John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Moe Tucker (and Lou Reed) play Jim Carroll’s ‘People Who Died’

Sterling Morrison died on August 30, 1995, just after he turned 53. A few days later, the movie Ant├írtida, with music by John Cale, hit Spanish screens; on the soundtrack, Morrison and Maureen Tucker joined Cale for a rendition of Jim Carroll’s rock litany, “People Who Died.” (Chris Spedding and the Lounge Lizards’ Erik Sanko also sat in on this quasi-reunion of the Velvet Underground.)

Back in 1984, Carroll joined Lou Reed’s band onstage at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey, to sing “People Who Died.” If you play Cale’s version back-to-back with Reed’s, all the original Velvets will be gathered together again, in a way, for a moment, and you will remember some people who died: Sterling Morrison, Robert Quine, Jim Carroll, Lou Reed.

Make your own Velvets reunion mash-up, after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall
08:23 am
The Velvet Underground: Under Review (full film)

If you have ever seen any of those low-budget “Under Review” made for DVD rockumentaries, then you know that they follow a fairly tried and true formula: Almost no music by the group or performer the doc is about, approx 5 minutes of archival film clips in the course of 90 minutes and usually a bunch of crazed loner rock critics you’ve never heard of, yakking it up about their favorite rock groups. Often the interviewees are fairly tangential to the subjects, but not always. The range from awesome (the one on the early days of Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention was excellent) to awful.

In The Velvet Underground: Under Review, they managed to nab TWO actual members of the Velvet Underground, Maureen Tucker and Doug Yule—both Reed and Cale, predictably sat this one out—which elevates this way above most of the others ones. Even longtime VU fans might learn something new here. For instance, I’ve listened to the VU for 36 years now and I didn’t know that Maureen Tucker didn’t play drums on Loaded because she was pregnant. Every copy of that album (and the CD) credits her on the back—your copy and mine—but it’s not her drumming, it’s Doug Yule, studio engineer Adrian Barber, a session drummer named Tommy Castanaro and Billy Yule, who was still a high school student (It doesn’t sound even remotely like Mo Tucker on Loaded as I found listening to it the day after I watched this doc). You also hear Mo talk about how she stripped down her drum kit to get a more primitive, less busy, sound. And Yule, who always gets short shrift in the VU saga, gets plenty of onscreen time to discuss his role in the band (How many of you reading this know it’s him singing “Candy Says” and not Lou Reed?). I’ve never seen an interview with him and I was very pleased to see his participation in this film. If you’re a VU fan, this film is absolutely worth your time.

Get it on DVD.


Posted by Richard Metzger
11:36 am
Their Last Tour: The Velvet Underground - Live in Paris, 1993

In June 1993, Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Moe Tucker kicked-off their official (sans Nico, who had died in 1988) Velvet Underground reunion tour with two nights at the Playhouse Theater, in Edinburgh. There had been rumors of a VU reunion for years, and these rumors slowly became real after Reed and Cale had successfully toured with Songs for Drella - their musical collaboration celebrating the life of Andy Warhol.

From their opening gig in Scotland, The Velvet Underground then played London, before taking their show to Holland, Germany, Czech Republic, France, Switzerland, and Italy, where the tour finished on 9 July. During the tour, they also gave a headline grabbing performance at the Glastonbury Festival, and had a WTF? moment when they supported U2 for five dates.

The VU reunion was so successful that an American tour was planned, and a showcase on MTV Unplugged… was all but booked. However, before any of this happened, Reed and Cale fell out and all plans were shelved.  In 1995, Sterling Morrison died. The following year, the VU were inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Reed, Cale and Tucker reformed the Velvet Underground for the last time.

This footage is from the Velvet Underground’s performance at the L’Olympia, Paris, in June 1993.

More VU, ‘Femme Fatale’ and ‘Waiting for the Man’, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher
06:32 pm