Lou Reed

Blog #1

It is all so long ago now, when I first discovered Lou Reed. I think it was the Outsider Disco and Sister Ray at University, or maybe I discovered the albums independently. I forget, but perhaps it doesn’t matter. Outsider, our little group’s disco of choice, always ended with a full version of Sister Ray; So perverse were we that this was the highlight of the evening and everyone got up and cavorted around the floor to a track that was surely impossible to dance to. It was our anthem of the time and I pledged that if I were ever to get on Desert Island Discs I would choose Sister Ray. Time is running out for that opportunity, but if it does ever arise, I will fulfil my pledge.


In honesty White Light, White Heat is a wonderful album, but not an easy listen. But did I buy Velvet Underground & Nico before or after? As with all my records of the time, I bought it second hand and sadly it has always had a torn babana skin. From this album we have the more lyrical side of Reed, and my standout track Heroin, musical drug taking at its finest! And finally, Live at Max’s and my final favourite Velvets track, Sweet Jane. Many reading this will have been at my recent party where I had an opportunity to perform that song as the climax of our little set of music. Reed said that while the first Velvet Underground LP only sold 300,000 copies, everyone who bought it started a band.


I wish I could say that my only meeting with Lou Reed was a great one. It wasn’t a bad one, which is something given his reputation, but when I recorded an interview with him at The Sound Company I was not in my own studio and was struggling with unfamiliar software, settings and sound. Had I been in my own studio I , I am sure, have sat back and enjoyed the experience, but in the event I was worried, stressed and paranoid about getting everything right. Much to my surprise he was charming and pleasant and things went OK. Not long after Amanda and I went to see him at Hammersmith – it must have been 2005? His show was extraordinary, intense, challenging and brilliant.


Lou Reed was never a mass hero, never sold records on the scale of Led Zepplin or Bowie but he was hugely influential. He cared about music, not the music business, about art not money. He continued upsetting people pretty much up until the day he died and will never be forgotten by those he inspired.


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