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The Downtown Pop Underground

Kembrew McLeaod

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Doo-wop the first manifestation of DIY pop groups - bunch of guys wd gather on street corner NY or New Jersey, andfigure out who was going to sing which harmony parts. You didn't need to be a trained musician to copy the songs you heard on the radio.

Pickwick Records, a low rent version of the Brill Building system. Four guys working nine-to-five to punch out songs. They'd be telling you 'Write ten California songs, ten Detroit songs' and we'd churn them out, often recording a demo the same day. Richard Gottehrer recalled a producer coming in one day and telling them he'd been to his local milk bar and a girl had come in and yelled at a guy and literally said "My boyfriend's back and you're gonna be in trouble". So they wrote the song, which was recorded and released the next day.

Lou Reed worked days at Pickwick while playing in Velvet Underground at night.

Before they became VU, Reed and John Cale et al formed a group called The Primitives, which thhen became the Warlocks. An LA group also adopted the name, but when they heard about the NY group, the LA guys changed their name to ... The Grateful Dead.

Underground 'zines, churned out quickly and cheaply on mimeograph machines. Fuck You's pt of difference being that every copy supposedly had a drop of editor's sperm on the cover.

Bob Dylan sat for a Andy Warhol portrait in 1966. Many of Warhol's subjects got quite flustered at these sessions, but not Dylan. He sat there, impassive behind dark glasses, then when finished he decided to help himself to one of Warhol's silkscreen prints of Elvis dressed as a cowboy. "I think I'll just take this for my payment, man", which freaked Andy out completely.

As Warhol said in his early memoirPOPism, "The Pop idea was that anyone cd do anything, so natuarlly we wanted to try doing it all."

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