You meet the nicest people on an ostrich.
You meet the nicest people on an ostrich.
If you’re in New York and looking for the kind of rock and roll thrill that can only be found while quietly looking at a dead guy’s junk, then go see Lou Reed’s archives. The New York Public Library recently acquired them from Laurie Anderson–she called Bobby to see if he was interested, but he pretended to not remember her–and will be exhibiting selection at the main branch. (The one from the beginning of Ghostbusters.) There are hundreds of libraries in the NYPL system, so having your event in the building with the lions is an honor. Congratulations to Laurie and the Reeds, and also once again to Phil and Jill.
What might you see?
Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter, the guitarists, get all the accolades for this one, but a Canadian fellow from Bombay named Prakash John is the bass player. Listen to the bass player.
“You look Jewish.”
“Oh, are you insulted by that? Do you think that looking Jewish is a bad thing? Because you do look rather Jewish.”
Please don’t be a dick, Lou Reed Dress.
“Do you have any Obetrol?”
I don’t think they make that any more.
“You look at me when I talk to you or I’ll punch you in your heeb nose.”
You are truly living up to your reputation, Lou Reed Dress.
“Did Iggy Pop Dress say anything about me?”
You’re the worst.
Immediately after this photo was taken, the woman in the middle’s dress got in a fight with Lester Bangs and then erased Robert Quine’s guitar solos from the master tapes.
You might remember (I Ain’t Gonna Play) Sun City, the indignantly parenthese’ed anti-Apartheid song written by Miami Steve and sung by just about everyone except Queen, but you don’t remember the video. If you don’t have the patience for the whole thing, just skip to 3:05.
Trust me: go to 3:05.
Once again, due to popular demand I imagined, TotD presents FUNTIME WITH SEARCH TERMS! Presented below are how some of you weird, shameful fuckers got here. As always, they are [sic] the lot of them: it’s funnier that way.
jerry garcia wearing a jacket of skull and roses design, jerry garcia wordpress theme Visual learners.
crazy old fuck, “lou reed” molested Been here before, but they were high and forgot the name. Understandable.
donna godchaux fucking bob That’s Mrs. Donna Jean to you, but I like your sex-positive feminist reading of the situation.
what really happened to bob weir, why does bob weir look so bad?, bob weir fat We talking about the same guy?
thoughts on the dead.com Confused by the google.
too da loo used in sentence You just did, sorta.
thoughts for the deceseased, dead musings, thought of the day on death Now those first two we can put squarely in the ‘close but no cigar’ category, but that last one is the worst idea for a calendar I’ve ever heard.
thoughts for a dead nice lady OH MY GOD, JERRY LEWIS READS MY BLOGGINGS.
mickey’s thoughts Murder and shrimp cocktail.
black dicks picks This guy did not find what he wanted here.
We’ll start with Lester; it’s the law. If you’re talking about Lou–no, if you’re talking about Lou, then it’s something else entirely, but if you’re writing about Lou Reed (even if a slangy way that the kids might refer to as “joshing about”) then you have to start with Lester. Good old St. Lester the Awful, bloated and wheezing and uncircumcised in every way just shluffed and shlumped on a bar stool next to Lou. They’d both been up for two days, maybe three, could be they just had a full night’s in the sack–problem is, once you start in on fucking with sleep patterns, it takes a real good long time to even it back out to anything resembling human.
Life gets confrontational. And New York, in the 70’s.
What our younger readers need to realize is that New York in the 1970’s was, quite figuratively, the worst place that had ever existed in the history of everything. Each resident of Manhattan was murdered on average 3.2 times a day. The city logo was a stylized rendering of a 14-year-old being pimped out by her Uncle. Before the morning newspapers were delivered, they were set on fire.
When Lester Bangs sat down next to Lou Reed in whatever piss-smelling bar it was all those years ago, it was like Ali-Frazier for assholes. They deserved each other
I can’t remember how I became aware of Lou Reed. It might have been in the dying spritz of CREEM magazine, which I bought a few times and puzzled over. They kept showing the most appalling pictures of a man who truly needed a fortuitous angle. I also couldn’t figure out why CREEM magazine kept asking whether people were happy to see them or had odd substances in his pocket. They repeated that joke quite a bit, with a heightening of substance’s silliness each time, and I never got the joke.
I was dumb as hell, but I craved attention, so when a child molester took me to the mall, I got my first Lou Reed album, New York. (This is true. He was a camp counselor who was grooming my brother and me to get up on us. He did not get up on us, as my mother put an end to the dalliance when she realized that my brother and I were awful. No one wanted to spend time with us; we didn’t even want to spend time with each other. Just dreadful little fucks.
(In terms of child molesting, I objectively won: there were numerous meals of pizza or other things, but almost definitely just pizza; there were cassette tapes, which were $6.99 for the new releases, so that and hot dogs from Nathan’s is your whole allowance, so a free tape? Hell, yeah, I’ll stick my hand in the lion’s mouth for a free tape at age twelve; AND, y’know…at camp, I was one of his favorites.
Don’t tell me boys don’t cry.
Do you have any plan for this?
Winging it, Chief.
Please get back to the subject.
I really don’t want to talk about child molesting anymore. Beyond my own limited experience–
I fucking hate you so fucking much you fuck.
–I would recommend some of the respected literature.
He was in a little mid-career resurgence with New York and settling in to his role as “poet laureate of New York except for when Dylan was living here, and not Queens, and not Brooklyn, and definitely not the Bronx, and DEFINITELY not Staten Island. Forget the bridge-and-tunnel crowd, either. Long Island’s got Billy Joel, and Jersey, well…
No, Lou was the poet laureate of, like, nine or ten buildings and a vague “the village, maybe, no that’s Sonic Youth” neighborhood that was definitely in Manhattan, but in the same Manhattan as the Ghostbusters place and Stark Tower. The EPCOT version for the boy from the suburbs.
I saw him, live, performing, just once. (I also saw him walking down the street in Lower Manhattan wearing a pair of burgundy sweatpants once; left him alone). A woman several rows in front of me stood, boogied.
At the fucking…
I’m not alone in this, right?
I’m not alone in finding it disturbing that you’ve held onto this for almost two decades now.
ORPHEUM THEATRE, BOSTON
Dorita – Sweet Jane – NYC Man – Dirty Blvd. – New Sensations – I’m Waiting For The Man – Vicious – Set The Twilight Reeling – Doin’ The Things That We Want To – Hang On To Your Emotions – I Love You Suzanne – Video Violence – Trade In – Egg Cream – Strawman – Riptide – Hooky Wooky – Sex With Your Parents – Walk On The Wild Side – Satellite Of Love … Ride Into The Sun (with supporting band “Luna“during his own set)
It took some digging to find that; there’s not a tape. (And certainly not multiple sources and endless permutations of those sources. laid out in an increasingly simple and intuitive way–I’m looking at you, Listentothedead.com!)
Of course, there didn’t really need to be a tape: Lou was bashing out the same songs most nights, which is what most bands do because they are not lunatics. This is his best stuff live, ever
Nor would anyone but a masochist even want to listen to the tape of that long-ago Orpheum show, when it snowed on the long, straight hair of the girl I was with. Her name was Heather and she believed that Al Green should be played during the evening times. She also liked to play Golden Earring. It worked, weirdly: swear to you.
Look at that set list. After Sweet Jane–and why the hell did the Dead not cover that one? Sheerly personal? In which case: bravo–there’s nothing even resembling a good song for an hour. The song Egg Cream does not contain a metaphor: it is about a fizzy drink. Guess what Sex With Your Parents is about. Guess.
An aside: the egg cream is the New York version of putting chili on spaghetti or covering perfectly good shrimp with fucking grits. The reason it’s a “local delicacy” is because no one else wants it. They’ve tried it. They’re remarkably easy to make. No one cares for them, primarily due to the taste.
I can’t defend him, not as a man or as a musician: the vast–no exaggerating–majority of his stuff is amateurish. His supposed “great” albums, Transformer and Berlin are unlistenable.
As a human? Lou Reed was always the biggest asshole in the room, and he was in the record business.
But he sounded good not giving a shit.
In honor of Lou Reed’s death, TotD reprints an old post:
The Velvet Underground thought the Dead were sexist and homophobic and probably imperialist and definitely goofy. Most of the thing can be understood nearly instantly by realizing that the VU was made up of over-educated New Yorkers, with all the connotation that “over-educated New Yorker” entails. Yeah, I went there.
Were the Dead homophobic? I’ve never read any stories about them acting untoward. Although–and I always thought it was odd for a band from San Francisco–there were never any stories about the Dead vis-a-vis gaiety at all.
From September of ’79 to March of ’83, Billy invoked the ancient rite of Prima Nocte over the backstage area, but luckily for all involved, Billy usually just wanted a rubdown and a tugger. And he would always share his coke: Billy was good like that.
The Dead were kind of hairy and macho. Sure, they had Donna in the group, but she was really just Keith’s old lady that Bobby was banging. She was incidental. No one ever made a mix tape called Donna Jams, nor has anyone ever sold a bumper sticker with a clever Donna-inspired pun.
“Who’s your favorite member of the Dead? Garcia? Phil?”
“No, man, it’s the chick who looks like Sacheen Littlefeather who caterwauls nine or ten times a show. She’s all the Dead I need!”
They did employ more women than most rock outfits of the time, and in creative positions: Candace Brightman and Betty Canter come to mind.
Apparently, the Dead had appeared on the same bill as the Velvet Underground and, of course, both bands brought their entire scenes with them and it turned into a full-fledged hip-off. The VU sat there in their leathers and sniffed condescendingly at the hairy baboons from San Francisco. (It was probably condescending: there was an enormous amount of sniffing going on.) Instant utter hatred.
Which is not surprising: a good hate requires a bit of reflection. Who can hate something alien properly? To truly hate, we need to recognize ourself in the person, place, or thing that has so struck our ire. Both bands played songs for 45 minutes while deliberately declining to make eye contact with anyone in the room. Both had a weird rich benefactor, a pretentious bass player, and a drummer with a vagina.
(That’s right: Mickey has a vagina. In the womb, he ate his twin sister and the ‘gina just showed up on his shoulder. It is fully-functioning and Mickey introduces it into love-making by asking if his partners would like to go to “ninth base.”)
The story also might be colored by the fact that, at the time, both bands were made up of raging drug addicts. The VU, notably, preferred to intravenously self-administer amphetamines constantly. Literally constantly: if they were not actively shooting up, they were helping you look for the money that they had stolen from you. The Velvet Underground liked to stay up for six days straight turning tricks and accusing each other of things. The Velvet Underground were just the worst fucking people in the world.
So, I’m not taking their word for it.
ADDENDUM: Rereading this post, I am ashamed to see that I have not linked to the essay that inspired it. My apologies to the author and to people in general and also ducks.