Velvet Underground reunites -- to talk

Wed Dec 9, 2009 5:47pm EST
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By Robert Gibbons

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rock band Velvet Underground was celebrated for its legendary influence in fusing art and music in New York of the 1960s with a rare public reunion of three of the surviving members at the New York Public Library.

The program "The Art and Soul of The Velvet Underground" on Tuesday night brought together Lou Reed, Maureen Tucker and Doug Yule to talk about the band's enduring legacy and its association with late pop artist Andy Warhol.

The band has long been recognized as a major musical influence on punk and art rock, as reflected in a quote often attributed to Brian Eno that, "The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band."

Authenticity in their music was the band's ultimate goal, Reed said. "The band had a $10 fine if you played a blues lick, because it wasn't legit," he told the sold-out audience.

Yule, who replaced original Velvet Underground member John Cale in 1968, was a contributor along with Reed and Tucker to the recently published book "The Velvet Underground: New York Art," a compilation of art, photographs and memorabilia from the band's singular experience between 1965 and 1970.

Cale, who played bass and viola, was not present.

Guitarist Sterling Morrison, who knew Reed at Syracuse University and joined with him and Cale when Velvet Underground was forming, died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1995.

His widow, Martha, and son Thomas were in the audience, and she told Reuters that material from Morrison's own memorabilia collection was not included in the book.   Continued...

<p>U.S. singer Lou Reed performs during a concert in Berlin, June 26, 2007. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay</p>