Velvet Underground Biography
Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison were friends from Syracuse University. At some point during Reed's employment as an in house songwriter at Pickwick, John Cale was brought in as part of a fictional band who would perform some of Reed's songs. A bond was struck and Reed soon moved to Manhattan to work on some music with Cale. Reed was reunited with Morrison by chance on the subway and they rekindled their friendship, which led to Morrison making it a trio. They recorded a four-song demo, which included versions of "Venus in Furs" and "Heroin" and was heavily circulated in England. Enough so that John Cale flew to the U.K. to try and hook some things up for the band when an offer was made at home in New York. Shortly after adapting the name The Velvet Underground from an erotic novel, the band was approached by a fledging band promoter named Al Aronowitz. He offered the V.U. an opening spot with AronowitzÕs other band, the Myddle Class. Since the trio decided they needed a drummer for this crucial gig, they remembered an old Syracuse buddy Jim Tucker and his sister Maureen who played the drums. After a quick audition for Reed at her parentÕs house, Maureen was in. Seeing what the band could do live, Aronowitz decided to book the band a permanent gig at Caf´ Bizarre in Greenwich Village to tighten them up a bit. One too many versions of "The Black Angel's Death Song" caused the Velvets to be fired from the Caf´. Two days before they got the pink slip they had a visit at the Caf´ from a group of underground art scene characters. Andy Warhol was brought to one of the gigs by Factory filmmaker Paul Morrisey who thought it would be a good idea for the Factory to have an in house rock band at their disposal. With new amps and a new rehearsal spot at the Factory, the V.U. were finally on their way it seemed. Andy then suggested that one time model and new Factory superstar, Nico, be brought in to sing with the Velvets. The band balked at the idea but a deal Ôs a deal and it was now The Velvet Underground and Nico with Lou singing his songs and Nico doing her specially written numbers and playing tambourine when she wasn't singing. Reed and Cale could feel the reigns of the band being taken from them but they decided to go with the flow and see what would happen. Warhol had been filming a lot of things going on around the Factory. He once filmed the V.U. rehearsing when the NYPD bust in on a noise complaint and the resulting footage was titled "The Velvet Underground and Nico: A Symphony of Sound". The films were also projected on a wall behind the band for some early performances. The idea was later expanded to include films, a light show, fetish dancers, and the Velvet Underground and Nico providing the music. Paul Morrisey came up with the name "the Exploding Plastic Inevitable" and they were soon doing performances across the country. Then Andy got the band signed to the Verve label, a subsidiary of MGM.
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These are the best links to Velvet Underground sites on the web:
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