Monday, October 28, 2013

R.I.P.: Lou Reed, 1942-2013

So Lou Reed died yesterday. Most of us, myself certainly included, are probably amazed that he didn't fizzle out in a swirl of heroin, speed, and various other bad life decisions sometime around 1976. Nevertheless, the old coot was responsible in his youth for laying the groundwork for virtually everything that's been interesting in rock since the '60s: sleaze, celebration of the low bottom end of life, using distortion and tone as highlights and not mistakes on rock records, and in general a "I don't give a fuck, and neither should you" attitude that Elvis hinted at but never, ever, truly embodied.

Bangs said everything worth saying about the man back in that slew of alternately vicious and humorous interviews-cum-verbal-duels from '72-'76. All I'll add is that Reed made a slew of records, some of them very bad but many of them some of the best music ever put to vinyl, and hinted to a lot of us that there's more to life than whatever pile of misery we're currently putting up with.

Without further ado, here's a youtube playlist of my fave-rave Lou Reed/Velvets tunes, in no particular order. Maybe it's different from your fave-rave list. Good night and God bless, you cranky old man.

*edit, 11.25.13: And, to fully and finally puncture the "oh he's dead so let's absolve him of his duties to the rest of humanity" miasma that hangs over every Great Dead Man, check out this interview, where 'Ole Lew does his darndest to destroy and utterly mortify some poor Swedish guy who just wanted to get a few minutes of facetime for Godknowswhat. Really, Lou-you were in your 60s, why did you have to be such a slimy shit to someone who so clearly loved your work? But of course, asking that question answers it: Because you're still-deep down in your "I'm a New YAWWWWK legend" soul, and no matter how long you've been/were married to Laurie Anderson-a flaming asshole who only lived to make living humans miserable. Because, fundamentally, that's what most good art is, is it not? That is, destroying yourself and the living, breathing humans around you so that you can construct brilliant, undying synapses or snapshots of these dying/murdered humans in song/cinema/whatever. Not for nothing, Lou, but you shoulda died a long, long time ago . Oh well, whatever, nevermind(oh hey, Kurt Cobain, we love you too!).

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