Angus MacLise Biography

Angus MacLise
Angus MacLise
  • Born March 14, 1938

Angus William MacLise was born on March 14, 1938 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the son of a book dealer. Despite some formal training as a percussionist, his playing style became so idiosyncratic that many assumed he was self-taught.
MacLise was a member of La Monte Young's Theatre of Eternal Music, with John Cale, Tony Conrad, Marian Zazeela and sometimes Terry Riley. He contributed to the early Fluxus newspaper VTre, edited by George Brecht, and was also an early member of the Velvet Underground, having been brought into the group by flatmate John Cale when they were living at 56 Ludlow Street in Manhattan. Lou Reed recruited his friend Sterling Morrison, whom he knew from Syracuse University, and the initial line-up of the Velvets consisted of Reed, Cale, Morrison and MacLise.
MacLise played bongos and hand drums during 1965 with the first incarnation of the Velvet Underground and he was also capable of playing tabla, cimbalom and tambourine. Although the band regularly extemporised soundtracks to underground films during this era, MacLise never officially recorded with them, and is often considered something of a shadowy, legendary figure in their history. Demos recorded during this period are included on the Peel Slowly and See box set, but MacLise plays on none of them because (according to John Cale) he did not appreciate the need to turn up on time.

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