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    Hardly 'just a band' Alex, they, in their time, were regarded with disgust and suspicion when they started out, for exactly the same reason the establishment rallied against punk, or even elvis come to that...........................
    yeah, VU is hardly "just a band". as has been famously said: "not many people bought the first VU album, but everyone who did formed a band." they're very few groups about which can be said the same. also if you google best debut of a rock album the one by the VU is consistently in the top 5. they were That influential.
    I respect Garage Band for not liking the Velvets. I do like them but I'm relieved that they are less of a benchmark today than they were for the glut of 80s indie bands. But come on Alexander you can't say they were 'just a band' any more than Wire are 'just a band'.

    I don't get any enjoyment from hearing Dylan for example but I wouldn't say he was just a boring old Folkie from the 60s.

    No VU? Eno, No Roxy, No Punk, No Wire maybe?
    90% of the bands that VU influenced, and now they influence almost every band, are pretty lousy. Are they responsible for that too?
    I meant to say "they are a band" rather than just an influential punk band. Mostly what they did was not very punk. And their reputation is largely based on their records, not their live performances. They are a studio band, rather than a live act. When I think of bands, and more specific, punk bands, I think of the live show as a measure of something.
    Not very punk?!??! They were the very essence of Punk!. Listen to White Light White Heat?!
    I wasn't around to see them live but I believe they were quite good in their day?!?!
    Alexander, you were obviously there with Andy in the Factory tasting the whip of shiny, shiny leather, so you clearly know that, for example, the astonishing performance of 'What Goes On' on Live 69 must have been cobbled together in the studio.

    I'm hard-pressed to think of a better live album than Live 69 by the VU.

    "A Studio band"....<rolls eyes>

    The VU are The template for what is considered punk, modern rock and avant-garde music. they are punk ("I Can't Stand It),
    wrote about dark themes ( Heroin, Sister Ray, Waiting for The Man) at the height of the peace and love Hippie era, and pretty ones as well (Lisa Says, Pale Blue Eyes), and were heavy into guitar distortion and feedback. Heavily influenced everyone from David Bowie to the Jesus and Mary Chain to Sonic Youth. Also, nobody gives better punk attitude than Lou Reed. He was
    also one of the first to tell record companies to fuck off (see Berlin & MetalMachineMusic) and his hostility toward journalists is legendary.

    Amazing live band as well, though not many high quality recordings exist. in addition to Live 69, there's also The Robert Quine Tapes-- a 3 cd bootleg of some shows in san fransico. they played long jams and did different versions of their songs almost every night at a time when most bands were doing note for note renditions of their studio recordings.
    I don't like VU & to be honest i am always dumb-founded that they were/are sop influential, but yes, they undoubtedley were/are. & i'd also agree with Freakbag when he say they are the template for punk. the word i'd perhaps use is "quintessentially" punk. punk isnae just about 3-minute thrashes, it's an attitude & VU had it in bucketloads back in the day, "sticking it to the man".

    i don't like 'em, but that doesnae mean to say i can't recognise 'em for what they were/are or did/do!
    I've never been a huge VU fan either. As far as I can see they recorded a handful of half decent tracks, but that's about it. They are certainly nowhere near being a punk outfit - not in the true sense of the word anyway! Actually, if it hadn't been for Bowie they may possibly not even have existed for as long as they did - he introduced them to the powers that be in the UK.

    Although extremely commercial, it was actually bands like the Sex Pistols, The Clash, 999, The Adverts, the Stranglers and so on... that brought Punk into reality. The attitude may have already existed, but the look, the feel, the need... it started in the UK in 1976/77! These bands, like all bands/singers were influenced by what had gone before them, but these are the real punk bands - not The Velvet Underground and MC15 and so on...
    i think many in this discussion define punk as simply a style of music (Madman above encapsulates this veiw perfectly) - & that's a shame. i define punk as "a way of thinking" or an attitude. this attitude can be simplified as being "challenging the mores of the time" (ie timeless) &, as discussed above, includes all arts such as films, authors, sculptur, architecture, theatre etc as well as music. the word punk may not have been around in, say, Salvador Dali's day, but his art & his lifestyle, certainly set him apart from many of his contempories in the art world & punk would be a perfectly acceptable term for him & his art.

    to simply use the word punk as a description of a style of music is too simplistic & narrow minded - and that's somat that punk is NOT all about - it's about challenging & questioning!
    yes, of course. there is "punk sensibility" in the larger sense and "punk music" in the narrow sense. btw J Rotten hates all the
    bands Madman mentions! he thought joe strummer was a good chap and all that, but in his definition not punk as he grew up in
    a middle class suburb. and aside from maybe the Damned a lot of those bands did jump on the bandwagon. not an issue for me as long the music is good.

    and when talking about punk lets not forget it wasn't like there was some kind of "punk manifesto" or decree issued by english
    bands in 1976! some writer (us/brit?) coined the term and it stuck. it's all just music and art. some of it's great, some of it's
    "some writer (us/brit?) coined the term and it stuck" i think the guy was "Legs" McNeill (cannae remember his correct name), from Punk Magazine which was out in NYC about 74/75, so it pre-dates the UK punk explosion by some 2 years.
    can't remember.........actually thought it was a woman who brought it (punk) in to wide use.......though Lenny Kaye from Patti Smith group is often thought to be the first in writing the liner notes to the "nuggets' collection in 1972......."Legs" IS his correct
    name, ha,ha..........
    Thanks for calling me narrow minded for giving my opinion Garage Band - very thoughtful and big of you! You define punk as a way of thinking - so now you know what everyone thinks? And Freakbag - fortunatelly I'm not too bothered what Mr Lydon thinks of the bands I mentioned - not being punk because they lived in a middle class suburb - I suppose Lou reed and co all lived in bin bags did they - oh yeah, they must be a punk rock group then - ha!
    Madman - it wasnae meant as a personal attack, man - no offence meant - just using your quote as an example as it saved me going back through the thread for another possibility.
    • CommentAuthorcc says...
    • (CommentTimeSep 30th 2008)
    just to correct this misstatement by Madman: "Actually, if it hadn't been for Bowie they may possibly not even have existed for as long as they did - he introduced them to the powers that be in the UK."

    I guess Madman is thinking of the huge boost Bowie gave to Lou Reed's solo career by producing Transformer with Mick Ronson in 1972. And Bowie covered Velvet Underground songs when few others had heard of them. But as for the VU itself, Lou Reed left in 1970 during the mixing of Loaded, 2 years before meeting Bowie and 2 years before Ziggy Stardust made Bowie a superstar. The VU continued for a little while in another form, with only Maureen Tucker as an original member, at an even lower profile than before, but that was effectively the end of it. Bowie had nothing to do with introducing the VU to "powers" in the UK, as they really didn't exist anymore and never toured outside the US while Lou Reed was a member. The VU lasted from 1965-70, while young David was making his way through various minor successes and failures in the pop arts world.

    I also couldn't disagree more with the "handful of half decent tracks" claim, but that's not a factual matter.
    No trouble Garage Band - thanks for the reply.

    I stand corrected CC, you are quite correct. However, I still stick by my "handful of half decent tracks" claim - though as you rightly point out, this is just my opinion and obviously not yours.
    VU didn't play too many shows, and hardly anyone saw them live. 90% probably thought they sucked. Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix existed back then. As far as the "punk attitude" goes. There might be something like that. There was a feeling in the air, and WIRE were part of that, although they never fit in the punk scene in the UK, which was more Clash/Pistols. There was a moment when things change, and then a few years later you get Spandau Ballet. The "punk attitude" is only vibrant as long as it is relevant. Punk has become the default adolescent attitude now. It is mainstream now. Once you have all these mohawks and tattoos and people who look like Kat Von whatever, things like that have lost the meaning. I think Dali said something like "The first guy who got a mohawk is a genius, The second one is an idiot."
    the current 'punk default attitude' is nowt to do with owt myself, Freakbag & others have said regarding 'pun'/'punk attitude' - it's just a fashion, same as the punk posing down the King's Road back in '77 with their mohawks & bondage gear. ask e'm for an original thought & they'd struggle!!!!

    long may this thread continue, cos i find it interesting (partic the uk/usa thing), any1 else going to see MAGAZINE next year?!?!?!?!