Flashback Friday With Lou Reed and Flo + Eddie, Circa 1978
Maybe on the surface, the Turtles and the Velvet Underground seem worlds apart. But peel slowly and see, the mileage between the two musical greats isn't that wide. Both bands started out in the early '60s, the Turtles as surf rockers, the Crossfires, while the roots of the Velvets lie in the assembly line song craft of the day (Lou Reed wrote and recorded under a variety of incarnations -- the Beachnuts, Roughnecks), as well as the avant garde. In 1965, they both -- the Turtles and the Velvet Underground -- officially got under way. One on the west coast, one on the east.
Alright, so the similarities in style may be less tangible. The Velvets married the gritty reality of the streets of New York City to a sonic assault previously unheard, while the Turtles took the folk rock ball and ran with it head on into both pop and psychedelia, delivering 18 charting singles during their run. By the end of the decade both had called it a day with Reed going solo, and head Turtle Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (a.k.a. Flo and Eddie) joining forces with Frank Zappa and the Mothers Of Invention. The dynamic duo would go on to be among the most in-demand session singers in the business, sprucing up records by everyone from from T. Rex to Bruce Springsteen along the way.
In 1978, Reed, Flo and Eddie all converged on the set of 'The Midnight Special.' Lou had been asked to host the late night music program, as well as perform, but the powers that be took offense to some of Reed's lyrics. Reed says the network had deemed some of his lyrics "unacceptable ... it would have been one long continuous bleep," he said. Reed declined to take the gig.
In a unique move, the show asked him to appear as a guest on the show to explain why he had declined the hosting job. Flo and Eddie were asked to conduct the interview, which in turn, proved to be among the more engaging segments the show ever put forth. Reed was very relaxed and at home with his interviewers, and really lets his guard down, making for an atypical Reed interview.
Check out the historical document in the video above.