CfA: The Velvet Underground (Rock Music Studies)

Special Issue of Rock Music Studies
“The Velvet Underground”
Guest-editors: Alex DiBlasi and Steven Hamelman
Deadline: December 31, 2014

“[T]he first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 copies in the first five years”. [T]hat record was such an important record for so many people. I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band!” Brian Eno, 1982

With the recent passing of Lou Reed and the upcoming fiftieth anniversary of their groundbreaking debut, the Velvet Underground remain one of the most influential recording acts in rock. Each of their four studio albums with Lou Reed at the helm – The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967), White Light/White Heat (1968), The Velvet Underground (1969), and Loaded (1970) – inspired entire genres, setting the precedent for alternative, indie, goth, punk, noise, post-punk, and experimental music in the decades to come. This special issue of Rock Music Studies seeks to examine the Velvet Underground’s lasting impact on popular music while also reappraising their own influences, works, and other realms of their career.

Topics for articles include:

  • Pre-VU and early efforts: the Primitives, John Cale and LaMonte Young, Angus MacLise’s time in the band, demos from this period
  • Andy Warhol: his discovery of the band, the group’s appearances at his Exploding Plastic Inevitable happenings
  • The studio discography: The Velvet Underground & Nico, White Light/White Heat, The Velvet Underground, and Loaded, contextualizing each album within its time while also exploring each release’s influence on later solo artists and bands
  • VU after Lou: the Doug Yule years, including Squeeze (1973) and the live Final V.U. boxed set documenting this era
  • Outtakes: VU (1985) and Another View (1987), which contain the tracks from their “lost” fourth album as well as future solo material for Reed and Cale; the “closet mix” of The Velvet Underground (1969)
  • 1993 reunion
  • Live releases: At Max’s Kansas City (1972), 1969 (1974), MCMXCIII (1993), and The Quine Tapes (2001)
  • Guitar styles: the “ostrich” guitar, backwards solos, other uses of effects
  • Gender and the Velvet Underground: Nico’s involvement, sexual politics, Maureen “Moe” Tucker
  • Lyrical and literary influences: Beat writing, Masoch’s Venus in Furs, Michael Leigh’s The Velvet Underground, etc.

Those interested in contributing should submit an abstract of 200-250 words along with their institutional affiliation, a postal address, and their preferred email address by December 31, 2014.

Articles selected for inclusion should have completed manuscripts of 4,000-10,000 words by June 30, 2015.

Submit any and all abstracts, questions, or comments to the issue’s editors:

Alex DiBlasi (Independent Scholar) – alexcharlesdiblasi@gmail.com

Steven Hamelman (Coastal Carolina University) – steveh@coastal.edu

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