Lou Reed counted plenty of fellow musicians as fans during his long career. But how many of those disciples actually backed Lou up onstage? In 1988, during a Long Island radio station event, The Feelies served as the songwriter’s band for a blistering set. “It started as kind of a joke,” guitarist Bill Million laughs. “We told the station we’d do the show if Lou played some songs with us. And then he said yes! It was a bit terrifying.”
But the performance went swimmingly, and soon, Reed invited The Feelies to hit the road with him as his opening act in 1989. What was Lou like as a tourmate? “The opposite of everything you’ve heard, actually,” Million reveals. “There were dinners with Lou and his crew, and a lot of chances to talk to him. He had a reputation as this curmudgeon, but that wasn’t our experience.” Million even recalls Lou threatening to walk out on a gig if The Feelies didn’t get a proper soundcheck.
Now, the Feelies are paying back the favour with Some Kinda Love, a double LP of expertly rendered Velvet Underground covers taped live in 2018. The Feelies may know this material backwards and forwards (how many other bands actually play that short/sweet Loaded intro on “Sweet Jane”, after all), but the approach here is celebratory rather than slavish, the twin-guitars of Glenn Mercer and Bill Million blazing brightly in a way that Uncle Lou would surely appreciate.“We wanted to showcase the elements of these songs that had the biggest impact on us when we started the band,” Million says. “The guitar interplay, the feedback, the drones, the repetition – the things that made us fans in the first place.”
Some Kinda Love is released through Bar/None