Sep 232016

Few personalities — particularly as one as protean and occasionally as brilliant as Reed’s — can be summed up in two syllables. But if you were to do a word cloud of memories of Reed in the various volumes that have been published on his life, the word asshole would turn up in surprisingly large type.

Maybe you’ve heard of this Lou Reed character? This article is worth a read, even if you think you’ve heard it all before. (And you probably have.)

One aspect of many of even Reed’s classic-era albums that doesn’t get talked about enough is the sonic inconsistency. It’s a subtle thing, but most decent rock albums have a sonic palette that forms the core of the work. It’s not that every song must be orchestrated identically, but a good album will generally sound like it was recorded a certain way in a certain universe. Reed’s own lack of sophistication and the B-level producers he used over most of his career combined to make many of his records sound internally random, and jarring. And even fans can point to few nuanced compositions to make the search worthwhile. Along the way he sold “Walk on the Wild Side” for a TV commercial for the Honda’s short-lived line of scooters; Reed appeared at the end of it, to say, “Hey — don’t settle for walkin’!”

Nov 242014

Next to the twin guitar heroics of Television‘s “Marquee Moon,” the Lou Reed Rock ‘n Roll Animal version of “Sweet Jane” is the twin-guitar part I would be most interested in experiencing if I attended a Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy Camp. This clip of Dean Ween and his group doing a take on that version could be used for the advertisement for this cool Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy Camp—as opposed to actual ones I’ve seen, where you get a taste of rock stardom under the tutelage of the likes of the guys in Styx and REO Speedwagon whose names you can’t identify.

If you could attend Cool Rock ‘n Roll Fantasy Camp, what would be your event-capping experience?

Apr 102014

Yesterday, on the eve of KISS‘ induction into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, I learned that Lou Reed cowrote a song for the band’s Bob Ezrin-produced concept album, The Elder. Certainly, upon the completion of this recording, Lou must have remarked that KISS and his Berlin producer captured his music the way it was meant to sound!

Mar 072014
You think this is disturbing?

You think this is disturbing?

Back in the fall when Lou Reed died I read any number of the tributes to him. I’ve written before about how I’ll take John Cale’s post VU career over Lou’s by a wide wide margin but I confess to falling prey to the hype.

I gave up on solo Lou after 1992’s Magic & Loss. I realized I hadn’t enjoyed his last several before that, was buying them out of habit. Since then I picked up the off reissue of older stuff that I didn’t have on CD or for some bonus stuff but none of his new material (The Raven? Metallica? Tai-chi?).

Then he died and I read all about his genius. Had I been wrong? Had I been missing out?

I decided to give Lou a second chance via those cheap Original Album Classic sets that the record labels have been putting out in recent years, you know the ones, 5 albums that you can pick up for about $15 via Amazon resellers. There are 4 such Reed sets and I picked up three of them, duplicating more than a few albums in my collections but filling in enough holes and getting some post-Magic & Loss stuff to make it worthwhile for the price—or so I figured. (I only picked up 3 sets because the fourth for some reason was going for $40, more than I wanted to invest.)

Over the last few months, I’ve listened to Lou Reed, Transformer, Berlin, Sally Can’t Dance, Coney Island Baby, Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal, Rock ‘n’ Roll Heart, Street Hassle, The Bells, Growing Up In Public, New York, Songs For Drella, Magic & Loss, Set The Twilight Reeling, and Ecstasy.

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