George Goner, for The Haunted Cabaret
1942 - 2013
On Facebook, announcing our Haunted Cabaret tribute, I referred to Lou Reed as a musical innovator, Rock and Roll Animal, and personification of New York City Cool. I stand by every word.
On Facebook, announcing our Haunted Cabaret tribute, I referred to Lou Reed as a musical innovator, Rock and Roll Animal, and personification of New York City Cool. I stand by every word. Reed was a founding member of the Velvet Underground, a band that prided itself on creating pessimistic, brooding music in direct contrast to the late '60s radio fluff aging hippies remember so fondly. Rather than worry about good vibrations, VU tunes concerned themselves with drug addiction, hopelessness, and existential despair. Atonal, feedback-drenched songs like "Heroin", "Sweet Jane", and "All Tomorrow's Parties" were a far cry from The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper". As a member of Velvet Underground, and later on his own, Reed laid the groundwork for post-punk bands like Sonic Youth, and for the true "noise" acts that followed. His greatest influence on noise rock, "Metal Machine Music," is an all-synthesizer composition considered a joke by some listeners, and a musical statement by others. Either way, its influence is undeniable.
Listen to the music. If you've never heard Lou Reed or the Velvet Underground before, you're in for a rare treat. If you have, it's time to realize once again just how alive and new these songs sound, like they were recorded only yesterday. So many great songs. And, in "Walk on the Wild Side", there is a moment that sums up a musical career that has now come to an end: one syllable- "Hah!" Just letting the skeptics know that Lou Reed created a lifetime of musical art on his own terms, and that if you choose to disagree, the joke is on you.