 1974, Reed compiled All the Pretty People, a book of poetry that was never published. It is only now that his verse has been unearthed, collected, and released in Do Angels Need Haircuts? Early Poems by Lou Reed (Anthology Editions, May 1). The book includes 7” record of the 1971 live reading along with a foreword by Anne Waldman, an afterword by Laurie Anderson, archival notes by Don Fleming, and photographs by Mick Rock.

Here, Fleming provides a five-point guide to the poetry of this music icon.

The rock star as recluse

“Although this mysterious period between The Velvet Underground and his first solo album isn’t as documented as other periods, we know that Lou Reed moved home to regroup. He needed some time off to gather himself and decide where he was going. I don’t think at the time anyone saw what The Velvet Underground was as a huge success. I don’t think Lou was convinced that was going to be his career (laughs). I think he had always fought the idea that he should be a writer and not a rock and roll singer. His lyrics for The Velvet Underground were above and beyond what most people were writing and I think it was drowned out a bit by the chaos of the music. He was serious about poetry and wanted to make a go of it.”

Life as a source for verse

“Spirited Leaves of Autumn directly references his time in college and Delmore Schwartz, his professor and mentor at Syracuse University. It’s an amazing narrative story done in the way that only Lou can create: he invokes Finnegan’s Wake, James Joyce, and people like Sweet Michael, who committed suicide by leaping in front of a train. The poem was a way of putting together his life experience. When you hear Lou reciting the poem, it comes alive in a whole different way.”

The quiet recital

“What’s notable about the performance is that it was a little awkward for him. Lou starts off the reading by having people yelling to be louder because there was no microphone; he was just at a podium. It was his first time and you could tell that he was a bit tentative. He was much more comfortable in the character he is on stage than he was in revealing himself in this way. A lot of the audience wasn’t there to see him succeed as a poet; they were there to see what would happen. People were not very vocal or encouraging. The reaction of the crowd was on the quiet side, with polite, occasional applause.”

The Murder Mysteries explained

Lou read Velvet Underground lyrics including The Murder Mysteries. As a song it was hard to listen to because two people were talking at once in two different speakers. At the reading, he explained that one side is a manifesto about everything that bothered him and then, on the other side he declared himself the king and meted out his punishment. He saw the song as a concrete poem where you would have a poem where the lyrics were printed over each other. It was always part of his creative nature to approach his lyric writing as poetry.”

Where did All the Pretty People go?

Lou put together a manuscript with 33 poems laid out in four chapters. Most of it is typewritten and some of it is handwritten with scratched out with notes here and there. We have the letter he sent to the publisher and the letter that came back to him that said, ‘At this time we are not interested in doing this.’ We don’t see any indication that he went anywhere else with it. I find it interesting that he didn’t publish it, even later on when he could have easily put it out.”

Poems from All the Pretty People featured in Do Angels Need Haircuts? include LipstickForce ItWhiskeyBad TripDo Angels Need Haircuts?Since Half the World is H2OThe Murder Mystery, and a slight variation on He Thought of Love in the Lazy Darkness.

Advertisements

This 3 x CD Collection brings together a set of rare recordings by the Velvets, 50 plus years (for most) after they were first made and which will complete collections worldwide for the millions of fans still flying the flag for this strange collective. Everything about The Velvet Underground was astonishing. Take a female drummer with one beat (Mo Tucker), a classically trained Welshman (John Cale), a blonde German beauty who couldn’t sing (Nico), and two buddies from Syracuse University (Sterling Morrison and Lou Reed) who all came together as a band formed to promote Lou’s song ‘The Ostrich’.

Add another blonde who painted soup cans, a name derived from a novel about sado-masochism and Verve as a major label, and you arrive at the Velvet Underground, a band who rewrote the rules for music as we know it.

CD ONE features rehearsals for the band s first album, bizarrely broadcast across radio waves at the time, and which give a sense of quite how that seismic album came to be. The first disc also includes three rare live cuts recorded in NYC the same year.

CD TWO includes the group s show at La Cave in Cleveland, Ohio on 2nd October 1968, by which time John Cale had been fired from the group and had just been replaced by Doug Yule for this show.

CD THREE contains the concert given by Lou Reed, John Cale and Nico at the Bataclan nightclub in Paris on 19th January 1972, a show as legendary as the band whose name remains the starting point for all modern music.

White Light/White Heat Magazine Ad

Recorded in a short flurry of studio sessions in September 1967, and released on January 30th, 1968, White Light/White Heat the band’s final studio album with co-founder and multi-instrumentalist John Cale  boasted none of the louche charm of the Velvets’ 1967 debut, The Velvet Underground & Nico; nor, for that matter, did it contain any of the hushed melodicism heard on the band’s self-titled 1969 LP, and it was utterly devoid of any instant classic-rock anthems . With its needle-pinning assault of overdriven instruments, and lyrics about methamphetamine abuse (the title track), botched medical procedures (“Lady Godiva’s Operation”), grisly violence (“The Gift”), cries from beyond the grave (“I Heard Her Call My Name”) and heroin-dealing drag queens (“Sister Ray”), White Light/White Heat was all about pushing the boundaries of sound and taste. Even 50 years after its initial release, it remains a bracing and challenging listen. “It’s a very rabid record,” Cale opined in the liner notes to the 1995 box set Peel Slowly and See. “The first one had some gentility, some beauty. The second one was consciously anti-beauty.”

BY MID-1967, ONLY a few months after The Velvet Underground’s debut album was released, their iconic ice queen singer Nico was a solo artist, and pop art svengali Andy Warhol was no longer managing and feeding the group. Warhol’s parting gift: the all-black cover idea for their follow-up – the album they would name “White Light/White Heat”. Meanwhile, the band scrabbled to survive in the drug-soaked art-scene demi-monde of Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

“Our lives were chaos,” VU guitarist Sterling Morrison told me in 1994. “Things were insane, day in and day out: the people we knew, the excesses of all sorts. For a long time, we were living in various places, afraid of the police. At the height of my musical career, I had no permanent address.”

There were mounting internal tensions, too, over direction and control between Lou Reed and John Cale, the group’s founders, especially after their debut album’s failure to launch. “White Light/White Heat was definitely the raucous end of what we did,” Morrison affirmed. But, he insisted, “We were all pulling in the same direction. We may have been dragging each other off a cliff, but we were definitely all going in the same direction.”

From that turbulence and frustration, Reed, Cale, Morrison and drummer Moe Tucker created their second straight classic. Where The Velvet Underground And Nico was a demonstration of breadth and vision, developed in near-invisibility even before the band met Warhol  “We rehearsed for a year for that album, without doing anything else,” Cale claims  “White Light/White Heat” was a more compact whiplash: the exhilarating guitar violence starting with the title track, peaking in Reed’s atonal-flamethrower solo in I Heard Her Call My Name; the experimental sung and spoken noir of Lady Godiva’s Operation and The Gift; the propulsive, distorted eternity of sexual candour and twilight drug life, rendered dry and real in Reed’s lethal monotone, in Sister Ray.

“By this time, we were a touring band,” Cale explains. “And the sound we could get on stage – we wanted to get that on the record. In some performances, Moe would go up first, start a backbeat, then I would come out and put a drone on the keyboard. Sterling would start playing, then Lou would come out, maybe turn into a Southern preacher at the mike. That idea of us coming out one after the other, doing whatever we wanted, that individualism – it’s there on Sister Ray, in spades.”

White Light/White Heat was also the Velvets’ truest record, the most direct, uncompromised document of their deep, personal connections to New York’s avant-garde in the mid-’60s; the raw, independent cinema of Jack Smith, Jonas Mekas and Piero Heliczer; Cale’s pre-Velvets experiences in drone, improvisation and radical composition with John Cage and the early minimalists La Monte Young and Tony Conrad; Reed’s dual immersion, from his days at Syracuse University, in the free jazz of Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor and the metropolitan-underworld literature of William Burroughs and Hubert Selby, Jr.

largely ignored by the music press at the time, White Light/White Heat would prove profoundly influential upon such artists as the Stooges, David Bowie, Jonathan Richman, Suicide, the Buzzcocks and a little band called Nirvana, to name a few – and in 2003, Rolling Stone ranked White Light/White Heat at Number 293 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The album has also gained new fans over the years via various reissues, and will surely make some additional converts via its inclusion in Verve Records/UMe’s forthcoming 180-gram vinyl box set, The Velvet Underground, which drops February 23rd and will contain “definitive stereo editions” of the band’s four studio albums, as well as Nico’s 1967 album Chelsea Girl, and a two-LP recreation of the band’s much-mythologized “lost” album from 1969.

The White Light/White Heat 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe edition. Includes mono mix, outtakes and full live set from The Gymnasium, New York, April 30th, 1967.

White/Light Super Deluxe Edition 2013
Test Pressing White Light/White Heat
Test pressing of Lady Godiva’s Operation, the “experimental noir” from the White Light/White Heat sessions.

“I’m in there with a B.A. in English – I’m no naif,” Reed said shortly before his death. “And being in with that crowd, the improvisers, the film-makers, of course it would affect where I was going. We said it a hundred times; people thought we were being arrogant and conceited. We’re reading those authors, watching those Jack Smith movies. What did you think we were going to come out with?”

The Velvet Underground White Light/White Heat

The Velvet Underground as they were on the eve of White Light/White Heat’s release. from top left: Maureen “Moe” Tucker, Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison, John Cale.
The Velvets were also a rock band, with roots in that ferment but ambitions charged by the other modern action around them. “There was close competition with Bob Dylan,” Cale admits. “He was getting into people’s heads. We thought we could do that.”“Maybe our frustrations led the way,” Morrison said of White Light/White Heat. “But we were already pretty much into it. We had good amps, good distortion devices. We were the first American band to have an endorsement deal with Vox.” The album, he contended, “was just us using the Vox amps and playing them emphatically.”“They say rock is life-affirming music,” Reed says. “You feel bad, you put on two minutes of this – boom. There’s something implicit in it. And we were the best, the real thing. You listen to the Gymnasium tape [the live set included with the Deluxe reissue], this album – there is the real stuff. It’s aggressive, yes. But it’s not aggressive-bad. This is aggressive, going to God.”
Lou Reed

LOU REED  : 1942-2013. Guitarist/vocalist and primary songwriter. “No one censured it,” he said of WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT. “Because no one listened to it.”

John Cale

JOHN CALE : Bass guitar/viola/keyboards. The classically trained Welshman provided the deadpan monologue for The Gift: “Everyone was hellbent on being heard.”

Sterling Morrison

STERLING MORRISON : 1942-1995. Guitar and “medical sound effects” on Lady Godiva’s Operation: “Maybe our frustrations led the way.”

Moe Tucker

MOE TUCKER : Drums. Provider of the group’s relentless, unfussy propulsion. “The songs were the songs,” she drily notes.

Andy Warhol

 In September 1967 at Mayfair Studios – located on Seventh Avenue near Times Square and the only eight-track operation in town – The Velvet Underground put White Light/White Heat to tape. “I think it was five days,” Cale has said.

Gary Kellgren, Mayfair’s house engineer, previously worked with the Velvets on part of the debut ‘Banana’ album and engineered the spring-’67 recording of Nico’s solo debut, Chelsea Girl. The producer, officially, was TomWilson, also with a track record with the group. In 1965, when the producer was still at Columbia, he invited Reed and Cale to play for him in his office. “We dragged Lou’s guitar, my viola and one amplifier up there,” said Cale. “We played Black Angel’s Death Song for him. He knew there was energy and potential.” At Mayfair, Cale mostly remembered Wilson’s “parade of beautiful girls, coming through all the time. He had an incredible style with women.”

White Light/White Heat Test Pressing
That’s the single! Test pressing of the ill-fated White Light/White Heat 45.

 

But the Velvets’ volume and aggression posed problems for the recording men, and Reed insisted that Kellgren simply walked out during Sister Ray. “At one point, he turns to us and says, ‘You do this. When you’re done, call me.’ Which wasn’t far from the record company’s attitude. Everything we did – it came out. No one censured it. Because no one listened to it.”

On Sister Ray, Reed sang live across the feral seesawing of the guitars, drums and Cale’s Vox organ as each pressed for dominance in the mix. “It was competition,” Cale says. “Everyone was hellbent on being heard.” The ending, though, was easy. “We just knew when it was over,” Morrison remembered. “It felt like ending. And it did.”

There was a real Sister Ray: “This black queen,” Reed says. “John and I were uptown, out on the street, and up comes this person – very nice, but flaming.” Reed wrote the words, a set of incidents and character studies, on a train ride from Connecticut after a bad Velvets show there. “It was a propos of nothing. ‘Duck and Sally inside’ – it’s a taste of Selby, uptown. And the music was just a jam we had been working on” – provisionally titled Searchin’, after one of the lyrics (“I’m searchin’ for my mainline”).

“The lyrics aren’t negative,” Reed argues. “White Light/White Heat – it has to do with methamphetamine. SisterRay is all about that. But they are telling you stories – and feelings. They are not stupid. And the rhythm is interesting. But you’d think that. I studied long enough.”

White Light/White Heat is renowned for its distortion and unforgiving thrust. But it also features the simple, airy yearning of Here She Comes Now, one of the Velvets’ finest ballads. And there are telling, human details even in the noise, like the breakdown at the end of White Light/White Heat, when Cale’s frantic, repetitive bass playing leaps forward in an out-of-time spasm. “I’m pretty sure it broke down,” he says of his part, “because my hand was falling off.”

White Light/White Heat Magazine Ad

Lady Godiva’s Operation was, Cale explains, “a radio-theatre piece, trying to use the studio to create this panorama of a story” – lust, transfiguration and ominously vague surgery that goes fatally wrong. The Gift was just the band and Cale’s rich Welsh intonation. Reed wrote the story – an examination of nerd-ish obsession peppered with wily minutiae (the Clarence Darrow Post Office) and ending in sudden death – at Syracuse University, for a creative writing class. Reed: “The idea was two things going at once”  Cale in one stereo channel, music in the other. “If you got tired of the words, you could just listen to the instrumental.”

Cale’s reading was a first take. The sound of the blade plunging through the cardboard, “right through the centre of Waldo Jeffers’ head,” was Reed stabbing a canteloupe with a knife. Frank Zappa, also working at Mayfair with The Mothers Of Invention, was there. “He said, ‘You’ll get a better sound if you do it this way,’” Reed recalled. “And then he says, ‘You know, I’m really surprised how much I like your album,’” referring to the ‘Banana’ LP. “Surprised? OK.” Reed smiled. “He was being friendly.”

Wayne McGuire’s ecstatic review of White Light/White Heat, in a 1968 issue of rock magazine Crawdaddy, cited Reed’s playing in “I Heard Her Call My Name” as “the most advanced lead guitar work I think you’re going to hear for at least a year or two.” McGuire also noted the jazz in there, comparing the album – especially SisterRay – to recordings by Cecil Taylor and the saxophonists John Coltrane and Albert Ayler. “Sister Ray is much like [Coltrane’s] Impressions,” McGuire wrote, “in that it is a sustained exercise in emotional stampede and modal in the deepest sense: mode as spiritual motif, mode as infinite musical universe.”.The Velvet Underground 1968

There was a single, the title track coupled with Here She Comes Now. It didn’t help. By the fall of 1968, Cale was gone. Forced to leave the group he co-founded, the Welshman embarked on a second career as a producer, composer and solo artist that continues to this day.The Velvets went back on the road, and soon into the studio, with a new bassist, Doug Yule. They found a new power in quiet and more decorative pop on their next two albums, until Reed left in 1970 to begin, eventually, his own extraordinary solo life. Live, without Cale, the Velvets still played Sister Ray.The “Deluxe” collection includes Cale’s last studio sessions with The Velvet Underground. Temptation Inside Your Heart and Stephanie Says were recorded in New York in February, 1968, produced by the band for a prospective single (according to Cale and Morrison). Temptation was their idea of a Motown dance party, with congas and comic asides caught by accident as Reed, Cale and Morrison overdubbed their male-Marvelettes harmony vocals. Stephanie Says was the first of Reed’s portrait songs, named after women in crisis and overheard conversation (Candy Says, Lisa Says, Caroline Says I and II). Cale’s viola hovered through the arrangement like another singer: graceful and comforting.

White Light/White Heat Master Tape
Original studio tape box for I Think I’m Falling In Love, aka Guess I’m Falling In Love. An instrumental outtake on the White Light/White Heat reissue, a vocal version also appears on the Live At The Gymnasium disc.
White Light/White Heat Master Tape
The original mono master tape of the White Light/White Heat album. Note correction of “Searching”, the original title of Sister Ray.

On a spare day in May, 1968, between shows in Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Velvets returned to L.A.’s T.T.G. Studios – where they had worked on The Velvet Underground And Nico – and taped two versions of another viola feature, Hey Mr. Rain. In a 1994 interview, Cale described the song’s droning melancholy and rhythmic suspense as “trying to have a pressure cooker. That’s what those songs were about – Sister Ray, European Son [on The Velvet Underground And Nico], Hey Mr. Rain. They were things we could exploit on stage, flesh out and improvise. But we were driving it into the ground. We hadn’t spent any time quietly puttering around the way we did before the first album.”

The classic quartet cut another song at T.T.G., a recently unearthed attempt at Reed’sBeginning To See The Light. The song, briskly redone with Yule, would open Side Two of the Velvets’ third album. This take has a vintage kick – Martha & The Vandellas’ Dancing In The Street taken at the gait of I’m Waiting For The Man. You also hear the impending change. “Here comes two of you/Which one would you choose?,” Reed sings, an intimation of the cleaving that would alter the Velvets for good.

“John has said we didn’t get to finish what we started – that is sadly true,” Reed acknowledged. “However, as far as we got, that was monumental.” White Light/White Heat, everything leading to it and gathered here – “I would match it,” he says, “with anything by anybody, anywhere, ever. No group in the world can touch what we did.”

Back in 1994,  Moe Tucker was asked about the fuzz and chaos of White Light/White Heat how much they reflected the daily trials and tensions of being The Velvet Underground, always first and alone in their ideals and attack. She replied with her usual, common sense: “I don’t know if I go along with that. The songs were the songs, and the way we played them was the way we each wanted to play them.”

Anything else, she declared with a grin, was “a little too philosophical.”

“THAT WAS MONUMENTAL. I WOULD MATCH IT WITH ANYTHING BY ANYBODY, ANYWHERE, EVER. NO GROUP IN THE WORLD CAN TOUCH WHAT WE DID.”– Lou Reed

The album’s ugly and aggressive sound was an intentional reaction against the flower-power vibe of the “Summer of Love”.
When the Velvet Underground entered New York’s Mayfair Sound Studios to begin work on the album in September 1967, the vaunted “Summer of Love” was still grooving in San Francisco and blissed-out hippie scenes were something the Velvets wanted absolutely no part of. “Inspired by media hype, and encouraged by deceitful songs on the radio (Airplane, Mamas and Papas, Eric Burdon), teenage ninnies flocked from Middle-America out to the coast,” Velvets guitarist Sterling Morrison remembered in Victor Bockris and Gerard Malanga’s Uptight: The Velvet Underground Story. “And so, at the height of the ‘Summer of Love,’ we stayed in NYC and recorded White Light/White Heat, an orgasm of our own.”

“It was very funny – until there were a lot of casualties,” said Lou Reed of the hippie movement in a 1987 Rolling Stone interview. “Then it wasn’t funny anymore. I don’t think a lot of people realized at the time what they were playing with. That flower-power thing eventually crumbled as a result of drug casualties and the fact that it was a nice idea but not a very realistic one. What we, the Velvets, were talking about, though it seemed like a down, was just a realistic portrayal of certain kinds of things.”

The album’s fuzzed-out guitar sounds were the direct result of the band’s endorsement deal with Vox, the British musical-equipment manufacturer.
Initially popularized in America by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks and other British Invasion acts who used their amplifiers, organs and guitars, England’s Vox company struck an endorsement deal with the Velvet Underground in 1966, making Reed & Co. one of (if not the) first American bands to endorse their gear. The powerful Vox amps and fuzz pedals enabled the band to experiment with volume and distortion, which they pushed to the fullest extent on White Light/White Heat. “Those guys used Vox amps and Vox fuzz boxes for the first two albums,” Velvets obsessive Jonathan Richman explained to Bockris and Malanga. “On stuff like ‘Sister Ray’ and ‘The Gift,’ the fuzz is important. Vox fuzz bozes are distinct from other fuzz sounds. Lou used to use the built-in mid-range boost peculiar to Vox amplifiers a lot.” “White Light/White Heat was just us using the Vox amps and playing them emphatically,” added Morrison, with some degree of understatement.

Though generally thought to be about methamphetamine, “White Light/White Heat” may also have been partly inspired by Lou Reed’s interest in metaphysics.
Given Lou Reed and John Cale’s well-known affection for methamphetamine use during the Velvets’ early years, the album’s title track has long been interpreted as nothing more than an enthusiastic ode to shooting speed. But according to Richie Unterberger’s White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day by Day, Reed hinted in a November 1969 radio interview that the song may have also had something to do with his lesser-known interest in metaphysical studies. “I’ve been involved and interested in what they call ‘white light’ for a long time,” he told an interviewer at KVAN in Portland, Oregon, noting his recent investigation of a Japanese form of healing “that’s a way of giving off white light.” In the same interview, he also cited Alice Bailey’s A Treatise on White Magic – which includes instructions on how to “call down a stream of pure White Light” – calling it “an incredible book.”

Lou Reed used a cantaloupe on the album, at the urging of Frank Zappa.
On the track “The Gift,” John Cale reads a short story, written by Reed, about a lovesick young man named Waldo Jeffers, who tries to surprise his girlfriend by mailing himself to her in a large cardboard box, but meets a grisly end when her unsuspecting friend uses a sheet-metal cutter to open the package. “I wrote ‘The Gift’ while I was at college,’ Reed told Lester Bangs in a May 1971 Creem Magazine interview. “I used to write lots of short stories, especially humorous pieces like that. So. one night Cale and I were sitting around and he said, ‘Let’s put one of those stories to music.'”

In order to achieve the sound of a blade plunging through Jeffers‘ skull, Reed (depending on who’s telling the story) either stabbed a cantaloupe with a knife, or smashed it with a wrench – directed by none other than Frank Zappa, who was recording with the Mothers of Invention at the same studio. “He said, ‘You’ll get a better sound if you do it this way,'” Reed later recalled  “And then he says, ‘You know, I’m really surprised by how much I like your album.'”

“Here She Comes Now” was originally written to be sung by Nico.
A sequel to Lou Reed’s mysterious character study “Femme Fatale,” “Here She Comes Now” was originally intended as a vehicle for Nico, the German chanteuse who – at the suggestion of then-manager Andy Warhol – had sung “Femme Fatale,” “I’ll Be Your Mirror” and “All Tomorrow’s Parties” on the Velvet Underground’s first album. She reportedly sang “Here She Comes Now” at a few live performances, as well; and while there’s no recorded version of the song with her on vocals, it’s easy to imagine her Teutonic tones icily caressing lines like “She looks so good/But she’s made out of wood.” But after the band parted ways with both Warhol and Nico in the spring of 1967, it fell to Lou Reed to record the vocals of the song for White Light/White Heat.

Lou Reed’s guitar solo on “I Heard Her Call My Name” was a tribute to jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman.
Throughout his career, Reed often spoke about his love of free jazz, and specifically the music of saxophonist Ornette Coleman. “There were two sides of the coin for me,” he said to David Fricke in 1989. “R&B, doo-wop, rockabilly. And then Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, Archie Shepp, stuff like that. When I was in college, I had a jazz radio show. I called it Excursion on a Wobbly Rail, after a Cecil Taylor song. I used to run around the Village following Ornette Coleman wherever he played.”

Reed’s free jazz influence is apparent on several of White Light/White Heat’s tracks – especially on the vicious, mind-splitting guitar solo in “I Heard Her Call My Name,” which found him cranking up his amp and channeling his inner Coleman. “I wanted to play like that,” Reed said. “I used the distortion to connect the notes, so you didn’t hear me hesitating and thinking. … I never thought of it as violent. I thought it was amazing fun.”

A studio engineer was so put off by “Sister Ray” that he actually left the studio while it was being recorded.
Clocking in at 17-and-a-half minutes on record – and often much longer in concert – the tawdry epic “Sister Ray” was one of Andy Warhol’s favorite songs from the Velvet Underground’s live sets. “When we were making the second record,” Lou Reed “He said, ‘Now you gotta make sure that you do the ‘sucking on my ding-dong’ song.’ ‘Okay, Andy.’ He was a lot of fun, he really was.”

However, one of the engineers working on White Light/White Heat  either Gary Kellgren or Val Valentine, both of whom worked on the record in an engineering capacity was far less amused when the band was recording the improvisatory track in the studio. In Anthony DeCurtis’ Lou Reed: A Life, Reed recounts that, “When we recorded ‘Sister Ray,’ the engineer stood up and said, ‘Listen, I’m leaving. You can’t pay me enough to listen to this crap. I’ll be down in the commissary getting coffee. When you’re done, hit that button and come get me.’ That’s completely true.”

Producer Tom Wilson spent more time chasing women than actually overseeing the album.
Though White Light/White Heat producer Tom Wilson who had also helmed albums by Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Mothers of Invention – had previously worked with the Velvets on The Velvet Underground and Nico, the band wasn’t always thrilled with his involvement (or lack thereof) during the sessions for White Light/White Heat. “He knew more, uh, ladies of the night than there are women on this planet,” John Cale recalled to Creem in 1987. “He’s a swinger par excellence. It was unbelievable, a constant parade into that studio. He was inspired, though, and used to joke around to keep everybody in the band light.” Velvets drummer Moe Tucker was particularly incensed when Wilson became too distracted by what she described as “the blondes running through the studio” to remember to turn up the microphones on her drums during a specific break in “Sister Ray.” “I could have killed myself,” she later complained to the Velvet Underground fanzine What Goes On. “‘Cause we did two takes of that as I recall, and it came out nice, it was really good, and here’s this part that drops out the bottom. I was tapping on the rim, and it wasn’t recorded. And of course everybody thinks that I stopped playing the drums, which infuriates me.”

The album’s cover art was a “parting gift” from Andy Warhol.
When the Velvets and Andy Warhol parted ways shortly after the release of The Velvet Underground & Nico, the split wasn’t exactly an amicable one. “He sat down and had a talk with me,” Lou Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. “[He said] ‘You gotta decide what you want to do. Do you want to keep just playing museums from now on and the art festivals? Or do you want to start moving into other areas? Lou, don’t you think you should think about it?’ So I thought about it, and I fired him. Because I thought that was one of the things to do if we were going to move away from that. He was furious. I’d never seen Andy angry, but I did that day. He was really mad. Called me a rat. That was the worst thing he could think of.”

But by the end of 1967, Warhol’s anger had subsided enough for him to suggest an idea for the design of White Light/White Heat’s album cover. According to a December 1967 letter from Lou Reed to Gerard Malanga, it was Warhol’s idea to use “a black-on-black picture of a motorcyclist tattoo by Billy [Name]. Beautiful. ALL BLACK!” Reed had seen the tattoo in question on the bicep of actor Joe Spencer in Warhol’s film Bike Boy; and with Warhol’s permission, Factory artist Billy Name blew up a black-and-white negative frame from the film and set it against a black background, creating a cover that was the very antithesis of the psychedelic, Sgt. Pepper–inspired imagery that was everywhere at the time.

“White Light/White Heat” and “Here She Comes Now” were banned in several radio markets because of their content.
Though the songs “White Light/White Heat” and “Here She Comes Now” sounded like nothing else on the American airwaves in late 1967, Verve, the band’s label, decided to release the songs – the two shortest cuts on White Light/White Heat – to radio on a seven-inch single. Unsurprisingly, the single stiffed, and so few were even pressed that original copies now change hands for hundreds of dollars. But while the songs had little commercial appeal to begin with, members of the band would claim on several occasions that they had actually been banned – the raging “White Light/White Heat” because of its drug references, and the quieter “Here She Comes Now” due to what some programmers perceived as sexual content. “We put out ‘Here She Comes Now’ in San Francisco and they said, ‘That’s about a girl coming,'” Reed recalled. “And I said, ‘Well no, it’s not, it’s about somebody coming into a room.’ And then I listened to the record and I realized it probably was about a girl coming as a matter of fact, but then again, so what? But we were banned again.”

WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT REISSUE VINYL, DELUXE & SUPER DELUXE EDITIONS

White Light/White Heat Deluxe Edition

“NO ONE LISTENED TO IT. BUT THERE IT IS, FOREVER – THE QUINTESSENCE OF ARTICULATED PUNK. AND NO ONE GOES NEAR IT.”Lou Reed, August, 2013,
Thanksto David Fricke and Mojo Magazine for words

For the Velvet Underground completist This 2017 release (not to be confused with 1969 Live) compiles 1969-era Velvet Underground classics, including some rare mixes, instrumentals and alternate takes on official vinyl for the first time. Lou ReedDoug YuleSterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker spent much of their time on the road in ’69 resulting in the “lost” live album 1969 Live. Several original 1969 mixes from this era are featured here including “Foggy Notion,” “I’m Sticking with You,” “Andy’s Chest,” “I’m Gonna Move Right In,” and “Ocean,” as well as 2014 mixes of “One of These Days,” “Lisa Says,” and more. Double vinyl pressing from Republic Records,

This definitive vinyl edition of VU’s ‘lost’ fourth album presents one cohesive collection on two LPs, with many tracks and mixes making their vinyl debut. You’ll hear the original 1969 mixes of “Foggy Notion,” “I’m Sticking with You,” “Andy’s Chest,” “She’s My Best Friend,” “I’m Gonna Move Right In,” “Ferryboat Bill,” “Ocean,” “Rock & Roll,” 2014 mixes of “One of These Days,” “Lisa Says,” “Ride into the Sun,” “Coney Island Steeplechase” and more precious original recordings of an iconic band. The Velvet Underground formed in 1964 in New York City by singer/guitarist Lou Reed, multi-instrumentalist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Angus MacLise (replaced by Moe Tucker in 1965).

There are Lou Reed acoustic demos, recorded in 1970 shortly after he left the Velvet Underground and moved back to Coney Island to live with his parents. There’s a lot of analysis and information on these demos; search and you shall discover.

Fall 1970:
1. I’m So Free 0:00
2. I Can’t Stand It 2:05
3. Walk and Talk It 4:44

Winter 1970:
4. Going Down 7:38
5. Ride Into the Sun 10:24
6. I’m Sticking With You 12:49
7. Lisa Says 15:05
8. Kill Our Sons (aka Kill Your Sons) 19:31
9. Lonely Saturday Night (aka Goodnight Ladies) 22:44
10. So in Love 24:08
11. She’s My Best Friend 26:15
12. Looking Through the Eyes of Love (aka Oh Jim) 29:05

“So in Love” is exclusive, here. A song never revisited.

The Velvet Underground Share Unissued Single Version of “Rock & Roll”

The Velvet Underground announced a 45th-anniversary reissue of 1970’s album Loaded. Today, they’ve shared one of the six-disc set’s many rarities. “Rock & Roll” (Mono Single Cotillion 45-44133), from the second disc, is the mono mix featured on an unissued “Rock & Roll” single.

That final blast of the spectacular is Loaded; this latest Velvets birthday installment nicely broadens the landscape of their most straight-ahead studio disc. It’s also arguably their most influential LP, with much of their tenure as a legit cult act deriving from its merger of no-nonsense rock riffing, Tin Pan Alley-descended songwriting, and proto-glam moves. Really, any creeping fatigue over the VU reissue apparatus is easily eradicated by pondering just how influential they’ve been; for evidence,

loaded

Looking back on the circumstances around his departure from the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed had this to say in 1972: “I gave them an album loaded with hits to the point where the rest of the people showed their colours. So I left them to their album full of hits that I made.” The recording of Loaded was clearly an emotional time for Reed. The period between the March 1969 release of The Velvet Underground and the start of Loaded’s principal recording sessions in April 1970 was especially fraught for the group. They began work on a fourth studio album in May, 1969. But by August, the band had parted company with MGM – new MD Mike Curb envisaged a more wholesome direction for the label, and suspecting how that might pan out the for his charges, manager Steve Sesnick extricated the group from their contract. By November, the album had disappeared. Lou Reed, meanwhile, was having problems of his own. His long-running affair with Shelley Corwin, his muse, was in a slow decline. Increasingly disturbed by the effects of long-term drug use on close friends including Factory compatriot Billy Name, Reed responded by getting even more out of it. “Lou went out of his skull and ended up with a warped sense of time and space that lasted several weeks,”

At the start of 1970, the Velvet Underground signed to Atlantic Records, while still $30,000 in debut to MGM. Moe Tucker, meanwhile, took maternity leave in March; her stand-in was Doug Yule’s younger brother, Billy. Existing frictions between Reed and Sterling Morrison continued. “I had hardly spoken to Lou in months,” Morrison admitted to NME’s Mary Harron in 1981. “Maybe I never forgave him for wanting Cale out of the band. I was so mad at him, for real or imaginary offences, and I just didn’t want to talk. I was zero psychological assistance to Lou.” Elsewhere, other equally toxic dramas were being played out. Writing in The Velvet Underground fanzine in 1996, Doug Yule revealed, “Sesnick, always looking for the advantage, was driving wedges between everyone, trying to keep the bickering going and the communication between us shut off.”

By the time the Velvets convene to record Loaded, you could be forgiven for wondering whether they’d actually finish the album, or simply combust in the studio. The April to July sessions at Atlantic Studios, New York overlapped with a ten-week homecoming residency at Max’s Kansas City. Reed, worried about his straining his voice, ceded four lead vocals to Doug Yule. “The sessions for Loaded were extremely different than those which produced the third album,” Yule wrote. “Many of the songs had been played live, but the recorded versions were very different than the road versions. The emphasis was on air time. Every song was looked at with the understanding that there was a need to produce some kind of mainstream hit… Songs were built intellectually rather than by the processes that live performances brought to bear, instinct and trial and error.”

The songs – including their roll call of ladies: Jane, Ginny, Miss Linda Lee, Polly May and Joanna Love – represent a refinement of the band’s aesthetic – a healthy middle ground between the avant garde stylings of the first two albums and Reed’s Top 40 sensibilities. And such variety! From jaunty, Monkees style pop (“Who Loves The Sun”) to freewheeling rave-ups (“Oh, Sweet Nuthin’”). And then there’s “Sweet Jane” and “Rock & Roll”. The former, with its sensational ‘D-A-G-Bm-A’ hook, finds Reed on familiar territory, “Standing on the corner / Suitcase in my hand”, watching Jack and Jane, two straights: a banker and a clerk. Reed describes the differences between male and female, conservative and liberated, old and new, shifting perspectives as the song progresses, double backing on himself, wrong-footing the listener. It’s an immense and highly complex piece of narrative songwriting, followed by “Rock & Roll” – one of the great songs about the transformative power of music. Possibly autobiographical, it’s about five-year old Jenny, who “one fine morning turns on a New York station and she doesn’t believe what she heard at all.” Her “life is saved by rock and roll” and she is elevated to the ultimate Reed condition: “It was alright”.

“Cool It Down” is more up-tempo pop, this time with a Stonesy barroom piano, before “New Age” – another example of Reed’s next level song writing on this album. A love song of sorts – delivered by Yule – full of tender nostalgia for a “fat blond actress… over the hill now / And you’re looking for love”. But the real thing here is the song’s audacious three-act structure, beginning with the verses, rising at 3:08 to what you assume is the outro and then slipping in a majestic middle eight at 3:32 to lead you out of the song across the next minute and a half. “Head Held High” is a fun stomping boogie followed by the almost comically jaunty “Lonesome Cowboy Bill” and the beautiful “I Found A Reason” which walks a line between the doo wop so beloved by the young Reed and the stoned balladry of “Pale Blue Eyes”. The pace quickens with “Train Round The Bend” draped in eerie swathes of tremolo, before we reach the album’s hymnal-like closer, “Oh, Sweet Nuthin’”. Step forward Sterling Morrison, who delivers some fine intuitive guitar playing here opposite Reed: whatever issues they might otherwise have had, they operated entirely in synch here as Morrison’s loose, rolling guitar chords sit perfectly against Reed’s wide-ranging solos. Credit, though, is also due to Doug Yule: an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, whose work here – on bass, piano, guitar and vocals – provides a consistently solid bedrock for Reed’s flourishing songwriting.

Lou Reed left the Velvet Underground on August 28, 1970 after the final show at Max’s, leaving New York for his parents’ home in Freeport, Long Island. The strain had become too much for him. In his absence, Sesnick meddled with Loaded: he cut the “wine and roses” bridge section from “Sweet Jane”, trimmed back the ending to “New Age” and messed with Reed’s intended sequencing. Further, he shunted Reed’s name below Yule and Morrison on the band line-up for the album’s original pressing, and attributed the songwriting credits as: “All selections are by The Velvet Underground”. It took a subsequent court case to restore Reed’s full rights to all the material.

While Reed spent 1970 and 1971 in exile, Yule ploughed on with the Velvet Underground, fulfilling dates in Europe. It was a dismal end – their explosive promise fizzing out in European backwaters during the early Seventies, the corpse growing cold somewhere between Kingston Polytechnic and Northamptonshire Cricket Club. A fifth album, Squeeze, appeared in February, 1973 although this was ostensibly a Doug Yule solo record (with, curiously, Deep Purple’s Ian Paice on drums).

None of this, though, can diminish the power and brilliance of Loaded. As Reed himself observed, “Despite all the amputations, you know you could just go out and dance to a rock and roll station.” The power of rock and roll conquers all. It was alright.

The Velvet Underground: The Complete Matrix Tapes Box Set to Be Released

In November and December 1969, between the release of their self-titled LP and the following year’s Loaded, the Velvet Underground held a residency at two venues in San Francisco: the Family Dog and the Matrix (a pizza parlor-turned-concert hall opened by Jefferson Airplane’s Marty Balin). All in all, the Velvets performed for 18 nights, and a significant portion of the gigs were captured on a four-track recorder.
Now, recordings from those shows will be released as a four-disc box set, The Velvet Underground: The Complete Matrix Tapes. released November 20th via Polydor/Universal Music Enterprises, the collection compiles 42 recordings, including nine previously unreleased tracks.
According to a press release, The Velvet Underground: The Complete Matrix Tapes focuses on two gigs in November 1969: November 26th and November 27th (Thanksgiving).
Many of the collection’s tracks have been released before, on the 1974 release 1969 The Velvet Underground Live, on 2001’s Bootleg Series, Vol. 1: The Quine Tapes, and last year’s Super Deluxe Edition of the self-titled album’s reissue. However, this marks the first time all of the tapes will be available commercially as a single release.
The collection’s highlights include previously unreleased versions of “Some Kinda Love”, “Sweet Jane”, and “After Hours”, among others. Find the entire tracklisting below.
Rolling Stone editor David Fricke wrote the liner notes for the new collection.
The Complete Matrix Tapes isn’t the only Velvet Underground release coming soon; the 45th anniversary edition of Loaded is due out October 30th.

You would think that by now—after fifty years—the cupboard would be getting pretty bare when it comes to unreleased Velvet Underground material, but that’s simply not the case. Despite the incredible amount of material made available for the first time on legit releases in recent years via UMe’s Super Deluxe packages, there is still even more to come. And not just a little, but a lot of primo vintage VU white light, white heat recorded in high fidelity.

Two-to-three-minute excerpts of nine of these tracks and a seven-minute excerpt of “Sister Ray”—all starting at the beginning of the songs, and fading out mid-performance—that have leaked into circulation verify that the sound quality on these recordings is outstanding, and notably (though not hugely) superior to the tapes used on 1969 Velvet Underground Live. Of even more interest, the performances themselves are good-to-superb, including a version of the rarely-heard “There She Goes Again” with noticeably more jagged rhythm guitar than the studio cut; “I’m Set Free” with magnificent Reed lead vocals; a really slowed-down “I’m Waiting for the Man” with great curling blues guitar riffing, and a cool interjection of ominously stroked chords right after the white boy’s asked what he’s doing uptown; and a “Sister Ray” that starts off super-slow and bluesy, but just keeps accelerating in rhythm and intensity until the tape cruelly cuts off. If not quite as novel, the other excerpts—including “Ocean,” “Some Kinda Love” (introduced as “an alcoholic’s dream”), “The Black Angel’s Death Song,” “After Hours,” and two versions of “Venus in Furs”—likewise make the Velvet Underground fan yearn for the day when these tapes can be released.

The Velvet Underground: The Complete Matrix Tapes:
Disc One
01 I’m Waiting For The Man (Version 1)
02 What Goes On (Version 1)
03 Some Kinda Love (Version 1)
04 Heroin (Version 1)
05 The Black Angel’s Death Song
06 Venus In Furs (Version 1)
07 There She Goes Again (Version 1)
08 We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (Version 1)
09 Over You (Version 1)
10 Sweet Jane (Version 1)
11 Pale Blue Eyes (Version 1)
12 After Hours (Version 1)
Disc Two
01 I’m Waiting For The Man (Version 2)
02 Venus In Furs (Version 2)
03 I Can’t Stand It (Version 1)
04 There She Goes Again (Version 2)
05 Some Kinda Love (Version 2)
06 Over You (Version 2)
07 After Hours (Version 2)
08 We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (Version 2)
09 Sweet Bonnie Brown/Too Much
10 Heroin (Version 2)
11 White Light/White Heat (Version 1)
12 I’m Set Free
Disc Three
01 We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (Version 3)
02 Some Kinda Love (Version 3)
03 There She Goes Again (Version 3)
04 Heroin (Version 3)
05 Ocean
06 Sister Ray
Disc Four
01 I’m Waiting For The Man (Version 3)
02 What Goes On (Version 2)
03 Some Kinda Love (Version 4)
04 We’re Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together (Version 4)
05 Beginning To See The Light
06 Lisa Says
07 New Age
08 Rock and Roll
09 I Can’t Stand It (Version 2)
10 Heroin (Version 4)
11 White Light/White Heat (Version 2)
12 Sweet Jane (Version 2)
Here’s one version of “Heroin” from the band’s stint at the Matrix:

Velvet Underground Unreleased

The Velvet Underground releases “The Complete Matrix Tapes” collects recordings made at San Francisco club the Matrix on November 26th and 27th, 1969. As previously reported, the four-disc box set will be released November 20th via Polydor/Universal Music Enterprises.
Including a previously unreleased recording of “We’re Gonna Have a Real Good Time Together”.

By September 1968, Lou Reed was hell-bent on kicking John Cale out of the Velvet Underground. Reed and Cale started the band, but after two albums, Lou was no longer interested in working with the Welsh musician.

It’s always been unclear as to why Lou Reed felt this way, but the most plausible reason is that he sought to make the Velvets more accessible, while John Cale wanted to keep one foot in the avant-garde. Regardless, in late September, after what would turn out to be Cale’s final concerts with the group, Reed met with drummer Maureen Tucker and guitarist Sterling Morrison and gave them an ultimatum: Either Cale goes or the band is finished. Reluctantly, Tucker and Morrison agreed to sack Cale. But with Cale’s exit and upcoming concerts scheduled for the first week of October, a replacement needed to be found—and fast. Doug Yule, a Boston musician who was friendly with the band, was quickly brought into the fold. Yule would have to swiftly learn a set of songs, many of which he hadn’t heard before because they hadn’t been released yet. He made his way to New York City to rehearse for shows booked at a small venue in Cleveland called La Cave. Yule’s first gig with the Velvets is usually cited as having taken place on October 2nd, though in his exhaustive book, White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day-by-Day, author Richie Unterberger writes that Yule’s debut was October 4th. Either way, the band’s new member had little time to prepare.

John Cale and Lou Reed

The Velvet Underground played two sets that first night in Cleveland with Yule, and thanks to recordings which were subsequently bootlegged, we can hear what they sounded like during this historic show. Incredibly, Yule already appears to be a good fit. He’s obviously up for the task, coming up with interesting bass lines—even singing background harmonies—on songs that he had just learned. His harmony vocal gelling perfectly with Reed’s during a lovely version of “Jesus” is just one of many cool moments. Reed’s guitar work is also noteworthy, like during the wild and weird middle section of “I Can’t Stand It,” but it’s the track that opens the first set that takes the cake.

“What Goes On” was one of many numbers played that first night that Yule barely had time to acquaint himself with (the tune would be included on their next album, The Velvet Underground, which came out the following year). There’s nothing all that interesting happening here at first (though Yule once again contributes some mighty fine harmonizing); that is, until Reed kicks off the initial solo with a fierce blast of noise. He follows up with melodic lines that resemble what would be heard on the now-familiar album take, but while the guitar tone on the LP version is psychedelic, here it’s all about volume and distortion. During the second and final solo, after a similar melodic passage, Lou lets it rip. At around the 4:52 mark, he goes into hyperactive overdrive, whipping up an atypically riotous, face melter of a solo that’s downright giddy in execution. It’s the sound of a man set free.

This joyfully savage version of “What Goes On” would appear decades later on Peel Slowly and See, VU’s 1995 boxed set, and to date it’s the only track from the Cleveland concerts to be officially released. In his liner notes for the box, David Fricke is suitably inspired by the rendition, writing that it’s “rich with pyro-fuzzbox spew and climaxes with a staccato rush of tonal destruction over Sterling Morrison’s implacable, syncopated rhythm clang.”

The Velvet Underground

As first-rate as Doug Yule is during his debut outing with the Velvet Underground, it’s Lou Reed who makes the performances extraordinary. His solos during “What Goes On” sound like they’re coming from a man who is positively euphoric. No matter what his motives were behind getting rid of John Cale, it’s undeniable when listening to him play how he felt about the end result. “What goes on in your mind?” I think we all know the answer here.

http://

To celebrate 45 years of this ground-breaking record, and to pay tribute to the late Lou Reed, Sydney’s Montes Jura have curated a full-length cover album of The Velvet Underground featuring their favourite local acts. The album will be reloaded by: Upskirts, The Pinheads, Salvador Dali Llama, Burn Antares, The Grease Arrestor, Raindrop, Bad Valley, Dluna, Lizzy Cross & The Infinity Snake and Montes Jura. The cover album is slated for release Tuesday, October 27 as a free download via Bandcamp.

They’ll be celebrating its release with a launch party at the Factory Floor on Saturday, November 7th. See live performances from: Upskirts, Salvador Dali Llama, Raindrop, Burn Antares, Bad Valley, Dluna, Lizzy Cross, & Montes Jura as they honour arguably the most influential band of the 60s.

The 10 Sydney pysch bands unite to pay tribute to The Velvet Underground’s seminal record release Loaded Its almost been 45 years since the legendary Velvet Underground record “Loaded” was released. To celebrate, 10 psych bands from Sydney and Wollongong have banned together to pay tribute, each one covering a Velvet Underground classic to be put on a compilation appropriately titled, Reloaded”.

The Velvet Underground’s ‘Loaded’ is one of those records that, from the moment the needle drops, we find ourselves singing along to each and every song

From the opening feel-good hit ‘Who Loves the Sun’, right through to the final ‘Oh! Sweet Nuthin’’, every word, melody and groove is experienced as if for the first time and the 100th time.

Asked by Atlantic Records to produce an album “loaded with hits,” The Velvet Underground set out to distance themselves from their Andy Warhol-inspired days to take the leap into radio-ready hit singles. The end result was not only a commercial success, but a blue print for the future of rock and roll.

To celebrate 45 years of this ground-breaking record, and to pay tribute to the late Lou Reed, Sydney’s Montes Jura have curated a full-length cover album featuring their favourite local acts. The Album will be reloaded by: The Upskirts, The Pinheads, Salvador Dali Llama, Burn Antares, The Grease Arrestor, Raindrop, Bad Valley, D’luna, Lizzy Cross & The Infinity Snake and Montes Jura. The cover album is slated for release Tuesday, October 27 as a free download via Bandcamp.

Curated by Sydney band Montes Jura, the tribute compilation will feature modern interpretations of the record by Burn Antares, The Pinheads, Upskirts, Salvador Dali Llama, Raindrop, The Grease Arrestor, Bad Valley, D’Luna, Lizzy Cross & The Infinity Snake and Montes Jura themselves.

The compilation will be released via Bandcamp as a free download on October 27th – the anniversary of Lou Reed’s death. And as a massive celebration of all things Velvet Underground, the bands will be throwing a tribute party at the Factory Theatre on November 7th. Performing will be, Upskirts, Salvador Dali Llama, Burn Antares, Bad Valley, D’Luna, Raindrop, Montes Jura, Lizzy Cross plus The Grease Arrestor DJs. Tickets go on sale Wednesday 2nd September and can be purchased from the Factory’s website.

Rhino has a fully loaded slate for this autumn. On October 30th, the same date as the recently-announced 20th anniversary edition of Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill”, the label will give the deluxe treatment to The Velvet Underground’s fourth studio album. Loaded: Re-Loaded 45th Anniversary Edition will follow in the footsteps and format of the deluxe sets previously released by UMe for the VU’s first three albums The Velvet Underground and Nico, White Light/White Heat, and The Velvet Underground. This 6-disc box will feature:
•The original 1970 album remastered in both its stereo and mono mixes;
Demos, singles, early versions and alternate takes from the Loaded era;
•A previously unreleased Philadelphia concert from May 1970 featuring seven songs from Loaded;
•A newly-remastered and re-edited version of Live at Max’s Kansas City containing tracks from the original 1972 album plus selections from Rhino’s expanded 2004 edition; and
•Stereo and surround mixes of the original Loaded album on DVD.

By the time of the original release of Loaded on Atlantic Records’ Cotillion imprint in November 1970, Lou Reed had already departed The Velvet Underground. But the album contains some of his most beloved songs for the band including “Sweet Jane” and “Rock and Roll.” With the increased participation of Doug Yule (including on the lead vocals on four songs) and without the credited Maureen Tucker, who was pregnant at the time of the album’s recording, Loaded has a very different – and unabashedly commercially-oriented – feel than its predecessors in the group’s catalogue. (VU guitarist Sterling Morrison does play on the record. Guest drummers including Doug Yule’s brother Billy subbed for Tucker.) Remastered stereo and mono versions of the album fill out the first two discs, along with various outtakes, and the mono mix for the unissued single: “Rock & Roll” b/w “Lonesome Cowboy Bill.” The third disc explores the creative process behind many of the songs on the album with more than 20 demos, early versions and alternate mixes. An unreleased club performance feature on the fifth disc. It was recorded on May 9th, 1970 at the Second Fret in Philadelphia. The band was down to a trio that night: Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison and Doug Yule, who alternated between bass and drums to fill in for Moe Tucker, who was pregnant at the time. Loaded, which came out six months after the show, is well represented with seven songs, including: “Cool It Down,” “Oh! Sweet Nuthin’” and “Sweet Jane”.


In 1997, Rhino Records released the Fully Loaded 2-CD reissue, with 23 outtakes, demos and alternate mixes. This release forms the basis of the additional material on Disc Three of Re-Loaded, with the outtakes appended to Disc One and the single versions (including two previously unreleased mono single mixes) on Disc Two. Note that, per Rhino, for the surround and stereo downmix on the DVD, the original album track listing has been slightly re-sequenced to include the segue originally planned for “I Found a Reason/Head Held High.” The press release also indicates that the album’s surround mix (the first surround release for the Velvets) will be playable in DTS and Dolby Digital.

Rhino re-loads on October 30th with this deluxe set. You can peruse the track listing and pre-order below! A single-disc remastered edition of the album will also be available at Amazon U.S. that same day. (Amazon U.K. link is TBD.)

The Velvet Underground, Loaded: Re-Loaded 45th Anniversary Edition (Rhino/Atlantic, 2015) Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. TBD)

CD 1: Loaded – Remastered Stereo LP plus bonus tracks
1.Who Loves the Sun
2.Sweet Jane (Full Length Version)
3.Rock and Roll (Full Length Version)
4.Cool It Down
5.New Age
6.Head Held High
7.Lonesome Cowboy Bill
8.I Found a Reason
9 Train Round the Bend
10.Oh! Sweet Nuthin’
11.I’m Sticking with You (Outtake – New Remix)
12.Ocean (Outtake)
13.I Love You (Outtake)
14.Ride Into the Sun (Outtake)

CD 2: Loaded – Promotional Mono Version, Singles and B-Sides
1.Who Loves the Sun
2.Sweet Jane (Full Length Version)
3.Rock and Roll (Full Length Version)
4.Cool It Down
5.New Age
6.Head Held High
7.Lonesome Cowboy Bill
8.I Found a Reason
9.Train Round the Bend
10.Oh! Sweet Nuthin’
11.Who Loves the Sun Single)
12.Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ (Single)
13.Rock and Roll (*)
14.Lonesome Cowboy Bill (*)

CD 3: Demos, Early Versions and Alternate Mixes
1.Rock and Roll Demo)
2.Sad Song (Demo)
3 Satellite of Love (Demo)
4.Walk and Talk (Demo)
5.Oh Gin (Demo)
6.Ocean (Demo)
7.I Love You (Demo)
8.Love Makes You Feel Ten Feet Tall (Demo)
9.I Found a Reason (Demo)
10.Cool It Down (Early Version – Remix)
11.Sweet Jane (Early Version – Remix)
12.Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Early Version -Remix)
13.Head Held High (Early Version – Remix)
14.Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ (Early Version -Remix)
15.Who Loves the Sun (Alternate Mix)
16.Sweet Jane (Alternate Mix)
17.Cool It Down (Alternate Mix)
18.Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Alternate Mix)
19 Train Round the Bend (Alternate Mix)
20.Head Held High (Alternate Mix)
21.Rock and Roll (Alternate Mix)

CD 4: Live at Max’s Kansas City – Remastered and Re-Edited
1.I’m Waiting for the Man
2.White Light/White Heat
3.I’m Set Free
4.Sweet Jane
5.Lonesome Cowboy Bill
6.New Age
7.Beginning to See the Light
8.I’ll Be Your Mirror
9.Pale Blue Eyes
10.Candy Says
11.Sunday Morning
12.After Hours
13.Femme Fatale
14.Some Kinda Love
15.Lonesome Cowboy Bill (Version 2)

CD 5: Live at Second Fret, Philadelphia 1970 (*)
1.I’m Waiting for the Man
2.What Goes On
3.Cool It Down
4.Sweet Jane
5.Rock and Roll
6.Some Kinda Love
7.New Age
8.Candy Says
9.Head Held High
10.Train Round the Bend
11.Oh! Sweet Nuthin’

DVD: (*)
1.96/24 Hi-Resolution Surround Sound Mix (DTS, Dolby Digital)
2.96/24 Hi-Resolution Stereo Downmix
3.96/24 Original Stereo Mix

(*) denotes previously unreleased track