A Few about Lou
It started out as a regular Sunday, and after spending a half-hour or so going through the news and some tunes and watching the latest videos posted on the No Dep site, I decided to make it a John Prine day. It’s nice to give Kyla and Kim time off from the Facebook posts one day a week, but I’ve learned that the masses can only take so much of new music. They like their Neil Young and Gram Parsons, the Earle and Emmylou, Gillian and Dave, but literally just only a few.
There’s a little posting trick we use sometimes, where you can set a timer to automate your status updates. And since there were nothing but blue skies in New York yesterday, I sent out “Hello In There” and followed it with “Dear Abby”. And then I went to visit with the Unitarians and drove over to Sal’s in Mamaroneck on the Long Island Sound, for some of the best pizza ever made.
I checked my email and saw a note from Kyla….Lou Reed had died. She had put up one of his videos in breaking the news to the No Dep followers, and asked if I could find more to follow up with. On the way back to my apartment I was thinking and wondering if anybody cared. At least anybody who hangs out here and identifies as a roots music fan.
It mattered to me a bit…my oldest son and I had seen a very late showing of the Berlin/Live in NYC film together at a festival a few years ago, and my first gig in the music biz was in the mail room of an RCA distributor. I got to mail out thousands of Lou Reed albums to radio stations that would never play them, on that thin, cheap Dynaflex vinyl that they used back then. And once met him at the Plaza for lunch along with the Bay City Rollers. He was on Arista then…home to Barry Manilow and Melissa Manchester. My impression at the time was…he’s just a guy in a leather jacket.
Between Kyla and I, we posted five Lou videos yesterday. You might have thought it was Leonard Cohen who died, not Lou. The “likes” were like nothing I’ve ever seen before…”See That My Grave Is Kept Clean” got 539; “Perfect Day”, “Pale Blue Eyes” and a duet with his wife, Laurie Anderson each went well over 300. “Walk On The Wild Side” only 213…roots people may have loved Lou, but not when he put on eyeliner and a dress and talked about boys.
All in all, the comments left were beautiful and many of us in the community got a chance to dig back in the memory bank to when all that glittered was gold. I was thinking…how the hell could Iggy still be alive?
This morning on the interwebs, the bullshit began to flow. Seems Lou and Woodstock were the same: everyone was there and everyone loved him. Really? Where the hell were you when it came to buying his albums? With the exception of a couple, they all suffered dismal sales figures. He was God in NYC and across the Atlantic…everything to the left of the five boroughs (except maybe Detroit) he was just…meh. And I’ve loved the hero worship of the Velvet Underground too…much more popular in death than in life. How come nobody says that they were influenced by the Blues Magoos?
“The first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 copies in the first five years,” producer Brian Eno once said. “I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band!
Here’s what I hate when people die….f..king Tweets.
“A musician, artist and trailblazer who played by his own rules.” – Paul Stanley of KISS. (I was taken to task for including this, as Reed worked with KISS. EE)
“Rest in peace. Music lives forever.” – Rapper LL Cool J.
“Very sad to hear the news of Lou Reed’s passing. Another rocknroll legend has left us mere mortals behind. Thanks for the inspiration, Lou.” – “Glee” star Darren Criss.
I’m sorry….that was the sound of me punching my fist through the wall.
“R.I.P. Lou Reed. Just met at the GQ Awards. The music of my generation. Still Relevant!” – Actor Samuel L. Jackson.
I’m throwing out my Kangol.
“Lou Reed RIP – always inspired by him – terrible news – only knew him through his art -a great – a singular poet -” – Actor John Cusack.
“‘Where was I when I heard Lou Reed died? A pumpkin patch in Moorpark.” – Actor-comedian Patton Oswalt.
Do you know how sad this makes me?
Here you go…Lou’s first recorded vocal:
“The Syracuse University family learned today of the passing of one of its own, musical pioneer Lou Reed, an honors graduate of the class of ’64 whom we honored just a few years ago with SU’s highest alumni recognition, the Arents Award. A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, Lou’s artistic daring reflects the boundary breaking determination that characterizes the cultural contributions of our most accomplished alumni. His generosity in establishing the Lou Reed/Delmore Schwartz scholarship to honor his SU faculty mentor and support aspiring creative writers echoes the SU ethos of making a difference in the lives of others. While the SU community mourns his loss, we celebrate his poetic soul and innovative spirit.”
My Favorite Lou Reed song…with the VU: