Everything dies, this, I unfortunately know too well. But when the world lost Lou Reed, it affected me more than I thought it would. I first discovered the Velvet Underground in about 1979. I took a history of rock and roll class at the local JC (yes, I was a serious nose to the grindstone student!) and the teacher, a hip cool looking old cat, played “Heroin” for the class. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The noise, the feedback, the song content! It was disgusting and terrible! Horrendous is the word that comes to mind. Who the f writes songs about drugs and shooting dope??!! It was amazing! This song shook me to the core, grabbed me by the shoulders, slapped me in the face and screamed, “wake up!” My life was forever changed.
Needless to say, I delved headfirst into the Velvets catalog and into Lou Reed, the man, and all of those articles in Creem magazine, mostly written by the legendary Lester Bangs. It was a musical awakening witnessed by more people than myself, hence, L.A.’s Paisley Underground scene with The Dream Syndicate, The Long Ryders, The Three O’Clock (my OC band, Copper 7, got to play with them a few shows), The Rain Parade, The Bangs etc. and more commercially successful bands such as The Modern Lovers, Big Star, Television, Violent Femmes, REM et al, all heavily influenced by the sounds of Lou and the Velvets. These were my musical formative years, 18-24 years old. I am in my 50’s (ugh) and still play in a band heavily influenced by Lou Reed and his music (especially the next release by Rockford). Lou wrote some of the songs to the soundtrack of my life. I will never forget listening to “Perfect Day” after spending a sunny summer afternoon enjoying a trip to the zoo with my then girlfriend, later to be wife. Unfortunately, I cannot yet bring myself to listen to that song again, maybe one day I will be strong enough. “I’m Waiting for my Man” had an unfortunate place in my life at one time…”I’ll Be Your Mirror”, “Satellite of Love”, “There She Goes Again”, “Sweet Jane”, “Pale Blue Eyes”, Vicious, “The Day John F. Kennedy Died”…the list can go on forever, folks. Lou touched a lot of hearts during his stay here. I hope future generations continue to discover his wide range of music (from doo-wop style, thanks A.C., to glam, to heavy metal machine noise to concepts to operatic readings of his hits) and appreciate his art and contributions.
As far as the painting, this only took a few hours to do. Again, sometimes the muse is in your corner. I painted it a couple days after his death. It was later used in a flyer and poster for a “Tribute to Lou Reed” night at Fingerprints Records that Rockford and several local Long Beach musicians played songs from his catalog in a tribute, held coincidentally, on the anniversary of JFK’s assassination. I used “The Bells” cover as a guide for Lou’s facial portrait. I painted him blue in tribute to the “Blue Mask” lp and the yellow and black in the background was an homage to the “Transformer” album cover colors. I put a flaming sacred heart on the bottom as a tribute to “Rock and Roll Heart”. These are probably some of the best eyes (pale blue) that I have painted. A comment was made that Lou sort of follows you around the room as you pass the painting. So Lou is sort of being your mirror. This is a painting that gets a lot of attention. I have had t-shirts made due to demand, a few prints/posters were made due to requests and there is even a Blue Reed surfboard out there! Lou, you are certainly a musical treasure to us all and I wish you peace. If anyone is interested in any prints or the original painting etc..not here to merch-whore myself, sorry, but you know how to reach me…folks, I could go on forever about Mr. Reed, but I am tired, I am weary. I could sleep for a thousand years… RIP Lou Reed.
an old school New York feel
oedipal vulnerable and blue collar visceral
An emotional song with Miya’s acrobatic and vulnerable vocals
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – May 1973 (Volume 4, Number 12)
From Robert Johnson to the Ramones – what a life!
one of the great top tens of the 2020
will mark their return to the road in early February, 2023 with a string of to-be-announced US arena dates
enjoyable and soulful romp
another full day of music
his weakest album to date
hoedown, snappy , country slappy