Velvet Underground

Live at Max's Kansas City -- Deluxe Edition (Rhino/Atlantic)

This is the Velvets' last stand, captured on a portable cassette recorder on August 23, 1970, shortly before Lou Reed left the band. Containing an extra hour of performances, the release of the expanded version gave us a chance to speak to guitarist Doug Yule, who still plays music but has no desire to live the rock 'n' roll life again.

New Times: You're the forgotten Velvet. Even the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame forgot you when the Velvets were inducted (1996).

Doug Yule: It's funny. I was told [that] at the induction party they gave out a souvenir recording of the band as a party favor, and it was me on the record, not John [Cale]. I was working in San Francisco at the time and it was embarrassing. The receptionist read it in the paper and said, "So you're going to the Hall of Fame?" and I said I didn't know. The Hall of Fame wasn't talking to me, so what could I do? When they did that reunion tour in the '90s, Maureen [Tucker] told me that Sterling [Morrison] wanted me along, so he wouldn't get stuck on bass, but he was the only one to stick up for me.

Recorded in August 1970, featuring one of Lou Reed's last performances with the group.
Recorded in August 1970, featuring one of Lou Reed's last performances with the group.

NT: Lou quit during the Max's gig. Did the band know that was coming?

Yule: I can't say what other people knew, but up until the point Lou announced, an hour before the evening's set, I had no clue. But I was 21 or 22 at the time and didn't have a clue about very much. I was surprised, but I remember two things ran through my mind. I was a guitar player before the Velvets, and while I enjoyed the bass, I knew without Lou I'd get to play more guitar and sing. And I knew I'd miss the dynamic between Lou and me and Lou and the group -- that creative tension was a big part of our appeal.

 
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