News & Politics

Moe Tucker: Young Artists Can’t Afford New York Today


Three surviving members of the Velvet Underground — Lou Reed, Moe Tucker, and latecomer Doug Yule (Sterling Morrison is deceased; John Cale just absent) — did Q&A at the New York Public Library on Tuesday, and someone in the back took some crappy video, which NME reproduces today.

It’s all catnip to Velvets fans, but drummer Tucker said something very depressing and true about the odds faced by young artists in New York now.

Asked if the band could have made it if they’d debuted in today’s music scene, Tucker said “Yeah!” with the inflection of “Duh!” which drew applause. But when the moderator asked if another band, a “mirror image of yourselves,” could make it in New York now, Tucker was less optimistic.

She admitted she “hasn’t lived here for a real long time,” but from what she’d heard and read, “I don’t think so. I think New York has made it very difficult for artists of any genre… one of my kids asked today, when we were running around the city — I wasn’t, the guys were — you could get an apartment for $100 a month, or maybe $60 even, and that you could scrape together. But you sure as hell couldn’t scrape together what you need to have an apartment today.

“So any young artists or photographers, writers, whatever — you can’t live in New York. And I think that takes a lot away from New York — really takes a lot away.”

This too got applause, which surprises us, since the papers tell us that the ones we have to worry about are the landlords, not the poor schnooks that live in their buildings.

(Also: regarding the unofficial and unlicensed Velvets stuff circulating on the internet, Lou Reed said, “I wish I had read that clause that says ‘future technology'” in his original contracts.)



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