Saturday, December 27, 2008

Maureen Tucker and the Velvet Underground

"I was sitting drumming thinking thumping pondering the Mysteries of Life." --Lou Reed

The Velvet Underground and NicoAutumn Meredith, Leather Trio Productions: Two cool things happened in 1967. My parents had their only child, me, and the first Velvet Underground (iTunes Link) album came out. I got the album when I was sixteen at this used record store in North Beach where Cindy's boyfriend, Billy, later worked. I always thought that the coolest thing about the Velvets was their drummer, Maureen Tucker. In those old pictures she always looked kinda sweet and tough with her bangs and dark clothes. And she played drums with such understated simplicity that you hardly even noticed how good she was or how perfect her style was for the band unless you listened really close.

After the Velvets broke up Moe settled down, had a bunch of kids and then got divorced. But she never stopped playing drums. In 1987 that 50 Bejillion Watts label put out a Maureen Tucker mini album called MoeJadKateBarry. Jad Fair of Half Japanese sings and Moe plays primitive drums like only she can. They do old Velvets songs, a Jimmy Reed cover and one original. It's one big crunching dirge of a record.

Now everyone knows that the only great album released so far this year (1989) is Lou Reed's New York (iTunes Link). And of course Lou got Moe to play drums on two songs. The real cool one is the song dedicated to Andy Warhol, "Dime Store Mystery." Moe's drums sort of fade in and out of the mix, but whenever they pop out you can hear them thumping along with Lou's voice and guitar like two old friends rediscovering each other. Her drumming is so much tough primitive pounding and so unlike all those oversampled drum machine sounds on so many records these days. Maureen Tucker's drums are "shrieking screaming whispering the Mysteries of Life." Yeah, whispering. Keep on pounding Moe.

Album Network, February 10, 1989

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thumbs up.