Velvet Underground Reissue White Light/White Heat


The Andy Warhol Museum is celebrating the rerelease of The Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat album by having a listening event. Cindy Howes of The Morning Mix interviewed Matt Wrbican, Chief Archivist, and Ben Harrison, Curator of Performing Arts at the museum about the event, and about White Light/White Heat.

The listening party idea came about shortly after Lou Reed died in October. It will feature the reissue played in its entirety, as well as several of Warhol's movies starring The Velvet Underground.

Lou Reed and Andy Warhol began collaborating at the Café Bizarre. The Velvet Underground played a gig there, and Andy thought they were great. The band was fired from the gig for playing the “Black Angel’s Death Song” despite the venue’s protests. Andy Warhol hired them then to be the Factory’s house band. Warhol managed the band for two years, and was very involved.

At the time of its release, the Velvet Undergound’s first album was received very poorly. This caused the band’s relationship with Andy to be stressed, and the band began pushing Warhol away.

Billy Name, the studio photographer for the Factory and the Silver Factory, did the album art for White Light/White Heat. Lou and Bill were very interested in magic and the occult, and at the time they were reading a book on white magic. The book talked about white light and white heat, and that’s how the name of the album came about.

Universal is putting out a limited edition 7” of the song “Booker T”, a track that was never released on a studio album by the Velvet Undergound. It was performed at the Gymnasium, and the Warhol Museum will be getting a few advanced copies. The song references Booker T and the MGs, and it was the precursor to “The Gift”, a song from White Light/White Heat. “The Gift” is basically a spoken word song over the music from “Booker T”.

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