Monday, March 7, 2011

The Very Velvet Eighties

The Velvet Underground had a very good 80's when the vaults let loose the classic lost album of the decade, VU [1984], followed two years later by Another View, seemingly the last of Verve's backlog of tunes recorded in haste but with purpose by the band as their contract ran aground in 1968, '69. The tracks sat dormant until they erupted from Verve's vaults into a fully punk't out, rabid era; Thatcher/Reagan. The time was very ripe for The Velvet Underground.
Cale & Reed's homage to Andy Warhol, Songs for 'Drella (1990) increased the goods substantially nearly a quarter century after they first played a high school gymnasium on Long Island.
The band's cannon goes well past the namesake, really, and must include the early Nico albums, essentially VU works in all but name. Songs for Drella, the album in Andy's wake, capped in silver foil another decade for the most element band in rock.
In the 90s, they toured with U2 & performed famously in Paris, 1993.
Sterling Morrison, the unsung one, died in 1995 effectively ending the history of the group.
When i first learned of them in 1984, the year VU debuted, it took me from the heart of Montana immediately to Downtown New York City. To this day, i can put on headphones & still be there with them in a grotty loft on a crooked street, somewhere between The Factory and The Village, melody & feedback twining; a meter reading into the red. In VU i discover again & again urban life and decay four solid beats at a time.
Here is an elegy for Andy from Songs for 'Drella [the band's nickname for him, from Cinderella & Dracula]; a revelation of fame & fear, of being given attention, or shutting the door to slowly slip away.

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