Friday, November 1, 2013

Blue Masks & Sister Ray: Missing Lou Reed

Literal death is something I loathe to write about. It's one of those things that overwhelms the bigger picture with big, broad strokes of sadness and loss. Yet, here I am writing about this very thing, since one of my biggest art heroes has passed away. Getting the news about Lou Reed hit harder than I expected. Other artists have passed earlier this year. Artists that I like and admire, but none were, to paraphrase Rodney Bingenheimer, godhead status. Lou Reed was and forever is, godhead status.

Growing up a complete fiend for anything Warhol and Factory related, it was inevitable that my interest would cross into Velvet Underground territory. Solo career wise, Nico was the one that entranced me first, but then Lou Reed's “New York” album came into my life and it was over.

One of the things I love about Lou's work is that even the weakest material still has something interesting and good about it. He managed to avoid the 80's pap-pop-sheen, a feat that even his occasional collaborator David Bowie did not. (Don't get me wrong, I adore Bowie, but the “Tonight” album alone is forever more cringe inducing than even a silly Lou song, like “Little Red Joystick” ever was.)

He angered interviewers, mystified fans and never sold out. Not to the rock critical elite, not to his devotees, not to anyone. As much as both Reed and Metallica fans bagged on their album, “Lulu,” it was the perfect living example of why that cat was brilliant. It's a great album with teeth and even better, its mere existence angered and upset both close-minded metal fans and even more uptight, bourgeoisie Lou Reed fans. Perfect.

Again, it leads up to my favorite adage ever. Don't give the people what they want. Give them what they deserve and Lou always gave us what we deserved.

Lou Reed was a musical maverick whose work changed the game and in its course, invented a whole new one. From “Do the Ostrich” all the way to “Lulu,” his body of work has a pulse and a soul from a man that wrote about the human condition and his own experiences with it. Lou Reed, you will always be missed in this household. 



  1. Wonderful Heather. Thank you for this.

  2. Reed was gem Heather, this is a nice piece!

  3. Lovely tribute, Heather. The man is an absolute legend and always will be.