First--art is an important force in world affairs. Art (generative) and aesthetics (critical) are displays of sexuality. Having sex on their side, as group such as the Beatles could conquer the youth of the iron Curtain countries and bring about hte other changes. Sex defeats political ideology. Art is a bigger concept and to make music show it's erotic nature, one needs artists, because of the way they think. The Beatles were partially art school dropouts. So was Townsend of the Who. Townsend spreads his arms on stage "to make it bigger". He has perspective. He cares about concept. He's an artist. And they can all do more than make music.
Artists can do anything. If you ask Townsend or Lennon or Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground to change media on the spot, they would all do it with aesthetics and stuff. But who knows what shit would ooze from the pen of Jagger or the movie camera of Joplin? The Beatles can lead the Stones round by the nose... (Example: Sgt. Pepper) because they look at a bigger picture. These guys use music as a vehicle; they aren't slaves to it. Who are slaves?
People like John Mayall, Cream, Hendrix, Broomfield, etc. They are an acquired taste. Other musicians, thrilled over their many faceted harmonies and Clapton's ability to do 3 things at once and Jack Bruce's to do 2. But if Cream were artist's, they - in fact - would have been able to forsee their own demise. I predict Hendrix's within the year and that of the Airplane, the Doors with Traffic, and all the "art-rock" groups lasting a little longer. See chart.
Now I want to talk about the Velvet Underground... but first... a suprise - THE VELVET UNDERGROUND CONTRASTED ON STAGE WITH THE WHO (ON STAGE)
The Who - acrobatic, excited, obvious humour, Townsend - acts skinny, looks benevolent, great facial expression... Plays through 2 Sound City amps, 4 speaker cabinets - of 4 12" speakers apiece... which are in despicable condition. The Who (Townsend) talk to the audience. They are involved with the 'big show' concept. They are easily understood. Exciting but not astounding!
The Velvets are astounding! They used to look much more sinister. Often, Lou and John, the viola player, with maureen, the drummer, and Sterling, guitar, also near black. Three black Vox amplifiers, black lyrics, black rhythms! They seemed unexcited, cool, and seldom gyrated. I once remember Louis really shaking his ass to Foggy Notion, a super hard rock song. Recently the Velvets have become even more basic. They now wear simple clothes.
FINALLY, the Velvets and The New York Art Scene are about the same thing. The same old people... have been around since early Pop. The ideas are the same. They Loved honesty. The Velvets are honest. The scene has had a sense of humour and functionality. The Velvet Underground personifies this stuff. It can't really be defined, I guess.
The New York art scene has a unity that must be undefinable. If I could say what it was, it would be dead. Many of the ANew York People seem to have a unifying sense of humour. Also deep passion for basic honesty in people. Actually, outside of general stuff like that, it gets tricky. The image of sexual perversion, leather stuff, and general coldness aimed at the scene and specifically the Warhol crowd is inaccurate to the point of being a good joke. The scene has lots of jokes.
I don't know why the Velvets or any of the others turned out that way. Apparantly artists can make art sexual because of the eroticism - power of their minds. The Velvets are erotic, New york is erotic, sex can be erotic, music is erotic, art is erotic.