‘From the Velvets to the Vidioids’ introduces new genre

By Staff Writer
November 17, 2006

Back in the prehistoric world of music pre-1970, there was a genre of music that now goes under the moniker of “garage rock.” Bands that fell under this category were ones such as The Who, Dave Clark Five, The Monkees and The Kinks. These are a few of the bands that then went on to influence acts such as MC5, the Stooges, New York Dolls, The Modern Lovers and Television.

“From the Velvets to the Voidoids” is a book written by Clinton Heylin that goes into the birth of American garage and punk rock, as well as goes into great depth about how punk rock started in America before being taken by the Brits and turned into a nihilistic form of music.

“From the Velvets to the Voidoids” starts out in the 1961-65 era of music and talks about artists such as the Velvet Underground, Nico, MC5, the Stooges and the Electric Eels up until the 1971-75 era when it shifts course and discusses the bands that really started the punk scene, such as the New York Dolls and Suicide.

The only books I really enjoy reading are biographies and autobiographies about bands and musicians, and this book certainly does not disappoint. I would recommend it to anyone, fan of the music within or not, because it is such a good look at the scene in America, particularly Detroit, Boston and, most importantly, New York City.

It is written in a style I have never seen before reading this. Instead of being the run-of-the-mill book where the author writes the entire book and just peppers it with quotes from the subjects, Heylin used quotes from the artists to let the book write itself. He only tosses in paragraphs here and there to intertwine what the artists have to say in regard to what the chapters are about and how they pertain to the era of punk and /or garage rock within.

Chapter seven, entitled “Trash,” is where it begins to get into the New York Dolls. After that chapter there is a new heading, “The First Wave,” consisting of seven chapters that go into great depth about the first wave of “punk” acts such as Blondie, the Neon Boys and the Ramones. “The Second Wave” are seven more chapter about, needless to say, the second wave of died-in-the-wool punk like Johnny Thunders & the Heartbreakers, the Dictators and the Dead Boys.

The writing style is great but one cannot say that the author is unbiased. He looks at everything from a neutral standpoint and simply lets the quotes tell the story but, toward the end, I get the feeling that Heylin does not like the British punk scene. He references another great book, “England’s Dreaming,” by Jon Savage, and goes on to say that the book did no favors for the American punk scene and discounted it as a lesser form of music, forgetting to cite its importance in rock ‘n’ roll/ punk history.

That is another great read, but a little wordy for my taste. “England’s Dreaming” can be equated to a British version of “From the Velvets to the Voidoids,” only wordier and with less quotes throughout.

‘I would have to recommend the above books as something to check out once you get burnt out from reading all of your school books. Clinton Heylin’s writing is worth more than its weight in gold.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Staff Writer

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Special Project

Title IX Redefined Website

Produced by Cabrini Communication
Class of 2024

Listen Up

Season 2, Episode 3: Celebrating Cabrini and Digging into its Past


Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap