The Primitives 'The Ostrich/Sneaky Pete' 7" (1964)
In 1963, Lou Reed moved to New York City, and began working as an in-house songwriter for Pickwick Records. In 1964 he scored a minor hit with the single 'The Ostrich', a parody novelty song of popular "dance songs" such as "The Twist". His employers had felt the song had hit record potential, and arranged for a band to be assembled around Reed to promote the recording. The ad hoc group, called The Primitives, included musician John Cale. The Welsh Cale had recently moved to New York to study music and was playing with the composer La Monte Young's Theater of Eternal Music along with Tony Conrad. Cale and Conrad were both surprised to find that for "The Ostrich" Reed tuned each string of his guitar to the same note. This technique created a drone effect similar to that which Cale and Conrad were experimenting with in their avant-garde ensemble. By contrast, according to Cale's memoirs, Reed demonstrated little interest in Cale's musical pedigree and continually propositioned him for sex, which Cale grudgingly accepted. Disappointed with Reed's performance, Cale was nevertheless impressed by Reed's early repertoire, and a partnership began to evolve.