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Velvet Underground's The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) Paperback – March 31, 2004
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"A bite-sized look at the creation of one of the more seminal albums of our time….well worth dipping into." David Hill, Shredded Paper Magazine, Fall 2004 issue
"The splendidly named Harvard sees the Velvets through the eyes neither bleary nor jaded nor excessively worshipful, and among many sharp insights nails the idea that it wasn't just LouLouLou with, oh yeah, John Cale and the chick who split after this debut and the drummer who played standing up and the bass player who moved to Austin. Anybody who's heard "Sunday Morning" as the sun's coming up on a Sunday morning knows the Velvets were a BAND, and for these two sides of vinyl there was no more powerful idea. A-" —Austin American-Statesman, Oct. 17, 2004
"[Harvard] has the material as well as the gift of gab." —Robin Vaughan, Boston Herald, 6/6/04
More About the Author
Harvard honed his writing from 1996 through 2003 on his award-winning Boston Rock Storybook web site [now being battered into publishable form offline] before authoring The Velvet Underground and Nico for Continuum editor David Barker's 33-1/3 Series in 2004. Joe appears in several books on indie and alternative rock, like Josh Frank's excellent Pixies: Fool the World and video/film documentaries including Counting Backwards and The Velvet Underground, A Critical Analysis, as well as contributing to local music publications such as Upstage, Fabric Staircase and Muck.
Joe's list of session credits includes playing on LP's with Dinosaur, Jr., Throwing Muses, the Pernice Brothers, and Grammy winning country artist James Otto, contributing any one of a host of instruments such as lap steel, timbura, tanbur, cumbus, bazouki, acoustic / electric guitar and bass. Joe has also contributed production and engineering for Treat Her Right, Morphine, Connells, Breeders, Tanya Donelly/Belly, Gwar, Peter Halsapple & Syd Straw among many. Harvard's 1985 - '93 tenure as principal owner of Fort Apache was marked by countless pioneering indie and alternative releases, including the Pixies, Bosstones, Buffalo Tom, Lemonheads, Mission of Burma, Blake Babies/Julianna Hatfield, and numerous others.
Joined by Cranial Mass Productions partner Mallory Massara, Joe can be found hosting Rock-N-Talk, a live music talk show held the last Friday of most months in Asbury Park. Another concept with roots in Cambridge's Plough & Stars Pub is the Long Weekend, which enjoyed a 2-year, 111 show weekly run on Monday nights, winning the AMA's Top Avant-Garde Act , and is now done intermitently as the mood strikes. This unique evening features co-Host Mallory Massara as Queen of Trivia & creator of goofy/brainy contests. while Joe conducts a constantly shifting assemblage of audience members -- both musicians and non-players alike. Exploring Andy Warhol's idea of eliminating borders between audience and performer, all percussion and other instruments and amplifiers are provided for spontaneous performances of songs as well as for improvised backing for spoken word during the popular Poetry Corner. Joe has also provided musicianship for performances and/or recordings with prominent NJ songwriters such as Mark Prescott, Keith Monacchio, Rick Barry, Lauren Pennington, Geena, Greg Wilkens, Kenny "Stringbean" Sorensen and the Stalkers and the groups Agency, Dubproof and Last Perfect Thing. He continues to play regular live shows with Velveeta [the Velvet Underground tribute band], the Cockwalkers [Boston Garage at it's best], solo as the Human Slinky, and with the Joe Harvard Band.
He is currently working on a second book of true stories from the world of rock, and his travel experiences in the U.S.,, U.K., Saudi Arabia, Greece and Pakistan, and adapting the once-online Boston Rock Storybook for print.
Top Customer Reviews
This book is really well-researched, as I guess you'd expect from an arachaeologist-turned-musician-turned -writer; with the backround story assembled as it is from liner jackets, magazine articles, websites and interviews (plus key passages from the other major Velvets works) it makes a perfect introduction for potential VU fans, while the detective work Harvard does on this definitive work by a great band will answer some long-standing questions for VU veterans.
Curiously, since the author's style is often irreverent, he still conveys his considerable respect for the achievement that this album was. Some of the funnier parts of this book involve the writer's admitted Boston-centric stance, and the way he weaves in elements of his own background veers from artful to self-admittedly ham-fisted. When checking out the writer's background, I found it interesting that one of the articles he wrote for a local NJ music 'zine, Upstage, was an appreciation/obit for Hunter S. Thompson ... with a similar embrace of subjectivity and such a melding of personal background with the book's subject, I wonder if this is akin to the "New Journalism" of rock writing? Whether it is or not, this is definitely a book worth reading.
The author (a musician and producer in Boston, a favourite venue for the VU at the time in the USA) given his age was not around when the LP first came out and has instead "tracked back" based on seeing the pervasive influence it had on may later rock acts who he admired. In doing so, he has benefitted from being "guided" by Jonathan Richman (a longstanding and close VU fan plus influenced musician) in not being fooled by the many false statements and conflicting claims that exist by many of the participants.
What this book does beautifully is with great scrupulousness, nail the facts down and reassess what all the different participants contributed (or maybe didn't in some cases!) to the final end result. Compared with all the many prior books on the VU I have read (and there are indeed many for a group that during its existence had very limited commercial success or critical appreciation) this is easily the most honest and thorough on the subject I have read to date.Read more ›
Avoid unless you have never read anything about the VU.
Offers fairly thorough backstory to the production of the album, but the author is clearly a developing writer. Overall this is probably the least impressive 33 1/3 release I've read ='(((((((((((((((((((
A) Stole the author's high school girlfriend
B) Stole the author's high school boyfriend
C) Pissed on the author's shoe at The Factory
D) Refused the author the privilege of licking his ass
E) Is jealous of Lou's prodigious talent and legacy
F) Was irritated by Lou's unwillingness to be interviewed for this hack job. (Poorly executed hack job.)
G) All of the above
If you picked G, congratulations, you get a smiley face sticker.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best books I have read in this series. Mr. Harvard has done a great job distilling this iconic and influential album.Published 8 months ago by Anthony J. Genaro
Bought one of these books for each of my family members and one for myself. Thus far all positive reviews.Published on January 14, 2014 by Charlie Yon
I'm a VU fan, but not a VU freak. As such, I liked this book a lot. Plenty of background on the making of the album, analysis of the songs, etc. Read morePublished on June 12, 2013 by Rich L.
When i got the book i let it sink in for a while,just looking at the cover.I thought the point in the making of the first songs really carried a great sense of workmanship. Read morePublished on December 26, 2012 by Dim
This book is not meant to be an extensive treatise on the band but rather a focus on the VU's debut album. Joe Harvard does an adequate job. Read morePublished on September 17, 2012 by Brian Egras
I'm not a HUGE fan of the Velvets but I think this is a very good read. I really like some of the songs on this album (the opener is great - I never knew Nico sang that live! Read morePublished on October 27, 2008 by Joseph Morris
No, really, it does- at least while I'm reading it. You know when a five year old is telling you a story and you kind of have to translate their ill-conceived words into proper... Read morePublished on August 1, 2008 by Z. Hopkins
This represents the absolute worst in rock journalism: the writing style is out of a high school term paper, and it includes no new information about the band or the album. Read morePublished on May 29, 2008 by Peter I.