The Life (and Afterlife) of the Velvet Underground
by Dylan Jones
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Pub Date 05 Dec 2023 | Archive Date 05 Jan 2024
Variety and Concrete Islands Best Book of 2023 · A "Must Read" by Nylon, BookRiot, and Town & Country
Rebellion always starts somewhere, and in the music world of the transgressive teen—whether it be the 1960s or the 2020s—the Velvet Underground represents ground zero.
Crystallizing the idea of the bohemian, urban, narcissistic art school gang around a psychedelic rock and roll band—a stylistic idea that evolved in the rarefied environs of Andy Warhol’s Factory—the Velvets were the first major American rock group with a mixed gender line-up. They never smiled in photographs, wore sunglasses indoors, and invented the archetype that would be copied by everyone from Sid Vicious to Bobby Gillespie. They were avant-garde nihilists, writing about drug abuse, prostitution, paranoia, and sado-masochistic sex at a time when the rest of the world was singing about peace and love. In that sense they invented punk and then some. It could even be argued that they invented modern New York.
Drawing on interviews and material relating to all major players, from Lou Reed, John Cale, Mo Tucker, Andy Warhol, Jon Savage, Nico, David Bowie, Mary Harron, and many more, award-winning journalist Dylan Jones breaks down the band’s whirlwind of subversion and, in a narrative rich in drama and detail, proves why the Velvets remain the original kings and queens of edge.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 4 members
As Chris Frantz of Talking Heads said "Dylan Jones has put the WOW back into oral histories. This collection of anecdotes about the Velvet Underground is particularly revealing of the band members and their milieu. He got all the right people to tell their tales."
As a Librarian and fan of The Velvet Underground, 'Loaded' was more than a pleasure to read. Insightful, written with passion and affection that only Dylan Jones can transcend through his words, readers will no doubt learn that The Velvet Underground was much more than the sum of it's parts.
Dylan Jones unloads a fantastic oral history of the greatest band of all times, the Velvet Underground.
One might wonder, what more could be said about this highly mythologized, admired, influential band of avant-garde noise pioneers? Answer: let the band and their vast network of cohorts, colleagues, and admirers tell their story.
Excerpts from band members Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Moe Tucker, and Nico are joined by their manager Andy Warhol, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Mary Woronov, Doug Yule, Danny Fields, and dozens of others who bore witness to the band's formation and rise in the late 60s, breakup and individual solo work, all the way to Reed's death in 2013 and their continued intrigue and legend.
A must for VU and music fans.
**I was given a copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Grand Central Publishing and Netgalley**