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Velvet Underground recall links to Warhol

Last Updated: Thursday, December 10, 2009 | 12:59 PM ET

U.S. rock singer, songwriter and guitarist Lou Reed, formerly with Velvet Underground, reunited with two of his bandmates New York on Tuesday.U.S. rock singer, songwriter and guitarist Lou Reed, formerly with Velvet Underground, reunited with two of his bandmates New York on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Velvet Underground's Lou Reed, Maureen Tucker and Doug Yule staged a rare reunion at the New York Public Library.

The three members of the influential 1960s rock band talked about their association with pop artist Andy Warhol in a program called "The Art and Soul of the Velvet Underground." John Cale, who played bass and viola with the band, was not present at the Tuesday evening reunion.

Warhol produced their debut album, The Velvet Underground and Nico, with German model Nico as a lead singer.

Warhol began managing the band in 1965 and they were the house band at his Factory studio, as well as turning up frequently in his films.

Reed admitted that the only reason the band got noticed at the start of their career was because of its association with the pop artist.

"Warhol was one of the greatest people I've ever met in my life," Reed said in a public question-and-answer session. "Without him, [the Velvet Underground were] kind of inconceivable. When they hired us to make a record, it wasn't because of us, it was because of him. They didn't know us — they thought he was the lead guitarist or something."

Reed said Velvet Underground put its emphasis on authenticity. "The band had a $10 fine if you played a blues lick, because it wasn't legit," he said.

"To this day, I don't think there's been much going on that comes close to what the Velvet Underground did," he added.

The band was an influence on a generation of art rock and punk stars that followed.

Reed, Tucker and Yule recently published the book The Velvet Underground: New York Art, a compilation of art, photographs and memorabilia from 1965 to 1970.

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