In the Sixties, I was in a band called the Holy Modal Rounders, and we opened for the Velvet Underground in Boston. Nico was there. They had that incredible sound with Cale fucking up the viola over the top. Remember that first album, with the shattering glass coming down in "European Son"? It sounds like a windowpane crashing. The Rolling Stones didn't do anything like that! That was a hell of a band. My band's drug of choice was crystal meth, but the Velvets were talking about heroin!
Lou was an extraordinary lyricist. His lyrics were an incredible combination of imagery and hieroglyphics. "The people all call her Alaska/Between worlds because the people ask her/'Cause it's all in her mind" – one of the great lines. Or that line in "Sweet Jane": "Everyone who ever had a heart/Oh, they wouldn't turn around and break it/And anyone who ever played a part/Oh, they wouldn't turn around and hate it." Wow! He was writing in the present, from his own experience, sort of like David Foster Wallace, the kind of writer who comes from an angle no one else would think of.