Lester Bangs, arguably the greatest rock critic ever, once wrote, “I always believed that rock ’n’ roll comes down to myth. There are no ‘facts.’” As countless aspiring music writers were obsessed with his work, Bangs himself was obsessed with Lou Reed, who in 1991 told author DeRogatis that “You can disappoint someone like that so easily when they find out just how human you are.” The facts in this book may or may not help you find humanity in one of history’s most influential rock bands (though it’ll be hard to find a band that affected as many genres as the Velvets did), but that’s the least important part of it. This is not a conventional biography, but the most natural way to try to make some “sense” of the Velvets: a stunning visual-art book that hypnotizes just like the music did. “Always leave them wanting less,” wrote Andy Warhol about the VU’s live-performance “policy.” That won’t happen with this book.
— Enrique Lopetegui
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