Remembering Lou Reed

It’s been a few weeks since the passing of Lou Reed, and I’ve been meaning to write a bit about what he meant to me. When I think of Lou, and VU, I think about …

> Finding an eight-track tape in a bargain bin at Howard Brothers’ department store in Jefferson City, TN when I was 13 (or 14)? It was the last gasp of the eight-track world, and loads of good stuff was to be had for cheap. But the best thing I scored that day was a tan-colored tape with a black and white picture of two men in gas masks on the front. It was labeled The Velvet Underground: Archetypes, but it was actually White Light/White Heat, the second Velvets album. That was my first taste of Lou and VU, and it was extremely strange. My friend John and I played it over and over again, particularly “Sister Ray” and “The Gift” (where you could pan the stereo all the way to the right and just hear John Cale’s dead-pan reading of the story of poor Waldo Jeffers, pan it to the right and you could hear the band at their experimental-rock weirdest).

> Learning Lou’s melody guitar part to “Ride into the Sun” from Another VU  so we could play it at a variety show over at West High School in Morristown; I was 17. Definitely a highlight of my young life when the solo came and John stomped on his fuzz box and that crappy Fender Mustang of his blasted through that old Peavey amp.

> Bonding with Robert Alfonso, who’d soon become my best friend and songwriting compadre, over covers of “Femme Fatale,” “Sunday Morning,” and “Pale Blue Eyes,” and hearing Berlin (especially “The Kids”) for the first time in the kitchen of his tiny “house” on Earnest Street in Johnson City. I was 19.

… and, EVERY time I played “Sweet Jane”/”Rock and Roll” with RRSL. Too many times to count, too much fun to ever forget.

Thank you, Mr. Reed. Thank you for everything!


You can find a good bio/obit here on the Rolling Stone site, if you are looking for more info on Lou Reed and his music.


About russellwriter

Rob Russell is a dad, husband, writer, musician, educator, comic book reader, bad solderer, pop culture junky, trivia buff and student of everything cool and uncool. His favorite records are Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde and, currently, The Best of Bobbie Gentry: The Capitol Years. His favorite comic books are Kurt Busiek's Astro City and Neil Gaiman's Sandman. His favorite literary novels are Gabrial Garcia Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude and William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying. His favorite genre novels are John Scalzi's Red Shirts, M.R. Carrey's The Girl with All the Gifts, and Dan Simmons' Drood. His favorite movie is Goodfellas. His favorite hobby, besides everything, is writing about himself and his favorite things in the third person.

Posted on November 8, 2013, in Great Rockers, Rock and Roll, The Singer Not the Song and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: