Lou Reed died and maybe the most surprising thing about that is despite his reported somewhere probable love of wheatgrass smoothies and three hours a day of t'ai chi is that he was still alive towards this end of 2013.
For us kids growing up in the UK's third world, Lou Reed was an escape artist, a personal heroic Houdini, more than just the epitome of the New York Superstar. His band, the Velvet Underground are simply the most influential band in the history of rocknroll. Most every kid in my neighborhood wanted to sound something like them. And thats maybe why so many great bands get built in the UK. That British Velvet filter leads to lots of the off kilter. Great.
I'd always thought of Lou Reed as way more of a writer and a working musician than a mick jagger media star thing. I can recall an interview an age ago around the time of his fantastic New York album where Lou blethered on and on about guitar sounds and probably relative density of different lumps of wood and wire and amplification and his utter dedication to that. Look I know that might be a bit like bumping into a real ale convention type when you just want a lager but the last time I met someone from CAMRA school I was told the number of beer belly men who have afternoon trysts with beer judge people in search of a perfect pint should not be underestimated. Oh wow. I'd never even thought of that. Beer groupies. So I inquired, that's the price of a Beer Belly Boys Bottom these days?
Anyway, with all that talk about wood and wires (and beer and bile) not for the first time Lou Reed really made me think about, not the music I was making, but how I made it and what I made it with. I began to think about sonic sounds and suddenly so many more of those songs I made sounded so much more wonderful than ever.
Lou, asked by one reporter how he stayed creative, he shot back: "How do I stay creative? I masturbate every day. OK?" A prerequisite for contributing to outsideleft too i'd say. 3 times over.
No I'm not going to link to a Lou Reed song here, I am going to link to The Midriff Bulge by Ron & Nancy that one probably owes the Velvets everything and more.