Andy on knowing where you stand:
Of course, people said the Factory was degenerate just because “anything went” there, but I think that was really a very good thing. As one straight kid said to me, “It’s nice not to be trapped into something, even if that’s what you are.” For example, if a man sees two guys having sex, he finds out one of two things: either he’s turned on or he’s turned off — so then he knows where he stands in life. I think people should see absolutely everything and then decide for themselves — not let other people decide for them. Whatever else it did, the Factory definitely helped a lot of people decide.
Andy on pop culture:
The old idea used to be that intellectuals didn’t know what was going on in the other society — popular culture. Those scenes in early rock-and-roll movies were so dated now, where old fogies would hear rock and roll for the first time and start tapping their feet and say, “That’s catchy. What did you say you called it? ‘Rock and…roll?’ ” When Thomas Hoving, the director of the Metropolitan, talked about an exhibit there that included three busts of ancient Egyptian princesses, he referred to them offhandedly as “The Supremes.” Everybody was part of the same culture now. Pop references let people know that they were part of what was happening, that they didn’t have to read a book to be part of culture — all they had to do was buy it (or a record or a TV set or a movie ticket).
Andy on Jimi Hendrix:
A band called the Druids had been playing at Ondine for a couple months. Jimi Hendrix — this was before he was Jimi Hendrix, he was still Jimmy James — would sit there in the audience with his guitar and ask them if he could play with them and they’d say sure. He had short hair and really beautiful clothes — black pants and white silk shirts. This was before he went to England and came back here as the Jimi Hendrix Experience, way before he played Monterey, before the bandanna and the twangy guitar and all that. But he was already playing with his feet. He was such a nice guy, so soft-spoken. One night he told me that he was from Seattle, Washington, and it seemed like he was homesick when he talked about how beautiful it was there, all the water and the way the air was. It’s funny but I remember the song that was playing at Ondine while we talked — “Wild Thing” by the Troggs — the song I’d eventually see Jimi do so fantastically himself in ’67 at the Fillmore East in his pirate prince look — a green velvet shirt and hat with a pink Musketeer plume. But the night we talked, he was just simple black and white elegant and there was a very sad look to him somehow.
Andy on the Velvet Underground:
Those were the days when you could live on practically no money, and that was what the Velvets seemed to have. Lou told me that for weeks at a time he and John would go without eating anything but oatmeal and that for money they’d donate blood or pose for the weekly tabloids that needed photos to illustrate their shock stories. The caption to one of Lou’s pictures said he was a maniac sex killer who’d murdered fourteen children and recorded their screams so that he could jerk off to the tape every midnight in a Kansas barn; and John’s picture appeared with the story of a man who’d killed his lover because the lover was going to marry his sister and the man didn’t want his sister to marry a fag.
Andy on boredom:
I’ve been quoted a lot as saying, “I like boring things.” Well, I said it and I meant it. But that doesn’t mean I’m not bored by them. Of course, what I think is boring must not be the same as what other people think is [boring], since I could never stand to watch all the most popular action shows on TV, because they’re essentially the same plots and the same shots and the same cuts over and over again. Apparently, most people love watching the same basic thing, as long as the details are different. But I’m just the opposite: if I’m going to sit and watch the same thing I saw the night before, I don’t want it to be essentially the same — I want it to be exactly the same. Because the more you look at the same exact thing, the more the meaning goes away, and the better and emptier you feel.