Lou Reed Is A Douche Bag

Assholes Anonymous

Lou Reed once said if he hadn’t heard rock and roll on the radio in his youth he wouldn’t have known there was intelligent life on the planet.  I, for one, would never have known there was intelligent life on the planet if I hadn’t heard Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground at age 16.  Frankly, I would have gone to the University of Michigan and become yet another shyster at hack.

However, the Great Magnet had other plans for me and so I like to joke my writing career, as wacky as it has been, is Lou Reed’s fault.  On drunken Lower East Side evening, I even instructed a friend to make sure the epitaph on my tombstone read: “I blame Lou Reed.”

Admittedly, Lou is sort of an odd hero to have.  Yes, Lou is a brilliant songwriter (when he wants to be.  For lazy bad song craft at it’s best see “Animal Language” from Sally Can’t Dance.) but is also known to be a raving asshole.  His interviews, not only the infamous Lester Bangs pieces (Now Let Us Praise Famous Death Dwarves) but almost every interview save the Bill Flanagan sit down for his book Written In My Soul, are contentious attitude fests.  Reed appears to enjoy verbally berating the unfortunate musical journalists who are assigned to get his thoughts on his career, new album, the Velvets etc. onto paper.  Of course, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.  From John Cale to Andy Warhol to Bob Quine to Mike Rathke, the New York streets are littered with those who will be happy to tell you just how much of a douche bag their former friend/collaborator/bandleader is.

Thus, when I came upon a jewcy.com blog entitled “Isn’t Lou Reed A Little Bit Tool Old To Be A Douchebag” I deemed it a must read.  It did not disappoint.

At this point it’s almost comical to read any interview with Lou Reed.  Jonathan Wingate of the Jewish Chronicle asks some really valid questions about Reed’s newly remastered version of Metal Machine Music:

Does Reed agree that Metal Machine Music is probably the antithesis of what most people would perceive to be beautiful music? “Oh my God, I hadn’t thought of that, so I must be in trouble,” Reed replies, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “I think it’s stunning and gorgeous. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Anyway, what is beautiful in the conventional sense?”

Well, I stutter, a lot of people would agree that Bach and Mozart created beautiful music.

Obviously different strokes for different folks, but then Reed replies:

“Don’t you think that’s a little old?” Reed responds. “For whom are they considered beautiful? You are talking about the narrowest palette available. I don’t listen to Bach and Mozart very much. I listen to rock.”

Lou, you’re collecting social security and you’re doing press for an album that I tried to act like I cared about in college to impress a girl who worked at a record store.  Maybe try to act a little bit more grateful that people care.

Of course, I’ve had the misfortune to see my all time hero in all his douche bag glory while behind the stick at Del Posto.  (Read all about it here).  Thus, I must say to jewcy.com’s Notorious Avi and to Jonathon Wingate of the Jewish Chronicle you might be the only two men in the world surprised to learn that Louis Allen Reed while only a year away from his 70th birthday is not only douche bag but a yenta.

And yes, despite all the bullshit (amputations anyone?) he’s still my hero. G-d help me.


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