5 Things You Never Knew About the Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground has always been the epitome of effortless coolness. Their music, their artistic collaborations, and their overall don’t-give-a-fuck attitude has inspired almost every band that really matters. And while we can’t go to the mid-60s and 70s heyday of one of the best bands to ever live in New York City, soon we can get a giant re-release of their album Loaded. The new six disc box set comes out on October 30th — in honor of the 45th anniversary of the release — and includes the original album remastered in stereo and mono, a number of demos and mixes, a new remaster of the Live at Max’s Kansas City LP, an unreleased live set from 1970, and an audio DVD that has three different mixes of the album.

So, to celebrate the reissue, we’ve rounded up some of the most unexpected facts about the band and its eclectic members to hype you up for total immersion in the Velvet Underground way of life.

Lou Reed loved Yeezus.

Although Lou Reed hated The Beatles, he loved Kanye West’s Yeezus. In his review of the album he said “No one’s near doing what he’s doing, it’s not even on the same planet.” We only wish a collaboration had happened before Lou Reed passed away in 2013. It would probably be even better than “FourFive Seconds.”

The Velvet Underground is named after a book on sexual deviance.

While we all know the Velvet Underground as a band, the original Velvet Underground is actually a book by journalist Michael Leigh on modern sexuality. The book explores basically all sex that isn’t vanilla sex between heterosexual couples; including husband and wife swapping, group sex, sex orgy parties, fetish sex, and sado-masochism. Ironically, the Velvet Underground later wrote “Venus in Furs,” a song about sadomasochism, perhaps inspired by the book that gave them their namesake. Guess Lou Reed found the name evocative.

Moe Tucker is now a Tea Partier.

Moe Tucker, the Velvet Underground drummer for the majority of their existence, is often known for her androgynous appearance and unique system of playing drums — standing up, without cymbals. But, as she’s grown older she’s gotten some media coverage for something completely out of left field — or more accurately, right field. In recent years, it’s been revealed that Moe Tucker is actually a supporter of the Tea Party. She’s been spotted at their rallies and interviewed about her political views, which are colorful to say the least.

Nico died on a weed run on a bicycle in Ibiza.

While Nico was only really featured on the Velvet Underground debut album, she’s forever intertwined with the band. The model/muse/singer had quite a life of her own — and a bit of an Aryan streak — but, let’s be honest, she died in the strangest way. While on holiday with her son in Ibiza, Nico had a heart attack while bicycling to town to buy weed. She hit her head while falling off the bike and subsequently died due to complications from the head injury. RIP Nico, your death was as weird as your life.

Lou Reed was given electroshock therapy.

An oft repeated fact about the Velvet Underground frontman is that he was subjected to electroshock therapy after his parent’s learned of his homosexual urges. While his sister debates that this wasn’t the reason for the ECT, there’s no doubt Lou Reed was definitely treated for various ailments with the out of date medical care. Due to this, the musician struggled with short term memory for his entire life.

The 45th Anniversary Edition of ‘Loaded’ is out October 30th

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