Tuesday, September 2, 2008

lewis reed, staff primitive

ingrid superstar & gerard malanga outside warhol's factory.
west 47th street, NYC, 1964.

"Warhol was a man of parts, most of them contradictory, which accounts for his nickname, "Drella', composed equally of Dracula and Cinderalla."
- Gerard Malanga, from his Secret Diaries.

Before putting in for overtime down the Factory, Brooklyn born, Lou Reed was engaged as songwriter for a number of small acts and had already embarked on a fledgling career as Lewis Reed, frontman for The Jades, recording compositions for the teen market as early as 1958.

pickwick city,

"Leave Her For Me" was released as a 45 on the Time imprint in November '58, backed with a joint composition with Phil Harris, "So Blue". Since even modest chart success eluded The Jades, Reed eventually gravitated to Pickwick City Records as full-time staff-writer, and in 1964 enjoyed minor celebrity fronting 'garage' project, The Primitives; generating sufficient interest with "The Ostrich" - a manufactured song in the 'novelty dance' mould - to warrant a string of live bookings hastily penciled in for the non-existent 'group'.

According to Lukas on WFMU - from whose post the following MP3 conversions were originally culled (again) - "that touring version of The Primitives featured John Cale, Tony Conrad, and Walter DeMaria."

It's unclear whether Reed was initially introduced to Cale through Pickwick's offices, but it is a matter of record that the two originally met in 1964, after Cale arrived in the U.S. from Wales on an academic passport to study classical music. The Primitives would first evolve into The Warlocks - with the addition of Sterling Morrison on guitar and self-professed occultist, Angus Maclise on percussion and drums - before finally settling into the less formal arrangement we all know and adore with the arrival of Maureen Tucker in 1965.

"One of the secret weapons of the Velvet Underground was Lou Reed's Ostrich Guitar Tuning, where all the strings were tuned to D."

The rest, as they say, is history.

Both songs written by Reed; Sims; Vance; Philips.

THE PRIMITIVES: THE OSTRICH from "The Ostrich b/w Sneaky Pete" 45 (Pickwick City) 1964 (US)

THE PRIMITIVES: SNEAKY PETE from "The Ostrich b/w Sneaky Pete" 45 (Pickwick City) 1964 (US)



Empire Hancock said...

It still amuses me in a weird little way that the-not-yet-Velvet-Underground moniker'd themselves the Warlocks while at roughly the same point in history, the-not-yet-Grateful-Dead were known as same.

ib said...

Good point, Empire Hancock. I can't imagine one supporting the other, let alone agreeing to share the same bill.

Any relation to Herbie ? Or Tony, perhaps ?



thanks for this. used to have this single but it has long since gone the way of the best vinyl. i don't know how & i don't know when, but if there is a heaven, i bet this record is playing (my copy, mind ya) & they're all doin' the Ostrich.

all Warlocks bewar,

ib said...

Glad to be of assistance, nate. Unlucky about your original 45.

I'm sitting here slugging back a "King 888" energy drink, all the way from Nevada. Don't know how they're priced in the U.S. but it was certainly the cheapest shit I could pull off my supermarket shelf here.

These energy drinks are bad for you in almost every way - your teeth, your gut - but I've been addicted to the Taurine in them ever since they became available.

Any more, and I'll be doing the Ostrich myself, heaven be damned.

Anonymous said...

Was just curious about the Primitives and stumbled upon your post. Good stuff obviously in that pre-Velvet way. Thanx for sharing, plus your time and energy.

ib said...

Cheers, Justin. It's a curiosity, alright; I hadn't realised previously myself just how much Lou was involved in the industry before teaming up with Cale and the rest of the gang.