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.