Margate’s Northdown Road may be quite a distance from 125 and Lexington, New York, the dubious corner Lou Reed cemented in music history via his controversial lyrics, yet it’s a track that has always resonated with Lyons; what with his own past vices and enduring love for Reed’s louche tones.
Having slotted a cover version of the song into his live setlist for while now, Lyons thought it was about time he set the track to wax – “I recorded it at home in an afternoon, sent it off to be mixed and mastered the next week and a month later I had the test pressing in my hands. It was a pretty amazing feeling watching this thing I’d made for fun in my tiny home studio on an iMac become a real record.”
On the 1997 version he chose:
“My version of this song is actually a cover of the live version that Lou did with David Bowie at his 50th Birthday party – you can find it online. The original has this amazingly cool, strung out, semi-conscious sprawl thing going on, but live and with Bowie at the helm, it leans more towards being a celebration of fraternity rather than stoned, rambling musings about a drug dealer being late.”
On adapting the song to his own voice:
“The Velvets are un-coverable – they’re the Velvet Underground. They don’t need to be covered. But the band and I have recently started putting this version of the song into our live set, it always goes down really well and so I thought, why not?
Of course, I pulled some of my own experiences into the performance (I too was once a man of substance) but mostly I just had fun singing it. I made a point of saying to myself, I’m going to sing this all the way through, once, and that’ll be it. That’s why the lyrics in the last verse are all mixed up…”
On making the video:
“Our keys player William de Courcy came down for the day and we decided to make a video. I called Shannen Long (who’d never shot a video before) and borrowed the keys to my friend’s venue the 101 Social Club and we spent about four hours filming me being stupid on the high street in front of it.
There’s no real concept, it’s just me waiting around for someone who will never turn up. I cut it with some footage of the drive between LA and Austin we did last March for SXSW, and maybe these bits could represent ‘The Man’ making his way to Margate or something, but really they’re just little windows into another world and another time. Drugs can be like that sometimes. “