I think there must be something wrong with me. After listening to the samples of The Velvet Underground and Nico on Amazon, I can honestly say that I think The Monkees rock harder and kick more a** than Andy Warhol's pet band could ever do.
Okay, I did notice some squeaky rhythmic noises here and there, indicating unusual instrumentation and/or effects, and some shades of garage rock... but I was surprised at how soft and folksy it sounded. After hearing people shout to the heavens about how influential it is on punk, alternative, and indie, I was expecting something a lot freakier and abrasive. Like John Lennon's "Cold Turkey" or something like that.
I can kind of see how it'd influential on some weirder artsy rock bands, but I don't see how it could've influenced punk. Let me tell you, I've listened to some pretty crazy s*** out there, like X (the Australian band) and Crass. That stuff has hard-edged guitar-playing and manic vocals, as does most early punk. I can see somebody like Blues Magoos or even The Ohio Express influencing punk, but not these guys. Even if some of the songs do sound like a garage band that was told to turn down its amps. Maybe they influenced post-punk?
I don't mean to say that I wasn't impressed- not at all! I mean, heck, there was definitely some interesting sounds in those 30-second clips, and since it's called essential listening so often, I'll grab a copy one day. I just don't think I'll be thinking about it if I want to write a song that scares people. But what do I know? I'm a soft-hearted Christian hippie.
I was expecting something more like Iggy and the Stooges, as it turns out.