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October 28, 2006


Joe Harvard

Sorry you didn't enjoy the book ... perhaps I never should've thanked & referenced the Peel Slowly and See booklet [which I still admire as a great little book in itself] in my intro, as yours is the second time I've seen this exact phrasing used [mayhaps you read the one really negative review in Amazon? from the guy who in like a hundred reviews only gives 5 stars to a garlic press? yeah, i had to look, I know I shouldn't give a frig but one tends to take these things personally ... hence this wee posting].

For the record tho': we were limited to 28k words, about 128 pages, of which I used around 120% [something like 34k/148]. That made it one of the longer books in the series, and caused some editorial friction, but meeting the word count for a guy as verbose as I am was a constant struggle. My first word count about three-fourths of the way through I was already at 52,000 -Yipes! Despite much snipping and trimming, when it came time to final edit the book I still had to actually un-write more than half of it, including a ton of biographical and most of the personal color content. But because I knew it'd be the first thing some people read on the band or the record, and their unique characters obviously impact the record enormously, I had to do some kind of bio. And without being defensive I challenge anyone to write a book this short and include a genuinely stellar bio of such a massively complicated group of people, and then still have more than a few pages left to actually talk about the record. To top it off I heard from Norman Dolph, the sole surviving member of the Production team, just 4 or 5 days before the final deadline for handing in the book, interviewed him that next day, and then re-wrote the entire book in the last few days, working straight through - as he provided answers to the very questions I was trying to solve about how long the record actually took, who did what, etc.

Anyway ... not everyone likes a musical detective story. Cool blog. You write well, maybe you should try to get one of the slots in the series ... there are still 3 to 6 VU records left, depending on how you count.

take care, joe harvard
author :The Velvet Underground and Nico"


Hey, I didn't say that I didn't enjoy the book, I just thought that it wasn't as comprehensive as some of the other selections in the series. Perhaps I knew too much about the recording of the album, and perhaps I was influenced by the one negative review as you mention (I have changed this sentence in my blog post, becasue it is lazy thinking and not true). But I did enjoy the discussion of the making of a classic album. I would buy other books by you in the future.

I also undestand the limitations of word count. I wrote some CD reviews for The Japan Times and had to limit myself to 500 words or less for each review and this often cause me great consternation. Keep up the writing and I look forward to your future writings.

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