Thursday, June 21, 2007
Punk’s Inadvertent Invention: Velvet Redux
I have always believed that punk rock got both its art factor and its “ok-to-play-even-though-you-don’t-know-how-to” factor from the Velvet Underground. They were equal parts music master and music neophyte.
While other bands of the era were still singing about relationships between boys and girls, the Velvets were singing about the psychological side of things…the personal demons and darkness at the edge of the soul, staring into the abyss of heroin addiction against a guitar riff as dirty as that needle on the intersection of Lexington/125.
The 60s was a decade both beautiful and brutal – and it is reflected perfectly in the music of the Velvet Underground. This beauty/brutality dialectic has always been present in the music of the underground, whether it was rock n roll in its nascent years, or punk rock, which took that dialectic all the way to the mainstream. I mean… when Jaguar, a symbol of elite Britain selects The Clash’s “London Calling” to advertise itself…I guess we musical terrorists (punk rockers) have won.