Velvet Underground documentary: seminal band was root of punk and new wave
By Alicia Garcia de Francisco
Madrid, Oct 14 (EFE).- Cult rock group The Velvet Underground was the root of the punk and new wave movement and influenced the likes of David Bowie and Patti Smith, Todd Haynes, director of a new documentary about the band that launches this week, told Efe.
“I had already been listening to music that the Velvet Underground had inspired like David Bowie and punk rock and Patti Smith and new wave music, and then, all of a sudden, at the beginning of college I hear The Velvet Underground and I’m like oh ok, this is the root of all of this other stuff,” Haynes said in an interview.
His documentary, The Velvet Underground, which launches on Apple TV, delves deeper than just tracing the band’s evolution and immerses viewers into the eclectic, multidisciplinary arts movement that had its headquarters in Andy Warhol’s Factory in 1970s New York.
Warhol’s art studio witnessed a “slipping and sliding between making visual art and making film, and making music and doing happenings and writing poetry, that’s hard to find another example of in modern time in terms of popular art,” Haynes mused.
For Haynes, capturing the experimental and avant-garde spirit of the times was of the essence and as such, the documentary challenges conventional formats and puts the onus on the audience to “locate the parallels between the experiments going on in the films from the time and the experiments going on in the music.”
The documentary is rich with interviews with some of the key players of the movement, and what Apple TV describes as a “ treasure trove of never-before-seen performances” and recordings.
Interviews with some of music’s greats, including David Bowie, Jackson Browne and Jonathan Richman, who claims to have gone to 80 Velvet Underground gigs, feature in the film.
The documentary also includes archive footage and audio of Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison, Angus MacLise and Nico.
In a nod to the artsy nature of the band and its ties to Warhol, the footage is edited with a dizzying montage that uses split screens and multiple frames that make up puzzles of images.