Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Velvet Underground Etc.

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  • Simon Grigg,

    For a cult album, the Velvet Underground and Nico was never actually that hard to obtain

    It was unavailable in New Zealand from about 1970 through to 1979, and in those days there were no imports allowed courtesy of Rob's import licensing schemes. There were only a handful of vinyl import licenses in the country and they were mostly used for 'real music' = jazz & classical.

    So, yes it was really, really, really hard to get and went for silly money at auctions.

    It was reissued in 1979 by PolyGram (along with Nico's Chelsea Girl) after we (being myself and couple of other record store employees) decided we'd had enough of asking for it to be repressed and went up to the offices in Grafton Rd and presented a formal letter of demand. Our store alone had about 40 long standing orders for it.

    It sold really well (Nico didn't) and PolyGram took the credit for 'taking the risk'.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3206 posts Report Reply

  • Barnard,

    Am I along in really liking Songs for Drella?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2012 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    It was unavailable in New Zealand from about 1970 through to 1979, and in those days there were no imports allowed courtesy of Rob's import licensing schemes. There were only a handful of vinyl import licenses in the country and they were mostly used for 'real music' = jazz & classical.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4226 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    'real music' = jazz & classical

    Marbecks queens arcade #bye

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16599 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Sacha,

    Am I along in really liking Songs for Drella?

    Umm..no.

    Marbecks queens arcade #bye

    Man, isn't that just awful. I could say all sorts of things about some people not ever being allowed near running record stores, however I won't - but the idea that the very best classical store in NZ, perhaps Australasia and Oceania, *plus* a legendary shop that once breathed formidable customer service, not being able to survive is just bullshit.

    Angry. much.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3206 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell, in reply to Sacha,

    Indeed sad to see Marbecks go. This was the original wasn't it? The closest Christchurch had to Marbecks was Radar, sadly gone, a quake victim like Real Groovy (who got hit in both big quakes). And with wretched timing, Evil Genius opened in Lyttelton a week before the Feb 22 quake. I see they've re-opened in Wellington. Fortunately, Galaxy (next to the Darkroom) and Penny Lane (in Sydenham) were able to re-open and going strong by all accounts.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 83 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    Thankfully Wellington still has Slow Boat Records. And Rough Peel Music set up shop not too long ago.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4226 posts Report Reply

  • thegirlstefan, in reply to Mike O'Connell,

    yes, Evil Genius is dong a good trade in Berhampore in Welly,

    Aotearoa • Since Oct 2011 • 42 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan Ganley, in reply to Doug Hood,

    Attachment

    Here's John Cale at the Gluepot on that very tour. More here.

    Maungawhau • Since Dec 2006 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • JacksonP, in reply to Jonathan Ganley,

    More here.

    Great shots. Glad to know we had the same thought at the 2007 Cale Concert. That electric viola was something to behold.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 2132 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    Love to read that John Cale book, but not available - well, not a reasonable price that I can find!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 137 posts Report Reply

  • Graham Dunster, in reply to Graham Dunster,

    And talking of reasonable prices, I was aghast at how much Slow Boat and Evil Genius wanted for their vinyl lats time I was in Wellington. RPM not so bad, it all made Real Groovy Auckland look almost reasonable. Certainly won't divert me from internet purchases in the near future.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2009 • 137 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Graham Dunster,

    I don't think they're making a fortune. Think of the amount of cash that's tied up in stock, increasingly expensive Cuba Street space (with chain stores creeping up the street, landlords have been pushing rents up).

    I'd say $20 for an LP is a reasonable price for keeping the ability to browse records in a store going? If you spend an hour in a store and buy five records at twice the internet price, think of it as $50 for a more entertaining experience that sitting at a keyboard.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4439 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    I got lent the Velvet Underground & Nico album by my guitarist mate so I could learn how to play "I'm Waiting For The Man". I was already in a band though, so that ruins that theory ;)

    I'd been told, and until 5 minutes ago reading this thread, always believed that Nico had died of a heroin overdose. Seemed believable.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1129 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Slow Boat's owned their site for decades, so rent prices are no excuse for their steep prices.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 590 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Damian Christie,

    I’d been told, and until 5 minutes ago reading this thread, always believed that Nico had died of a heroin overdose. Seemed believable.

    No, Nico died of cycling.

    She was living in Ibiza and got on a fitness kick -- and had a heart attack riding around the hills in the blazing sun. Probably wearing black.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18815 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I feel a bit guilty for not caring very much about record shops closing. I hardly ever go into them nowadays, and I used to spend HOURS in them in my teens and twenties. I just don't have the browsing desire any more when there's, like, the internet. Pity about Marbecks though.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3649 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Hmm, Nico. I have a version of her doing Bowie's Heroes and it is comical and really, really bad.

    But I did catch a late Sunday night concert with Jack Black and an all-female backing band last night. It was great. It was on MTV, where good things can occasionally be found.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2301 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Elshaw,

    It was there on Friday, but i couldn't find the VU .rar bootleg download from Russell's original link today. Another two part version available from here and here

    Wellington • Since Mar 2011 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    I did not know that. Though if one believes in accountancy, there's the opportunity cost of not closing down and renting the place to Starbucks.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4439 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking, in reply to Danielle,

    You know the thing I miss most about record stores? The smell. No, I don't mean the incense which always seemed to be there - for some strange reason* - in the old St Kevins Arcade Record Exchange. But the smell of the vinyl and polish had a character of its own. Hit me the first time I ever went into a record store that wasn't just a corner in Woolworths or Farmers.

    Its been long gone, even in stores which still carry a large vinyl inventory.

    *insert whatever level of irony you feel is appropriate at this juncture

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 802 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Rob Hosking,

    You know the thing I miss most about record stores? The smell

    I miss the conversation. Phil Bell (Sir Vere) and I were talking about this a few weeks back and we both miss the hangout at the counter talking to likeminded nutters. In Auckland you still find it at Conch but largely it's a thing of the past in NZ as stores disappear.

    Gotta say, as a person who buys far too many vinyl records still, I think both SlowBoat and RPM have far better prices (and stock) than Real Groovy. Some of the RG NZ stock is outrageously priced.

    I bought this for a tenner in SB a few weeks back, in almost mint condition. It's so bloody rare and goes on TradeMe for three or four times the price.

    The chances of finding it in a bin at Real Groovy are about nil.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3206 posts Report Reply

  • thegirlstefan,

    here's a story Gordon Campbell did 2 years ago now, about the perilous state of record stores. Sad to see who has survived since then. In the piece, Dennis from SB mentions how buying the building has kept them afloat:

    http://werewolf.co.nz/2010/12/record-shop-r-i-p/

    Aotearoa • Since Oct 2011 • 42 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Cale was such a curmudgeon

    Then again, who wouldn't get a little cranky at the umpty billionth question about a band you left forty five years ago and that git Lou Reed. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 11902 posts Report Reply

  • kiwicmc, in reply to Jonathan Ganley,

    There are some fantastic photos on that site, clicked on one link, stayed until all photos looked at and captions read.

    Arhh, it takes me back - Whatever happened to Barney and Titch from the Auckland bootboys?

    Sydney, Australia • Since May 2008 • 65 posts Report Reply

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