It’s the beginning of a Lou Age. Some questions remain in the balance following the death of Lou Reed that, following a respectful period of mourning, perhaps Rock Town Hall is best qualified to answer.
- If his album with Metallica is the last batch of new recordings to have been released does that mean that that album was, definitively, the final word on how Lou Reed was meant to sound, or will the ghost of Lou emerge to proclaim that each new set of posthumous recordings that emerge is actually how his music was meant to sound?
- Who will play Lou in the biopic? Assuming that a dearth of opportunities for badly glued-on facial hair will keep Oliver Stone out of consideration as director, who should direct this film?
- Who do you predict will be the least-appropriate musician to appear in a sure-to-be-star-studded tribute to Lou held at Madison Square Garden or the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame? What song will said artist butcher or, shockingly, make work? What song will a hip-hop artist cover? What song will a contemporary country artist cover? Will Arcade Fire back Bowie or Springsteen?
- Will we ever get the real story on Reed’s teenage or post-Velvets shock treatment? Is that a rock myth along the lines of Dylan’s motorcycle crash and ZZ Top performing with buzzards and buffalo on stage?
I look forward to your answers.
I’m not enough of a Lou-dude to answer many of these, but I *do* know that Jewel will emerge from semi-retirement to perform an execrable version of “Walk On the Wild Side” at that tribute concert.
The tribute will find a list of hip hop stars rapping over a medley of Lou Reed hits followed by “Street Hassle, Lou Reed the original gangsta!” tribute release featuring a production where Metal Machine Music is deconstructed and beats added while the Lou (raps duets) from the grave with an “all star” line-up from the rap community.
I don’t think Lulu was the final word on how Lou was meant to sound. Every Lou album’s different, even though from New York on out, they may have seemed a bit the same on the surface (I was never a huge fan of Magic and Loss or Set the Twilight Reeling, but I thought Ecstasy was incredible). Any dude with a track record of the VU albums, Transformer, Berlin, Metal Machine Music, Coney Island Baby, Take No Prisoners, Legendary Hearts, New Sensations, etc., can’t be pinned down to one definitive groove, I don’t think. That said, being the huge Lou fan I am, I have never bothered to listen to Lulu except for the samples on Amazon, and frankly, it’s not the way I’d choose for anyone to remember Lou.
Who could play Lou but Lou? I don’t think he’s playable. Only a real documentary will suffice.
Least appropriate musician to do a tribute would be Jay-Z. He’ll just be lazy and butcher “Walk on the Wild Side” because it’d be easy to do. Maybe Mark Wahlberg can duet with him.
As far as I know, Lou’s shock treatment began and ended before he headed off to Syracuse University. I have never hjeard of any post-Velvets shock treatments, only that Lou recorded “Kill Your Sons,” a tune about the experience for the Sally Can’t Dance album that was written years prior.
Lou’s sexuality will forever remain a mystery, I think. Married thrice, but with detours along the way, the most notable being his boyfriend Rachel in the mid-’70s. I was always interested in hearing more about his thoughts on such things, but even though he made a lot of that “public” at times (how many damned songs for Sylvia Morales did he wind up recording in the early ’80s?), he was simultaneously very private about it all.
While not contemporary country, Ralph Stanley did a version of White Light/White Heat, although I doubt he would be brought out in such a tribute. I then fear someone would think adding Kid Rock to sing along would be a good idea.
Oh man, Kid Rock would suck, yet be believable.
Like petesecrutz’s Kid Rock suggestion, I can envision Jay-Z rapping “Walk on the Wild Side.” Even more likely, I fear Kanye will return the favor of Lou’s sterling review of Yeezus and butcher something like “Dirty Boulevard.”
I could see David Bowie since he was certainly influenced by Bowie. Or if they’re still around, Mott the Hoople. Rap I’d see Country I could envision ZZ Top doing “Saved by Rock and Roll” or what ever the song title is.
I don’t think they’d use country singer Elizabeth Cook either, who tried to make a crossover hit out of Sunday Morning (and did a full boat video) a few years back.
I think they’d trot out Beyonce to do this.
I predict a Grammy death scroll with a soundtrack of “Perfect Day,” as sung by Elvis Costello, Josh Groban and Susan Boyle.
Ouch…NostraOats might just be correct.
Let’s not forget the Scorsese documentary narrated by Anthony Bourdain with appearance from Henry Rollins, Dave Grohl, Flea and all the other usual sessiondoc players.
Brilliant! The Bourdain part, especially.
Lou was true to the way he was meant to sound right to the end
Sorry for the mobile link. I’m en route to New York.
I read the Laurie Anderson remembrance, which was very touching even though it described a Lou which I did not recognize. But I found myself doubting whether I believed her when she claimed that when she met Reed in 1992, she was surprised he didn’t have an English accent because she thought the Velvet Underground were an English group. C’mon, google her and you’ll find images of her chatting out with Warhol. She had been a NY scenester since the early 80’s at least. Am I totally cynical or is this another mythmaking fiction?
I support your cynicism.
1. Lulu could have used an editor, but I heard lots of good stuff on that album. I don’t have a preconceived notion of how Metallica was meant to sound, so it sounded fresh to me. I thought using the Lulu story was a cool idea, but I don’t automatically recoil from that kind of literary influence. I thought it was better than The Raven
2. Eric Bogosian
3. I think they should get Randy Newman to sing I Wanna Be Black.
4. I recommend Victor Bockris’ biography. I don’t really remember what he said about the electroshock, but he’s very good on getting inside the New York underground scene, and his take on Reed’s sexuality was very interesting.
BigSteve, I can’t agree with you about Loutallica, the only editor that would’ve helped that misbegotten mess was one who held his finger on the mute button. But on the other hand, we are of one mind about Eric Bogosian, exactly the first person who came to my mind. On that, we reach. He could do the many lives of Lou Reed as one of his one-man shows.
I’d like to see Sam Rockwell get the call to play Lou.
Some video game is using Perfect Day in it’s TV commercial. It’s funny because it’s two not-real singers doing monotone singing of the song, but the singing is probably still better than Lou!