Last night and into today, I’ve been thinking of ways to express my love for Lou Reed, the now-deceased frontman for the Velvet Underground, my favorite band of all-time. I could talk about the first time I listened to The Velvet Underground and Nico in my car during high school, and how terrified I was when “Heroin” invaded my mind and still hasn’t left. Or when I was supposed to see Reed play a solo show in 2006, but he cancelled the date due to illness. Which reminds me of the time I met, at a gallery exhibition for his book of photos that I don’t believe I ever opened, but hey, I wanted to be able to say I met Lou Reed and shook his surprisingly clammy hands.
And then I remembered something: Lou Reed would’ve f*cking hated those ideas. That some asshole like me, writing into the abyss of the Internet, thinks I knew him, that I understood his art as well as he did. We tend to forget the messy stuff when a famous person dies, but whenever Reed spoke to an interviewer, he was kind of a dick. That’s probably the thing he’s second most well known for, Being a Crank, right after “Walk on the Wild Side” and followed by “Perfect Day.” (“Velvet Underground singer” is somewhere in the mid-teens.) And nothing would have made him more cranky than thousands, millions of wasted words spent fawning over a man who was simply making his art; no, he would have preferred those useless letters be better spent elsewhere, or ideally, not used at all. He didn’t write “Lady Godiva’s Operation” because he clamored for “10 Obscure Lou Reed Songs That Everyone Should Know”; he wrote them because he felt that they, in all their darkly depraved ugliness, needed to be written. If he wasn’t going to do it, who else would? Or that’s at least what this one generalizing asshole thinks.
The greatest way I can honor Lou is by saying nothing more, and letting his music do the talking for me.
(via Getty Image)