Max's Kansas City Residency

Velvet Underground at Max's Kansas City poster 1970

Steve Nelson


Max's Kansas City Residency, 1970


First printing,artist's proof, lithogrph, near mint, backed with linen


Unframed dimensions: 10 7/8" tall x 29 1/8" wide




close-up artist signature


In 1970, Cotillion Records (a subsidiary of Atlantic Records that specialized in blues and Southern soul) signed the Velvet Underground for what would be its final studio album with Lou Reed: Loaded. The album's title refers to Atlantic's request that the band produce an album "loaded with hits". Though the record was not the smash hit the company had anticipated, it contains the most accessible pop the Velvet Underground had performed, and two of Reed's best-known songs, "Sweet Jane" and "Rock and Roll".



The Velvet Underground had not played in their hometown, New York City, since November 1967 as they tried to distance themselves from their previous association with Andy WarholIt was during the Loaded recording sessions that the Velvets (with Billy Yule on drums as Moe Tucker was on pregnancy leave) secured this now-legendary nine-week residency (from June 24 – August 28, 1970) at the New York nightclub Max's Kansas City, playing two lengthy sets per night, and showcasing altered arrangements of older songs from their previous albums, as well as the new material that would soon make up Loaded. Meanwhile Lou Reed’s last night playing live with the band was August 23rd.



Disillusioned with the lack of progress the band was making, and facing pressure by manager Steve Sesnick, Reed decided to quit the band during the last week of the Max's Kansas City shows. Although Reed had informed Tucker, who was attending the show but not playing with the band because of her pregnancy, that he planned to leave the group on his last evening, he did not tell Sterling Morrison or Yule. In a 2006 interview, Yule said Sesnick waited until one hour before the band was scheduled to take the stage the following night before notifying him that Reed was not coming. Reed's last live performance with the band at Max's was informally recorded and was released two years later in 1972 as Live at Max's Kansas City



The poster and photo are by Steve Nelson who, as manager of the Boston Tea Party for a year or so in 1967 and 1968, formed a close relationship with the band. In fact, the Velvet Underground considered Boston their true home musically and they played shows their nearly monthly during the late 1960s. Steve Nelson moved out to Springfield MA where he opened the Woodrose Ballroom and the Velvets played multiple gigs there are well. This poster was obtained from Steve Nelson and it is signed by him as well. On very thin paper, it’s doubtful many of these survived and we had this one backed with archival linen to protect it.

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