White Light

On the WELL, Richie Unterberger is talking about his new book about the Velvet Underground, called White Light/White Heat after the VU album. An interesting note from the interview: Richie says he thinks the song “White Light/White Heat” was inspired by Alice Bailey’s occult book, A Treatise on White Magic. From the interview:

It advises control of the astral body by a “direct method of relaxation, concentration, stillness and flushing the entire personality with pure White Light, with instructions on how to ‘call down a stream of pure White Light.'” And it’s known for certain that Reed was familiar with the volume, as he calls it “an incredible book” in a November 1969 radio interview in Portland, Oregon. A Velvets fan I interviewed who
would talk to Reed at the Boston Tea Party confirmed that Lou “was very interested in a form of healing just using light, projecting light.”

Not the way we usually think of Lou Reed or the VU.

Author: Jon Lebkowsky

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