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May 5, 2011 5:29 AM   Subscribe

In 1993, The Velvet Underground reformed and played their first gig in Edinburgh. A Documentary on the tour.
posted by sgt.serenity (58 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't understand how I could have missed this happening at the time, and especially how I could have missed them at Glastonbury. I just can't believe that would have happened. Very strange.
posted by criticalbill at 6:17 AM on May 5, 2011


VU without Nico is like The Beatles without Lennon.
posted by clarknova at 6:18 AM on May 5, 2011


Yeah, I can see the VU without Nico being a lot like the Beatles without Yoko.
posted by cotterpin at 6:24 AM on May 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


VU without Nico is like The Beatles without Lennon.

Meh

The version of Venus in Furs in from this concert is a highlight.
posted by the noob at 6:35 AM on May 5, 2011


VU without Nico is like The Beatles without Lennon.

Wings without Linda McCartney.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:36 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


VU without Nico is like the Mona Lisa without glitterglue.

(actually, I really like Nico, both the singer and the VU record, but really? Really?)
posted by dirtdirt at 6:43 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


VU without Nico is like The Beatles.
posted by swift at 7:00 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wings without Linda McCartney

Sounds like a diet option or a missing ingredient
posted by the noob at 7:02 AM on May 5, 2011


VU without Nico is like a day withoust Florida orange juice is like a day without sunshine is what Anita Bryant said.

But here's All Tomorrow's Parties without Nico (or the rest of VU), right here on Metafilter Music)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:03 AM on May 5, 2011


I saw pieces of this at the Dallas Video Festival in 1994 or 5, I think, and have been dying to see it again ever since. Thanks for posting!
posted by activitystory at 7:04 AM on May 5, 2011


And yes, "withoust" is a word. Absolutesly.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:05 AM on May 5, 2011


All Tomorrow's Tea Parties?
posted by R. Mutt at 7:06 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


All Tomorrow's Tea Parties?

Oh god no. Just no.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:08 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vulva Underground.
posted by swift at 7:13 AM on May 5, 2011


Heh, they did 'I'm Sticking With You'. Awesome.

(Why all the Nico hate? She was great!)
posted by Infinite Jest at 7:20 AM on May 5, 2011


Why all the Nico hate? She was great!

Hate? Where do you see hatred here?
posted by juiceCake at 7:21 AM on May 5, 2011


It's not impossible that I'm misreading, but I was taking 'Beatles without Yoko' and 'Wings without Linda' to be dissing Nico.
posted by Infinite Jest at 7:26 AM on May 5, 2011


I remember this.

It was absolutely fucking dreadful.
posted by item at 7:31 AM on May 5, 2011


Hate? Where do you see hatred here?

I think the larger point is that VU were just fine without Nico, and she wan't a great singer. But nice. Unlike Yoko who split up the Beatles, and if it was't for her taking John off to New York, and sending him out for milk - well you know the rest.
posted by the noob at 7:31 AM on May 5, 2011


For once, could y'all can the Yoko hate in a thread that's not about Yoko or Lennon or the Beatles? Some (one) of us actually really like(s) a lot of her music.
posted by item at 7:35 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


...and for fuck's sake - Yoko didn't split up the Beatles. The Beatles overinflated egos, among other things, split up the Beatles.
posted by item at 7:37 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hear you, item, but I don't even think it was "overinflated egos" so much as just, well, timing, and, you know, things running their course, that split up the Beatles.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:40 AM on May 5, 2011


It's not impossible that I'm misreading, but I was taking 'Beatles without Yoko' and 'Wings without Linda' to be dissing Nico.

No, that was just a reaction to the hyperbolic overstatement of Nico's importance that kicked off the thread.
posted by anazgnos at 7:40 AM on May 5, 2011


...the hyperbolic overstatement of Nico's importance that kicked off the thread.

She was probably the most important member to Andy Warhol.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:43 AM on May 5, 2011


She wasn't ever actually considered a member of the Velvets by the band. She was a marketing gimmick put forth by Warhol.
posted by item at 7:47 AM on May 5, 2011


Exactly.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:50 AM on May 5, 2011


But it's possible to like Nico and still disagree with somebody comparing her role in the band to Lennon.
posted by anazgnos at 7:53 AM on May 5, 2011


Oh I agree - I dig her music. Chelsea Girl and The Marble Index are damn fine records.
posted by item at 7:56 AM on May 5, 2011


Yeah, for the record, I dig her voice and her style too.

God, she's so German. The essence of German.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:58 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ok, back on the topic of the documentary:

This footage was shot before Lou permanently glued a wet paper bag to his face. He just commented that they "were the first feminist band; a lady drummer, a lady chanteuse". Huh.

Huh.
posted by item at 8:00 AM on May 5, 2011


Just for a fun reference and a beautiful peek behind the curtain, The Lou Reed and Nico Bedroom tapes (circa 1971?) - Little Sister.

The whole set isn't up on youtube but if you can track it down, it's pretty amazingly intimate, two friends hanging out and making some great music. Lou Reed makes Nico laugh by playing "I'll Keep It With Mine" in different styles. The whole thing has an open-window afternoon feel to it. The audio quality is almost unlistenable, but that's part of the charm.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 8:01 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's a snippet of one of the "I'll Keep it With Mine" attempts
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 8:03 AM on May 5, 2011


Yeah, I'm a big fan but the reunion shows? Not so much.
posted by tremspeed at 8:07 AM on May 5, 2011


"...the first feminist band; a lady drummer..."

Yeah, but Lou, she was really not very good. And that's putting it... politely. And I say this not only as a drummer, but a fan of many drummers who are not widely considered "good". And that includes female drummers like, say, Meg White. But, really, come on, Mo Tucker was just... not a good drummer. Let's face it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:14 AM on May 5, 2011


No, but she was a damn interesting drummer, flapjax.
posted by item at 8:18 AM on May 5, 2011


if you say so, item!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:20 AM on May 5, 2011


Does moe still work at wal-mart?
posted by tremspeed at 8:22 AM on May 5, 2011


Does moe still work at wal-mart?

No E in Mo. Unless you're talking about this guy.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:26 AM on May 5, 2011


What the hell? First, everybody trashes Nico and now flapjax at midnite calls Moe "not a good drummer"!? Moe Tucker is *the* quintessential pounding drummer - I have frequently referred to her style when asking for a certain beat or feel from drummers I've worked with. She was, so far as I know, the first drummer in rock to play her bass drum on its side like a tom, creating that signature boom boom boom boom.

Mitch Mitchell would not have worked with the Velvet Underground. Moe was the perfect drummer.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:30 AM on May 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


You're right, she's the quintessential shitty drummer!

Cmon man, we can still enjoy that which is not all that good.
posted by tremspeed at 8:33 AM on May 5, 2011


Did someone take over your account? She spells it M-O-E.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:33 AM on May 5, 2011


Only a few thousand people will watch this video on YouTube, but every one of them will start a band.
posted by porn in the woods at 8:47 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did someone take over your account?

YES! NEIL PEART!

but i'm wresting it from his control as we speak!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:48 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Cmon man, we can still enjoy that which is not all that good.

Agreed. And remember, I didn't say I didn't enjoy her!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:49 AM on May 5, 2011


(I just wish she'd been good enough to really steer the band. Really lock the band. Especially in the speed-ups and slow-downs of Heroin, which should've been awesome, but in fact just make me kinda wince.)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:51 AM on May 5, 2011


i think at that stage, they were a little too chaotic to be lockable - and they weren't always in tune, either

but they didn't have to be, did they?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:32 AM on May 5, 2011


and they weren't always in tune, either

Not exactly in tune, hey, that I can live with.

Not rhythmically locked, well, that depends. Usually, I can't really get with it.

but they didn't have to be, did they?

I guess not.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:37 AM on May 5, 2011


Okay, let's face it. The Velvet Underground sucked.
posted by swift at 10:05 AM on May 5, 2011


And so does everyone in this thread that thinks it sucked with Nico.
posted by clarknova at 10:13 AM on May 5, 2011


God, she's so German. The essence of German.

She's Wagner with nice eyes.
posted by clarknova at 10:16 AM on May 5, 2011


I'm kind of sad that R. Mutt's comment got lost in this thread. The first thing I thought of when reading the post was, "Aw, this was before Moe Tucker made me cringe...".
posted by queensissy at 11:25 AM on May 5, 2011


I'd rather his comments get lost in the thread, as I don't need to be reminded of Moe's ugly, crazy email forwarding relative side.
posted by item at 11:29 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is it too late to say that Lou Reed is an arsewipe?
posted by Decani at 12:24 PM on May 5, 2011


IMHO, The Velvet Underground put out one exceptional record and it had both Nico and Cale. White Light/White Heat is a great record, but after that? It just becomes Lou Reed presents the Velvet Underground.

Nico wasn't a fantastic singer on that one VU record. She really came into her own with John Cale and Brian Eno. She was a fantastic musician but made music that is really not to the taste of most people, much like Yoko.

Nico sang on just four songs and yet some people can't imagine VU without her. I think that speaks to the appeal of her contribution to the VU sound.
posted by munchingzombie at 12:43 PM on May 5, 2011


Yeah, but Lou, she was really not very good. And that's putting it... politely. And I say this not only as a drummer, but a fan of many drummers who are not widely considered "good". And that includes female drummers like, say, Meg White. But, really, come on, Mo Tucker was just... not a good drummer. Let's face it.

There has never been a band, an aesthetic, and a drummer more perfectly matched in history than Moe and the VU, and if your metric doesn't let you call that "good", then you've got problems.

And it's always really interesting to watch or hear joint interviews with Lou & Moe, since she seems to be the only person in the world he'll actually defer to and let down his Perpetually Irritated Badass front for; he listens to her, and her sensibilities and tastes clearly had a big part in defining what the VU were.

I'm just saying that sometimes, there's a drummer, and she's the drummer for that time and place. She just fits right in there. And that's Moe, in the VU. And even if she's traditionally unskilled, and Moe certainly was that...but, just, sometimes, there's a drummer.
posted by anazgnos at 1:26 PM on May 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was not a big fan of the reunited VU sound. The guitars are just all wrong. And it's weird, because Sterling recorded some absolutely phenomenal tracks with Luna around the same time, where his guitar sounded as great as ever.
posted by jetsetsc at 3:03 PM on May 5, 2011


Nah, Lou's pretty much the squeaky wheel on the '93 shows, with his awful (for him!!!) anti-singing and the culmination of his obsessive, lifelong pursuit of terrible guitar tone. But I actually did hear a bootleg, can't remember of which show, that kind of redeemed that tour for me a little. There are some great moments like "I'm Sticking With You and the John & Lou duel on "Hey Mr. Rain". I mean I think if I'd seen one of those shows with realistic expectations, I'd have been happier to have seen it at all than disappointed in the ways they got it wrong.

I've always loved that corny line change on Sweet Jane he did "Some people like to go out dancin'...then there's people like us they go to a VELVET UNDERGROUND CONCERT!!! (then vamp for like 24 bars while audience screams)"
posted by anazgnos at 3:26 PM on May 5, 2011


Is it too late to say that Lou Reed is an arsewipe?

Oh man, that interview of Lou Reed with Václav Havel from that time is so painful. The reunited Velvets perform for the first President of the new post-Soviet Czech Republic in Prague. The President tells Lou how inspiring his band was to the rebel political underground in Soviet-era Charter 77 in Czechoslovakia... and then Lou just seriously lays into griping and whining about the copyright details for the possible recording of their performance.

Lou is the definitive talented artist that fans do not want to meet in real life.
posted by ovvl at 4:02 PM on May 5, 2011


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