Sunday, October 27, 2013

On Lou Reed

It always troubles me that after the death of a notable person, there is a flood of articles on social media about them offering countless variations on every aspect of their lives. Some are in honest tribute, yes, but more often than not these pieces are in an effort to capitalize on someone’s passing for website hits and SEO and whatnot. Despite my hesitation, and the fact I haven’t written on DRG for a while, I couldn’t not write something. (Even though it doesn’t matter to anyone other than myself.)
I’m not going to try and sum of the life or legacy of one of the most genius musicians of all time, because I think we all are well aware of his influence. Lou Reed was a rare creature in a sea of really talented people who created music that operated on a whole different wavelength. It wasn’t just great to listen to – his words ate away at something deep inside you that might not have even been aware was there. Everyone I’ve spoken to about Lou and the Velvet Underground always talks about this deep cosmic connection they felt like they forged with him in his music. Lou created music for the misfits, the outcasts, the kids who hated their classmates as much as they hated themselves, the struggling artists, the geniuses both unaware and painfully aware of their talents, the fuck-ups, the bums, the ones who lived for the nighttime, who wore their sunglasses at indoors, who created the scene. The ones who thirsted for more at every opportunity, and never, never settled. The best kinds of people.

The song “Heroin” changed my life. I was barely a teenager when I found a copy of The Velvet Underground & Nico, and when this song began to play I saw my future clearly, but in a way that wasn’t clear at all: “I don’t know just where I’m going / But I’m gonna try for the kingdom if I can.”

Here’s to Lou, who finally reached the kingdom.