When you get a story from the immortal Patrick Hughes, you know it’s time to start pulling together a new issue of Popnihil. This one’s gonna be The Music Issue. Perhaps I’ll get it out by the start of autumn. Here’s a peek ….
I had a vague thought maybe John Cale was the same guy as J. J. Cale, another artist I had never heard. But I knew from reading Rolling Stone that J.J. Cale had written “Cocaine,” a song made popular by Eric Clapton. The magazine also made it clear that the Velvet Underground wrote a lot of songs about drugs. Clapton’s “Cocaine” bored me, but I thought that on the off chance John and J.J. were the same dude maybe the original would strip out all the tasty licks and mellow vibes and get down to business.
I set to work convincing my mother to take me to the John Cale show. He was a member of the Velvet Underground, I explained, one of the most influential bands of the 1960s. This was a rare opportunity, a chance to glimpse an important piece of rock ‘n’ roll history. Plus, advertisements promised a local new wave band for the opening act, and I liked the playful way my favorite new wave bands portrayed themselves on TV.
Mom agreed. We went after a wedding, so I was wearing a tan, three-piece polyester suit. I had long hair, parted in the middle and feathered. Mom had to pay five bucks, but they let me in for free because I was so young. I remember the Star Garage living up to its name, or the second half of it, anyway – it was a big, open warehouse with a concrete floor.
This is gonna be good.