Do you remember that time when Nico performed the Velvet Underground song “I’m Waiting for The Man” with Bauhaus? Post-Punk.com remembers. The version everyone knows was recorded at Fagin’s in Manchester on October 28, 1981 and later added as a CD bonus track to the live album Press the Eject and Give Me the Tape. However, there was a second live collaboration a week shy of a year later on the 22nd October 1982 in Salford.
Ian Astbury: “Nico just ended up in Manchester on heroin. Southern Death Cult supported Bauhaus at Salford University when she did ‘Waiting for the Man’ with them, and Pete Murphy had to hold her up, she was so smacked out!”
David J in his book Who Killed Mr. Moonlight? Bauhaus, Black Magick and Benediction, recounts the story of these infamous Nico collaborations:
Late one evening, the studio buzzer crackled into life, and when we enquired as to who was at the door, we heard the name Nico, uttered with a strong Teutonic accent. We thought it was a joke. ‘Yeah, sure,’ said Daniel, ‘and I’m Lou Reed!’ ‘No,’ the disembodied voice insisted, ‘it is really meeee, Nico!’ We conceded and buzzed her in, and it was indeed the Velvets’ chanteuse! Apparently, Peter had met up with her a few weeks prior, and had told her where we were recording. She had come armed with a large bottle of mescal, plus some limes and salt. She immediately demonstrated how to put those three elements together to pleasing effect. I had finished my takes, so she and I snuggled up in a corner, a strange chemical smell detectable under her heady perfume, and her long dark hair brushing my cheek as we entered into a whispered conversation about New York in the 60s. I had tentatively raised the subject and she, rather surprisingly, seemed to be in the mood to reminisce. She told me that her favourite Velvet Underground song was ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’, and how she didn’t really care for ‘Femme Fatale’—especially since Lou Reed would not pronounce ‘femme’ correctly.
“I’m Waiting For The Man”
She turned up after soundcheck and requested that she play a song with us. We were elated by this, and Daniel and I went back to the hotel to work out the Velvets’ ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’. I had to stick my bass in the bathroom sink to amplify it. The performance was recorded, and later released on our Covers EP. One thing that got my goat, though, was Peter insisting on singing ‘I’m waiting for my girl’ in response to Nico’s ‘man’. This really fucked with the meaning of the song—which is about a junkie waiting for his dealer—and frankly made me cringe. Still, it did not deter Nico from contacting us a few days later to request that Bauhaus perform as her backing band on her next tour—a prospect that we seriously considered for about half an hour, before deciding that it would never work.
North with Nico “Sky’s Gone Out” Tour:
Our UK tour progressed north, and our old friend Nico made herself manifest at Salford University. She was keen to sing with us again, so we dusted off ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’, and this time performed it in a more solid rendition than the version that had appeared on the Covers EP. After the gig, we repaired back to our hotel with the chanteuse in tow. As we carried on drinking in the dark, low ceilinged bar, a somewhat inebriated Nico began to trot out a list of her lovers. ‘Lou Reed luuuuurved me!’ she said. ‘Bob Dylan, he luuuuuuurved me! John Cale,Jackson Brown, Jim Morrison, they all luuuuuurved me!’ To which she added, ‘Peter is a very beautiful boy. Very beautiful.’ I believe she had something of a crush! David J. Haskins “Yes,’ I concurred, and we ordered some more drinks. She ended up sleeping in the beautiful boy’s room that night, although in different beds, according to the object of desire himself. It proved to be the last time we ever saw her.
(For more stories like, be sure to pick up David J’s Book Who Killed Mr. Moonlight? Bauhaus, Black Magick and Benediction
Peter Murphy: “Nico was gothic, but she was Mary Shelley gothic to everyone else’s Hammer horror film gothic. They both did Frankenstein, but Nico’s was real.”
h/t to Dangerous Minds