Tank Riot podcast on Lou Reed


I love those guys.

I’ll get around to listening to it in a couple days. If they actually did take the time to discuss him properly they will have mentioned what an absolute asshole he was on more than a few occasions. I’m hoping for at least one published memoriam that remembers Lou as he was and isn’t a bootlicking publicity article.

Right. In light of that, I actually preferred the treatment of the mainstream press’ short obits: “You’ve heard “Take A Walk On The Wild Side,” but his influence was far greater. [insert career highlights] Lou Reed 19xx-2013.”

I guess I’m a fan, but not rabidly so. I dig “the hits” of his solo stuff and the Velvets. His New York album came out when I was a teen; I really liked it, and found Songs for Drella pretty interesting. So I give the man his due as an artist. But yeah, there’s no getting around the fact that he was a huge jerk.

However, I see it as disillusionment i.e. Sartre’s idea of “hell is other people” rather than strictly ego. I’m thinking specifically of the female fan interviewed in Please Kill Me whom he immediately patronized in front of the group, then in a private moment creepily proposed that she let him shit in her mouth. Now, you’ve gotta be a total asshole to do something like that, but it immediately placed an impenetrable wall between them, which I think could’ve been his real intent. Plus, I can’t blame him that his faith in humanity was shot considering that his own parents shipped him off to electroshock therapy for being a queer teen, just to cite one known fact. It is easy to imagine how this might quite literally condition a person to not show any sensitivity and also perhaps drive one to lash out pre-emptively. Given this, after the thousandth brainless groupie throws themselves at you, I think it would be pretty easy to no longer discriminate friend from foe and become an IRL troll just to save one’s own sanity.

tl;dr to my mind, being an asshole because you think you’re better than everyone is different than being one so people will leave you alone. I’m certainly not qualified to speak for Reed nor to excuse him, but I do consider these possibilities against a man who could show great sensitivity as an artist.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.