THE STOOGES:The Stooges.

Image result for the stooges album

“And I’ll lay right down in my favorite place
And now I wanna be your dog.”

1969. A year that gave us a band that would, at the start be looked down on but eventually become one of the most influential bands of all time. Fronted by one of the most charismatic and courageous human beings, ever.

On Monday I went to the cinema to see Gimme Danger. The brilliant film about The Stooges. As I watched it, every part of me wished I was born at the right time to have appreciated them at the start. Instead I came into the world a couple of decades later. I couldn’t understand how or why The Stooges were the underdogs, why they were given so much shit. Maybe it’s because they were completely misunderstood. Their debut record is one of the most remarkable and most raw records of all, and for a debut to sound like that? Shit. You can just tell that they were on the verge of creating something that would make some feel uncomfortable, but what good comes from feeling otherwise?

I was very young when I first heard The Stooges, very young. I wasn’t aware of how important they would end up being to me but I remember instantly being hooked on Iggy. He seemed like someone that nobody could touch. He was like a fictional character brought to life and this character heightened when on a stage. The way he would whirl about on stage and how he would launch himself into the crowd. It wasn’t like anything else, he’s not like anyone else. He moves on stage like a gorilla ready to attack, especially when he crouches down and moves in this way that just makes you wonder what he’s going to do next. When a band can keep you on constant edge like that, that’s when you truly connect and know you’ve got a band to love for life.

Their debut record is a collection of songs that mess with your head. I mean that intro to I Wanna Be Your Dog is probably the greatest intros of all time. As soon as I hear it my ears prick up and I’m covered in goose bumps. I can’t describe what it sounds like but every time I play it, it feels like I’m hearing it for the first time. That new sensation takes over every time I hear it. We Will Fall is 10 minutes of chanting and bliss. It doesn’t sound like anything else on the record or really anything else they’ve ever done. No Fun is 5 minutes of summing up how boring life can sometimes be if you let yourself fall into a bland routine.

This recorded guided a generation into the 70s and brought to life a movement that would establish one of the most influential styles of music ever. Maybe I’m biased in my thoughts there, but for me, Punk is the backbone of everything I love. It isn’t just a 2 minute song telling the world to go fuck itself. It’s more than you or I can describe or explain. It’s a sound, a feeling, an attitude and I’m happy it found its way to me. The more I listen to The Stooges, the more I hear things I may not have initially picked up on. I can hear just how frantic Scott’s drumming was, and I think that’s part of the charm. Scott’s drumming was out of this world and he played in a way that made you want to make your own noise. Hell, The Stooges just made you want to make your own noise.

Their first record is smutty, off the wall and just wonderfully weird. These are the traits that got me hooked on them the first time around, and it is still apparent now decades later. The songs ooze frustration, desperation and the need for something. The need to search and destroy (different record, I know) and this record everlastingly and loving grabs you by the throat and unapologetically plants one right on the kisser. It’s just a brilliant listen, from start to finish. There’s no bad song on the record and each song is a side to The Stooges that we all grew to love and admire.

It took them a long time to get the respect and admiration that they rightfully deserved, and maybe if it happened straight away this raw and urgent sound they constantly possessed may never have been there. If you’re looking for a band that define going against what people expect or a band that just don’t care what you think- The Stooges are for you. The Stooges are for everyone. Everyone deserves to feel that “oh fuck!!” feeling when they hear I Wanna Be Your Dog for the first time. It’s feeling like no other, and man…it’s so timeless.

Velvet Underground-Venus In Furs.




“Strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart.”

There’s always a band, a song, a record that changes everything for you. It can be specific point in a song that just makes you think “Oh shit..this is it .THIS IS IT.” You don’t care if the end of the world comes because you’re in the midst of hearing something truly incredible. It doesn’t have to be a song from decades ago. It could be a song you heard this week, there’s no time constraint on this. It’s all about that moment, and how it makes you feel. For instance, most of these intense feelings for me, come from hearing Warpaint. Certain songs have precise moments that conjure up this feeling. Beach House too. But if we’re going back in time, I’m taking it back to the time of Velvet Underground.

Velvet Underground indulged in drug riddled, sexually fuelled and decadent lyrics. Thing is, these things are only seen as decadent by those who are small-minded and prudish, you know? No good ever came from being small-minded. I’m not saying let’s all go have drug induced orgies in the street. Can you imagine if that ever happened? “Yeah what happened was..I was err…well, Lou Reed’s voice just turned me on and this happened.” It could happen. Let’s hope it does, just to shock everyone.

I remember first hearing Venus In Furs when I was very very young. My uncle is a HUGE fan of anything Lou Reed has ever done (doubt he rates the Metallica thing.) And I remember one day being played the first Velvet Underground record. It was like some kind of epiphany. I wasn’t just hearing a collection of songs. I was hearing poetry. I was hearing music that would go on to play such a huge role in my life. It is Lou’s lyrics in general that have this wonderful grip on me.

Venus In Furs is a song that hypnotises you. There is something about the way it creeps up on you, swirls itself in and out of you. Then it eventually wraps itself around you like a serpent, holding onto you for the rest of time. You don’t allow yourself to feel this strongly towards any other song because this this one just makes you come alive.

This is just musically. Lyrically it’ll leave you weeping into your hands because you know that there is no other song in the world that has been written like this since. Others probably try to write something as powerful as this. The lyrics in this song are sheer poetry.

The song oozes ideas of bondage and submission. The way Lou delves into this world is in a way that, anyone else would probably make it so smutty and degrading. He does it in a way that sounds like something that just happens, anyone else would make it extremely perverse. Maybe at the time it was.

The intro of the song is carried throughout the song. It sounds a bit like nails on a chalkboard. It makes your face crease up, you squirm. Like you are writhing about in pain. But do you turn away? Nah. Far from it. You keep going. You stay with this. There are parts of this song that mean more to me than any other song I have ever heard. Lou manages to sum up exactly how I feel in one verse. No other song can actually get to the core like he did with this song :

“I am tired, I am weary. I could sleep for a thousand years. A thousand  dreams that would awake me. Different colours made of tears.”

I just adore this so much. I guess it is because I constantly feel like this. Tired. Always tired. The rest of the song? I cannot relate to. But, like I’ve stated- this song changed everything for me. It just makes you appreciate music in a different way. It’s on a different level to anything before or after it.

The song is full of sinister lines that make you smirk. If you just listen to the song casually and take nothing in, you’re not listening to it properly. I’ve played the song so many times, and every time I notice a different line to just love.

“Taste the whip, in love not given lightly.”

I think even if you weren’t sure on the subject matter of this brilliant track, this line sums up exactly what it is about. Dark and twisted. Would you have it any other way? Of course you wouldn’t.

If I was going to introduce someone to Velvet Underground (I’d take much pleasure in doing so I reckon) this would be the song I’d use firstly. I suppose if this didn’t do anything for them I’d be hurt in some way ha. Maybe it is THE ultimate Velvet Underground song. I’ll always regard it as one of the greatest songs ever written. I do think though, my heart has a firm attachment to Run Run Run (hence the blog name Gypsy Death And You…reference to The Kills of course!) I just have so much love and respect for Velvet Underground.

Songs as deep and as raw as this do not exist anymore. They do not have that intense build-up within them. I am fascinated by how the intro is throughout and makes you squirm. Play this song to the most uptight and prudish person you know, watch their reaction. You’ll want to film it. Unless they are not a deep thinker. If that’s the case, they won’t get it will they. Shame.

Velvet Underground are a band I feel that when you listen to them for the first time- that’s it. You’re hooked. It doesn’t matter at what point in your life you are turned onto them, their music is timeless. GOOD music is just like that. You still feel part of it no matter what. They started something no one else has managed to even compete with. Those that are influenced by them carry their importance around and spread the word. Velvet Underground went beyond being just a band. Venus In Furs has all these different layers to it then you truly get from listening through headphones. Something takes you over. Hooked and hypnotised. Just how it should be. When a song like this comes from a band’s debut record, you know you have found something life-changing and inspiring.

The Importance Of Velvet Underground.

Understatement of the year, but there is so much music out there. You cannot subject yourself to one genre. I will always say Punk Rock owns my heart. It always has, and always will. The angst, the passion, the drive, and the lust- everything about it appeals to me. Patti, Ramones. New York Dolls, Television, Richard Hell, Iggy etc.

One band in particular has everything I love about music in one. Everything I want in a band is in this band. The lyrics, the way the vocals are delivered, the honesty, the brutality, the tragedy, the agony, the joy, blood, sweat and tears.

This band has created music that just evokes so much imagery and feeling. So much darkness, so much passion. This band makes me want to travel back in time and live in New York City.

This band of course is Velvet Underground.

The smoky bluesy guitar, Lou and Nico’s overwhelmingly powerful and enchanting voices make you feel like you are lost in a dream. Lost with no desire to ever be found because what you have found in Velvet Underground you will never find in any band or person again. What you have found is this spiritual connection. What you have found is hope and a dream. Sometimes these two factors do not work, but they do here.

Regardless of what you may think of Andy Warhol, it was he who suggested that the band used Nico on their debut album- which I (and many many others) regard this to quite possibly be the greatest debut album of all time. Their debut album offers the listener so much, and after listening- no matter when your first time was, you find it hard to believe music can actually get better than this. It’s an album you can use to escape from the world or just sit and read to. It’s unbelievable perfect from start to finish. Also, Andy Warhol allowed the band to have the freedom to do what they wanted with this album- what would it have sounded like if he was to have taken control? Would it have been so effortlessly raw? Would the production have been text book perfect? Who knows. All that matters is that their first album is quite simply one of the greatest albums ever and THE greatest debut album ever.

White Light/White Heat is a phenomenal second album, the band proved with this album that the “dreaded second album blues” was not for them. It is still on a par with their first album- a difficult thing to do, but it can still be done. Sadly, it was the last album John Cale appeared on and there was no Nico. I must add here that, Nico’s voice is constantly missed. There has never been and never will be a voice quite like her. So husky, so defiant- just beautiful.

However, I personally feel their third album is THE ONE. This could be due to my overriding obsession with Pale Blue Eyes and That’s The Story Of My Life. Or, the fact that it is actually a mind-blowing album. Velvet Underground is a band that you just cannot find any fault in at all. The consistency of Lou’s lyrics and his vocals are so perfect. So perfect. You cannot help but think he is not from this planet. He’s a machine or something.

Reason why Loaded is perfect? I Found A Reason. If I ever found some poor girl willing to spend her life with me- that song would be the song I’d play at the wedding. Followed by Cat Power’s version of it. It is a truly gorgeous song. Its how a love song should be.

The sound that Velvet Underground created became instantly timeless. A sound that so many came to adore, and from it- started their own band. One band in particular that gives me the same feelings, ideas and images that VU are The Kills. Their bluesy escapism is quite frankly the most glorious thing I have heard from a band that only has two members. Their covers of VU songs are equally as perfect as the originals. Especially their cover of Pale Blue Eyes. Alison’s voice on this cover is so haunting yet angelic at the same time- pain mixed with innocence. I’m Set Free and Venus In Furs are wonderfully covered too.

VU are a band that I wouldn’t approve of anyone covering. Just no. yet when The Kills do it, you get exactly the same feeling Lou Reed and John Cale give you- that is when a cover is well done. If a cover can make you feel the same way the original does- then it’s a bloody good version.

I love The Kills as much as I love VU, so I suppose them covering VU isn’t going to offend me at all. If only Lou Reed would cover Rodeo Town or Wait! Even better, they do a record together. Either or I’d be happy with.

Are any bands that are around now going to have the same effect on bands like VU have? Will any band ever again create a sound like they have?

Everyone’s answer is different. Mine is no. Some would say yes. Personally, I prefer listening to old bands. Bands that started before I was born. For some odd reason I feel more connection to them. Thing is, nothing is new anymore. It has all been done and there comes a time where you just have to go back to the old stuff because everything was entirely different.

Bands that were classed as Punk may have all fell into the same genre- however they didn’t sound the same. You could tell each artist apart from each other.  Whereas now, if artists all fall into the same genre- you cannot possibly tell who is different.I know living in the past does nobody any favours ever, but sometimes it is more than acceptable to go back there in a musical sense.

There will never be another Velvet Underground, New York Dolls, MC5, Ramones etc but there will always be another…well, you don’t need me to name names. It’s fairly obvious isn’t it.