Stuff That Works: Thank you Lou Reed.
Lou Reed is gone.
Long Live Lou Reed.
I can't say I was a FAN of Lou's because frankly some of his music went right on by me. I did not get, nor did I give a second listen to Metal Machine Music. Some of his stuff was too dark or just beyond me. That being said, I have followed his career since I was a pup and some of his music will be forever showing up on my MP3 player or what ever music device we will have available to us in the next decade or two.
I was fortunate enough to experience Lou live on two occasions. The first was during the Rock n Roll Animal tour in 1974 or early '75. My friends and I went to "The Dome" at Grand Valley to have our minds blown by a wild man who took the stage late, looked like nobody in West Michigan, simulated shooting up heroin, and generally took the top of our heads off with his show and music.
The second time I saw him was much more sedate, but every bit as memorable. It was 8-9 years later and he played at Fountain Street Church. (I remember his drummer was the skinniest guy I had ever seen play the drums!) He was supporting "New Sensations" at the time, but played a nice mix of all of his music to date as I recall. I was able to observe him closely as the church was a relatively small venue and we had good seats.
Sincerity is a word that comes to mind about Lou. He loved doing what he did and he put his heart into it and really didn't give a shit if anyone liked him or if everyone adored him. I don't know how to best explain, but some bands/musicians are so caught up in themselves there is no room for any of the rest of us to be fans! To me, Lou had that mix of humble and brilliance that engages me like a beagle on a rabbit.
As a long time rider of motorcycles, "New Sensations" is probably my all time fave. Only another rider can really understand lyrics about loving "that GPZ so much, you know I could kiss her" and the feeling of just getting out on your bike and exploring and meeting who you meet.
I won't bore you with a list of Lou's music I love, suffice it to say it covers a pretty big swath of his multi-decade career. Who but Lou would have the juevos to do "I Wanna Be Black"?
This will give you an idea of his lyrics that most affected me. Click on the link to a piece on Sound Cloud that is my little tribute to Lou. Over a song called "Hosa" from Dj Jules, a producer from London, I took out takes from an interview Lou gave a day or two before he died combined with my reading of some of his lyrics.
How cool that Lou sobered up, became a master of Tai Chi and spent the final years of his life in the company of Laurie Anderson - another ground breaking musician in her own right. Laurie wrote this when Lou passed: “Lou was a tai chi master and spent his last days here being happy and dazzled by the beauty and power and softness of nature. He died on Sunday morning looking at the trees and doing the famous 21 form of tai chi with just his musician hands moving through the air.”
“Lou was a prince and a fighter and I know his songs of the pain and beauty in the world will fill many people with the incredible joy he felt for life. Long live the beauty that comes down and through and onto all of us,” she wrote.
Lou Reed is Dead - Long Live Lou Reed.