In 1967 a new album changed music forever. No, not the sergeant. Pepper
Taking the last track of the album, European son, with Iggy Pop was extremely gratifying for Sweeney. With The Velvet Underground, he counts Pop, which broke out in 1969 with the Stooges debut album, among his greatest musical influences.
âIggy, the Stooges and the Velvets are really huge, consistent things that have informed me since I was a kid,â said the 52-year-old. “There is very little for the price and these albums are amazing.”
Spending a day in the studio with Pop was enough for Sweeney, who is also a producer, to put together their version of European son. âI did the bass track and the fast, choppy rhythm guitar track and I was hoping that if we knocked him out fast enough, Iggy would pass on the guitar, which he did. Crazy noise guitars, that’s Iggy, the super free stuff. I was losing my mind, sitting next to him … Iggy can blow on a guitar.
Kurt Vile’s cover of Course Course Course is one of the flagship tracks on the album and Thurston Moore teamed up with Bobby Gillespie for a mind-boggling take on Heroin. Multi-instrumentalist Andre Bird teams up with vocalists Lucius Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig on Venus in fur and Sharon Van Etten sings Fatal Woman, one of four songs originally sung by Nico.
The new album was produced by the late Hal Willner, a longtime friend of Lou Reed’s who has produced albums with Marianne Faithfull, Reed, William S. Burroughs, Lucinda Williams and many others over four decades in the music industry. Another New York resident with a huge passion for his music scene, Willner was also considered a master of the tribute album.
âHal was the guy who opened the door and let me in,â Sweeney says. âI paid homage to Lou Reed at Lincoln Center and Hal took care of itâ¦ that’s when I first discovered the magic of Hal. Great ideas, he’s never been stressed out and … yeah, that’s such a loss. “
Between 1967 and 1973, five studio albums were released under the name The Velvet Underground. Only the first two presented the original line-up with John Cale. Guitarist Doug Yule joined the band before the eponymous 1969 album and into the 1970s. Charge, the enigmatic Reed had also resigned.
âFor me, when it comes to Te Velvet Underground, there are four albums,â Sweeney says. âFour very different albums and this is the first album that Andy Warhol has a lot to do withâ¦ there is a certain New Yorker in the first record that really attracts people.
âThe synergy between Warhol and the bandâ¦ it was a certain time in New York that wasn’t about hippies and it was an incredibly interesting time. The group were very cunning and serious about what they were doing and used the platform they had to good effect.
âTheir third album is one that anyone can love, it’s that warm, fuzzy cushion of a record, but the first record is that open door and if you want it your life can change if you walk through the door. “
Sweeney, who stars in Chavez and Zwan among others, has written songs for, performed alongside or produced music for Johnny Cash, Cat Power, Neil Diamond, Jake Bugg, Run The Jewels, Josh Homme, Turbonegro and the band new -Yorkis Endless Boogie among others.
Earlier this year he released a second album under the name Superwolves with his frequent collaborator Will Oldham aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy and the couple have played a handful of shows in recent months, as live performances have slowly opened up. in the USA.
âWe played a few weeks ago in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, that’s where a lot of Hollywood legends are buried and they performed at the Masonic Lodge there. It was pretty wild.
âWe did a Superwolves tour of California in June, all outdoor shows and it was really fun. As for the Superwolves, the exterior suits us. I don’t care about playing in front of big crowds, I don’t really like playing in front of big crowds anyway. We will find a way to continue.
- I’ll Be Your Mirror: Tribute to The Velvet Underground and Nico is available through Verve Records.