Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lou Reed March 2, 1942 – October 27, 2013

The first time I remember hearing Lou Reed, I was a resident at the Chestnut Lodge School for Bad Little Bastards and Bastardettes. This would have been 1989/90. At this point I barely listened to anything that was outside of the hardcore/thrash zone...I was a snarky, know it all little shit and I had no tolerance for anything outside of my very small, insulated & isolated world.

I was taking a ride with a staff member, Dale, when he put in a Velvet Underground mixtape. Here I am, listening to this man spew forth poetry set to music...spilling pathos through the speakers. I was an outspoken youth...I remember Dale looking over at me and smiling. He said something to the effect of "This is real rebel music...for when you grow out of your punk faze." I am hearing heroin addiction, guns, transvestites. I am hearing the most beautiful telling of the most horrid tales. Sometime in the next week Dale brought me a copy of the Lou Reed/VU mixtape...and a lifelong appreciation and kinship for and with his music.

I never outgrew my "punk faze"...but I did make room for Lou Reed and his cracked sidewalk anthems in my repertoire. Lou Reed opened my world to Jim Carroll, Patti Smith and Tom Waits. He became my soundtrack...when my first daughter was conceived, it was The Beginning of a Great Adventure, when I was consuming ungodly amounts of coffee on the ghetto streets of Cleveland and writing my ass off I was taking a Walk on the Wild Side, when my youngest daughter was born Sweet Jane was on heavy rotation...and of course when I was shooting poison into my veins, Heroin played on as a testament to those who had built the junkie fraternity and survived.

Lou Reed's music will always be dear to me because Lou Reed was a real person. Lou Reed wrote with such naked honesty that sometimes I felt as if I was listening to someone's diary set to music...something that was not meant to be heard. Lou Reed bared his soul to the world. He was one of the last great outlaw american poets of his generation.

I am not saddened by his death. The man truly lived for his short 71 years...if anything I am glad for him. He deserves to rest well. Thank you for the music, Lou. Your rhythm will be missed.