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Author Topic: The Velvet Underground early surf influences.  (Read 3948 times)
brineweelson
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« on: October 22, 2012, 03:32:32 PM »

Hi all i don't know if anyone knows this here but whether or not you like lou reed or the velvet underground or not they started out doing surf songs.  All the early songs from 1962 to 1964 were surf songs from liking the beach boys alot of them available here and there. Lou reed and john cale loved the beach boys sound which is another case of a band idolizing them and then inventing their own sound. Incredible if you think about the groups who loved them, The Who, Buffalo Springfield, Neil young,CSNY,The Doors etc.....
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Aegir
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2012, 12:30:31 AM »

I've never heard this before. what are your sources?
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hypehat
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2012, 01:29:10 AM »

Are you perhaps getting confused with all the early Brill Building singles Lou wrote? The Ostrich, and stuff like that? Not the Velvet Underground, but Lou Reed wrote them for other bands as a jobbing songwriter.


Also, have you actually heard anything John Cale did before the VU? They have recently been reissuing drone sessions he did in 1964 and 1965!
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brineweelson
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2012, 03:40:23 PM »

 This was on brian's official site with all the artists opinions on his music for awhile but since taken down!

Quotes
About Cale | On his albums | Performing | Recording | Producing
John Cale - Quotes
 On the recordMemorable quotes and one-liners. Cale handles the press pretty well.
About Cale
Tony Conrad, Nat Finkelstein, Margaret Moser, Lou Reed and others
Albums
About his recorded output
Performing
Being alive on stage
Producing
About the Zen master, Nico and credibility
Recording
In the studio
About playing the viola
"The viola is the saddest of all instruments."***
A
About Brian Wilson
"What Brian came to mean was an ideal of innocence and naivety that went beyond teenage life and sprang fully developed songs. Adult and childlike at the same time. I thought how it was difficult for me not to believe everything he said. There was something genuine in every lyric. That can be a very heavy burden for a songwriter
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hypehat
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2012, 04:15:59 PM »

Yeah, sure - John Cale really likes Brian Wilson. He even wrote a song about him! They're quite similar songwriters, musically, although John Cale studied music properly (at my old uni!) - listen to something like I Keep A Close Watch. Man, I love that song.


But The Velvets didn't play surf music!
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brineweelson
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« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2012, 02:38:15 PM »

You are right about that, I never new that Lou was just a writer until you said something about it. I thought that he was part of those groups and loved surf music my mistake. Alot of the bands he wrote for played surf songs for all i know now he could of hated surf music.  Thanks for the info i've learned something new!! Cool
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I. Spaceman
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« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2012, 04:33:16 PM »

Lou waxed rhapsodically about Brian and The Beach Boys in an essay he wrote in Aspen Magazine in 1967.
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brineweelson
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« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 02:00:21 PM »

Do you know where i could read this anywhere? Thanks for the info!
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Aum Bop Diddit
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« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2012, 08:51:55 PM »

i imagine Lou absorbed Dick Dale, "Pipeline", and the like.  His big influence was doo-wop, and then Dylan.  Along with more outside stuff like Edgard Varese, Ornette Coleman. and John Cage.  And I'm sure lots of other stuff!

The Ostrich is a bitch btw!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r998weOUiM
« Last Edit: October 25, 2012, 08:56:15 PM by Aum Bop Diddit » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2012, 09:02:22 AM »

Do you know where i could read this anywhere? Thanks for the info!

Sure.

http://www.feastofhateandfear.com/archives/reed.html

Contains the famous quote "There is no God and Brian Wilson is his son".
Also, on this topic, it should be noted that Lou composed the fab Johnny Won't Surf No More, recorded by Jeannie Larimore.
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« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2012, 09:16:52 AM »

found this today, it's pretty surfy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWG61CocCok
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« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2012, 09:59:55 AM »

While we are talking VU I very recently got Velvet Underground & Nico on CD and was slightly underwhelmed. Don't get me wrong it was a pretty good listen but after having read so many accolades for being one of the greatest albums of all time I was expecting much more. Is it a grower or should I just accept that it doesn't do more for me?
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« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2012, 10:23:03 AM »

While we are talking VU I very recently got Velvet Underground & Nico on CD and was slightly underwhelmed. Don't get me wrong it was a pretty good listen but after having read so many accolades for being one of the greatest albums of all time I was expecting much more. Is it a grower or should I just accept that it doesn't do more for me?

I'm hot and cold on it, myself - most of it is a bit strong for casual listening. It might well grow on you, but then again I've had about 6 years for it to grow on me and I'm not quite there yet!
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All roads lead to Kokomo. Exhaustive research in time travel has conclusively proven that there is no alternate universe WITHOUT Kokomo. It would've happened regardless.
What is this "life" thing you speak of ?

Quote from: Al Jardine
Syncopate it? In front of all these people?!
brineweelson
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« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2012, 02:39:32 PM »

Thanks I. Spaceman for the essay! What a great read I love the Velvets and the Beach Boys, the song Johnny won't surf no more is a great tune. I can't wait for the Velvets box set I have the 2 cd deluxe already but am hoping the version of walk alone has been cleaned up a bit with louder vocals.
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« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2012, 08:24:29 AM »

I think that The Velvet Underground & Nico is the greatest album of all time, and I have since I heard it for the first time in 1986. So, I don't know if it is a grower.

If ya'll are looking for an early Lou tune that is influenced by the BB's, check out I've Got A Tiger In My Tank. Lou being from the East Coast, it comes off sounding more like The Tradewinds.
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« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2012, 08:45:32 AM »

While we are talking VU I very recently got Velvet Underground & Nico on CD and was slightly underwhelmed. Don't get me wrong it was a pretty good listen but after having read so many accolades for being one of the greatest albums of all time I was expecting much more. Is it a grower or should I just accept that it doesn't do more for me?

Sometime in my college years, a friend bought the VU box set and told me I should listen, that this band was as good as the Beatles.

In those years, that was a word that still held singular magic for me: Beatles. I loved Queen, I loved Led Zeppelin, I loved Hendrix. I loved Zappa. But far and away, most of all, I loved Beatles. (Did modern music exist at the time? Not for me, no. Some combination of what people then called alternative rock or grunge, and then the very existence of the easy listening of Hootie and his aquatic pals, closed my eyes and ears for half a decade.) So to hear the word in such close proximity to the name Velvet Underground was thrilling.

I doubt I got more than two or three songs into the group before rejecting them outright. This wasn't the kind of technicolor pop I expected and wanted. The singers weren't hitting their notes solo, much less even trying harmonies. There was a viola, but it wasn't up front for introductory or interim flourishes; rather, it just sat there, quavering, in and out of key depending on the in-and-out-of-tune guitars' chords above it. This song has a backbeat, but that one doesn't. If music isn't tuneful, I can deal ... as long as it's technically or theoretically dazzling a la Zappa. I am that, thou art that, but this ain't that. I can do without it. Thanks, Ryan, for trying to turn me on to VU. But they're not the Beatles.

Two or three years later, I was (predictably) two or three years older. Two or three years different. I'd been visiting a friend out of town and as is my habit, I woke up really early, well before anyone else. That morning was to be my last day there, and frankly I was done with it all already. I'd been drinking a lot and was hung over--or at least dehydrated. I had a four or five hour drive ahead of me. I lay awake on the floor of the strange living room, the light too obvious to ignore. I couldn't fool myself back to sleep. So I rifled through the CDs and found the banana. Everything else in that little container--a plastic basket that, were it not rectangular, could have passed for an Easter basket, being pink or red or something--was too familiar that morning.

Peaceful discomfort. Strident anxiety. Beautiful vulgarity. Experimental conservatism. I could hear this as something different than other things--a skill I've tried very hard to develop and only sometimes succeeded with--for the very first time. This wasn't the Beatles or the Doors or whoever else I'd heard they were supposed to be filed beside. "Listen If You Like..." The 22-year-old, at least that morning, found something the 19-year-old was ignoring entirely, because the latter was looking for something else altogether. The 22-year-old wasn't looking for anything, but circumstances made the marriage a good one that morning.

An hour and a half or so got me through the album a couple of times. Some of it passed by me as defiantly ugly, intended more to stare down the audience than anything else. But most of it struck me as true. I listened to some of my friends' newest songs--rough mixes of home-recorded music when that still meant 4- or 8-track Tascams or Fostexes--one of which was an acoustic guitar and a single-tracked baritone vocal that never managed to stay quite in tune. In hindsight, it doesn't resemble VU or Lou Reed at all, but that day and for years afterward, it was perfectly analogous. They were equally true and brilliant.

And that was that. Gauzy morning light--Midwestern fall sunshine being so different than summer sunshine--and no signs of life anywhere until you're out of town among the tractors. I left a little note thanking my friends and drove home a lover of the Velvet Underground.

Or, much more directly to the point: you can both accept it doesn't do much for you and put it away to try again later.
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« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2012, 04:04:14 PM »

I seem to be more drawn to the 3 songs Nico sings on than the others. I may have to check out some of her solo work.
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« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2012, 04:19:12 PM »

Great post, Luther.

Though, I liked it the first time I heard it (late December 2003, I think, so I was 16) If I spent more time in certain places of the internet and realized all the hype it had and how influential it was, I probably would've written it off as crap. All I knew was that it was a good album from the 60s so I asked for it for Christmas along with Beach Boys CDs, Herb Alpert CDs, the first Stooges album, et cetera.

I might've listened to while taking a shower on Christmas morning or the day after (which, before I started driving, was one of the only ways I listened to full albums. I had a discman but didn't use it that much. the are certain albums I got into in this period, that, when I listen to them now, just make me think of the shower. "Californication" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Franz Ferdinand's self-titled, for example. I stopped listening to them by the time I started driving. Nowadays, I don't listen to CDs in the shower as much because I don't buy as many CDs, also I don't take album-long showers anymore.), and though I initially liked the Nico-sung songs a lot better, I thought the whole album was pretty cool. I remember thinking that some of the songs reminded me of Bob Dylan and that I wish his electric stuff sounded more like the Velvet Underground.

I never got into the rest of their catalog as much as I did their debut.
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« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2012, 08:01:22 PM »

I like all their albums, including the live ones, but I probably like the so-called "Lost" LP best, with "I Can't Stand It" and so forth.  It has some of the commercial appeal of "Loaded" (granted without the two anthems "Sweet Jane" and "Rock and Roll") with the sweetness of the third album.  Obviously Cale had left so a lot of the edginess is gone.  But the guitar interplay between Lou and Sterling is unbelievable, and Mo is at her peak too.  And there are some great tunes.  Oddly the album that first got me into then was "White Light White Heat", which has to be the most inaccessible.

But no question the first is special; how could a record containing "Heroin", "I'll Be Your Mirror", and "Femme Fatale" not be?  Interesting how each of their albums has a particular sound.  There is a fragility on that first one -- listen to "Sunday Morning" for instance.  Anyway -- go Velvet Underground!
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« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2012, 08:32:40 PM »

but I probably like the so-called "Lost" LP best, with "I Can't Stand It" and so forth.  It has some of the commercial appeal of "Loaded" (granted without the two anthems "Sweet Jane" and "Rock and Roll") with the sweetness of the third album.  Obviously Cale had left so a lot of the edginess is gone.  But the guitar interplay between Lou and Sterling is unbelievable, and Mo is at her peak too.  And there are some great tunes.  

Is this "Lost" LP=The Quine Tapes? Because I wrote "I Can't Stand It" in our local musical site & I got The Bootleg Series Volume 1 - The Quine Tapes Disc 1 as the only result. If it's not the same as the said "Lost", then can you tell me where I can download it?

My bad -- I should have referred to it by its released name -- "VU".  It was culled from sessions for what was to be their 2nd album for MGM but they were dropped by the label.  There was another LP from those sessions released called "Another View".  Many of these tracks found their way onto Lou's early solo albums.
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« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2012, 09:55:40 PM »

Don't forget the Squeeze album! LOL LOL LOL
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« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2012, 04:58:51 AM »



Rangerover, you really only need Transformer and Berlin by Lou Reed. The rest will leave you scratching your head.


Cale's solo albums, on the other hand, are amazing and criminally underrated. Get Paris 1919 and Fear. incredible records.
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« Reply #22 on: October 28, 2012, 07:51:32 AM »

Got to disagree: there are several other really good Lou Reed albums. I think New York and Ecstasy are essential. The debut is interesting as a different approach to several then-unreleased VU songs. The two live mid-70s live albums are cool with their glamorous metal approach. Some people really like Street Hassle, the Blue Mask, even the Bells. I'd recommend anyone curious preview them on iTunes, Allmusic or Amazon or something and get a feel for it. You'll know if you like it.

I'd take Reed's solo career over Cale's any day, though I like some of the former, too.
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« Reply #23 on: October 28, 2012, 08:59:36 AM »

Yes, there are plenty of stunning Lou records. Street Hassle and Blue Mask are both far better than Transformer. Cale's records after Vintage Violence are OK, but are among the first of a sorry genre that has proliferated like the black plague over the last two decades: pop records by people who can't sing pop music.
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« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2013, 07:22:37 PM »

I know for a fact that John Cale is a huge Brian Wilson/Beach Boys advocate. He even did a song called "Mr Wilson" in tribute to them. Its a good song.
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