Friday, January 18, 2013

Velvet Underground founding member John Cale recalls his Ludlow Street apartment

These days, John Cale, a founding member of the Velvet Underground, lives in Los Angeles.

However, in The Wall Street Journal today, Cale revisits 64 Ludlow St., where he lived starting in 1964 ... where the fifth-floor apartment became a rehearsal space of sorts for Cale, Lou Reed and company.

The apartment belonged to experimental filmmaker Tony Conrad. Cale moved in to split the $25 monthly rent. "The building was filled with single-minded artists then like poet Angus MacLise, filmmaker Piero Heliczer, director Jack Smith and actor Mario Montez," Cale said.

To an excerpt!

Our apartment was a railroad flat — a long room running from the windows in the front to a small bedroom and a bathroom in the back. I slept on a mattress, under the windowsill in the front overlooking Ludlow. We burned crates and furniture in the fireplace to keep warm. There was no heat in the winter other than the gas stove.

Tony and I lived on what we could afford — mostly canned stew and milkshakes. Across the street in the morning, you could hear kids from the nearby high school singing doo-wop in the doorway there. Other kids threw rocks at us because they thought we looked like the Beatles. A lot of guys around here didn't like them early on.

Read the whole article here.

And here's Cale on the roof of the building the other day...

And here's the video for his newish single...

John Cale and The Wordless Music Orchestra perform tomorrow night at the Howard Gilman Opera House at BAM...

[Top photo — Michael Ochs Archives / Redferns]


Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

Great read. Thanks for the link, EV. And you can hear "The Ostrich" here:

Anonymous said...

well, my family lived up the block in the 60s in the building now housing the motor city bar. maybe my older brothers were the ones throwing those rocks.

Anonymous said...

According to inflation calculator

$25 in 1963 would be $181

so if he did this today he would be paying $60 a month rent