I wrote this in 2004. Didn’t really have my heart in this one. May be why it never ran. I had a great time that night mainly because I interviewed Lou Reed for the first time, albeit for only 30 seconds,. I’d been terrified about this possibility ever since listening to a tape of him berating a disc jockey. I knew he hated journalists and if he snarled at me it would have fucked me up. No, it’s not an honor when Lou Reed snarls at you or hangs up on you. You’re cursed after that. Read More
What gave Lou Reed volcanic power over four decades of rock and roll wasn’t his musical talent – in traditional realms like melody, singing and guitar-playing, he scarcely had any – so much as his forthrightness and courage. Read More
I want to talk about Lou Reed, not because I knew him or because my peripheral memories of him and his music are any more important than anyone else’s, but because he was my tragically flawed hero and I loved him like a close relation even though I didn’t know him. He always did exactly what he wanted in his music and didn’t care if people liked it or not and so in service to him I’m going to do what I want.
“It’s hard having heroes,” Lester Bangs, Reed’s greatest critic, once wrote. “It’s the hardest thing in the world.” I take this to mean that everyone’s heroes always end up human in the end, subject to all of life’s great failures. A lot of Lou Reed’s music was about these failures, but also the possibility of love among the squalor. I offer the following recollections more or less as evidence of my own failure in reckoning with his life and dealing with his passing.
News of Lou Reed’s death arrived on the Bowery via push notification.
Just before 3pm Sunday at DBGB, the trendy Daniel Boulud brasserie winkingly named for the departed CBGB club, smartphones blinked awake across the dining room, and there it was. Breaking news from the New York Times app.
Minutes later, the restaurant played “Perfect Day” on its sound system. My friends and I finished lunch and walked one block up to the old CBGB storefront to see how the East Village would react to the moment. Read More