12/28/17: The Velvet Underground “I’m Waiting for the Man”

They were Andy Warhol’s house band, they were provocative and unapologetically experimental. Dark, often nihilistic, fixated on sex and drugs – The Velvet Underground was the band that signaled the coming shift towards punk and “new wave” music. In the shadow of what we now see as “classic rock,” The Velvet Underground had several avant-garde bones to pick.

Fronted by the legendary Lou Reed – with guitars by Sterling Morrison, Angus MacLise on drums (eventually replaced by Maureen “Moe” Tucker when MacLise left the band after their first paying gig, as he saw accepting payment as “selling out”) and supporting instrumentation from John Cale – The Velvet Underground didn’t see much commercial success at the beginning. Which seems strange to us now, not unlike looking at a map of rivers and streams running into a lake.

In a time when drug usage was steadily becoming a prominent topic in the national conversation, “I’m Waiting for the Man” threw out all the clever code words and winking innuendos and gave listeners an honest account of waiting on a streetcorner to purchase heroin. The song plays with more boogie than you’d expect, with toe-tapping piano and a pounding drum and guitar beat. For band that wrote and performed a song simply called “Heroin,” though, “I’m Waiting for the Man” wasn’t all that shocking. With a sound that’s more Beatles than brownstone, the song quickly became a rock n’ roll classic.

The song has been covered by everyone from The Yardbirds to Beck to the Vitamin String Quartet, and remains just as relevant today as the iconic Warhol banana so closely associated with The Velvet Underground. The group left a legacy of art as music and music as art, prying open the door for waves of counterculture to come.

To read and listen to all of Ron’s Music in My Head entries, click here!


After playing a show at The Cat’s Cradle in July, at Local 506 in August, The Carrboro Music Festival in September; and The Southern Village Green in November,  the School of Rock students’ next BIG public LIVE performance will be Saturday January 6th at the Pittsboro Roadhouse.

At 1pm, its “Rock Goddesses” with Music from Stevie Nicks, Tina Turner, Janis Joplin and More. This is followed at 3pm with the songs of Led Zeppelin I and II. January 6th at the Pittsboro Roadhouse, put it on your calendar now!

The School of Rock Chapel Hill is a music school located in the 501 Diner location on Fordham Blvd in front of Eastgate, in the Blue Hill District!

Why should the kids have all of the rock and roll fun? The School of Rock Offers adult programs as well. It is never too late to learn how to rock!

Locally owned, locally operated, locally staffed, locally sourced instruments, and locally built!

You are invited to stop in for a tour or schedule a free demo session. Their hours are Monday-Thursday 3PM-9PM and Saturday 10AM-4PM!  

Learn how to play a real rock and roll song in just 30 minutes!

School of Rock Grand Opening

AND, through a partnership with the Public School Foundation; they’ll donate 1% of their gross revenue to support music in the local public schools, so help bring music to our community and enroll today!

Click Here to See Photos of the Grand Opening Celebration!

Sign-up at chapelhill.schoolofrock.com, or call 919-338-1011.


Open for Rocking!

‘Music in My Head’ airs every morning @9:15AM. Over the air on 97.9FM and streaming on chapelboro.com