So, as far as I can remember, the Velvet Underground was an unknown quantity in Poughkeepsie in the late 60s. They were very much a NYC band after all. On the other hand, I do remember hearing the Fugs ESP-Disk back around '70-71 so, who knows? In any case, VU wasn't being listened to by the kids I hung around with in high school. My first recollection of hearing of them in any detail other than the name was with reference to the burgeoning punk scene in '74-'75 (maybe alongside the release of 'Metal Machine Music') by which time I was thoroughly immersing myself in avant jazz and had less than no desire to look back onto anything rock-like in nature.
The odd thing is, I went through a bit of a John Cale phase a few years earlier. I'm pretty sure in the summer of '72, on that fine WBRU station, I heard some Cale, presumably "The Academy in Peril". I quickly picked that up along with, in the ensuing year or two, "Paris 1919" and his collaboration with Terry Riley, "Church of Anthrax", greatly enjoying all of them (although they too would succumb to my Great Rock Purge of '75--I remember that Anthrax was borderline, but I was ruthless in those days! Awful decision). I suppose I knew that Cale had been in VU but for whatever reason, I had no itch to go back and investigate. I recall almost buying MMM as well, most likely due to reading various rock critics refer to it as "unlistenable noise", but deciding against it.
Since then, periodically, I've thought I should give these records a real listen, having heard bits and pieces that were intriguing and, more, curious about the influence of people like Tony Conrad and Lamonte Young on this branch of rock. A few years back, Jon lent me some mid-60s Cale (extended drones) that I loved, also stoking interest. More recently, having come to understand the large effect Young's music had on nascent AMM (via Cardew), my curiosity was sparked once again. The Josetxo Grieta disc was just the thing to get me to finally pull the trigger.
So I picked up the first two this afternoon, even springing for the "deluxe" edition of the first album. "White Light/White Heat" is on at the moment and, overall, I'm enjoying this more--far dirtier and grungier. But I liked the other as well, not surprisingly preferring the more extreme things, actually enjoying "European Son" the most. And it was obvious to me that I've heard "Heroin" more often in the past than I thought as it was quite recognizable. (The same thing with "I Heard Her Call My Name")
Anyway, glad I finally got 'em. Give me a few decades and I'll get around to stuff.
[Edit: OK, I have to give it up for "Sister Ray". Excellent]