Glenn o’brien remembers lou reed

Lou_Reed_avedon-largeHey Lou, it’s me. “I wished I talked to you more when you were alive…”

You wrote that to Andy when he bought it. Well, fucking ditto.

I just wanted to say that you went out well. You went out on top. And the whole fucking thing…your um, oeuvre, is like, scintillating and mind-boggling and thrilling and scary. Thrills and chills, fear and loathing, and then, just when we least expected it, you pulled out a big fat heart.

I first saw Lou Reed when I was in college. It had to be the summer of ’67 because the first Velvet Underground album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, had come out in March.  The one with the Warhol peel-able banana on the inside of the LP. I had seen it in the record store. I think I didn’t have enough money to buy the album right off but I knew that the band was involved with Andy Warhol and they looked more interesting than anybody I’d ever seen before, and that was good enough for me.  There was Andy on the back cover, staring through a tambourine.  Lou was the guitar player in wraparound shades and a cop hairdo holding a guitar with his fingers bent in a weird posture, possibly resulting from taking a pill.

So I went to see The Velvets play at La Cave, a folk club on the East side of Cleveland, Ohio. I had gone there numerous times to see gentle folkies like Bob Gibson, Tom Rush, Judy Collins, and Ian & Sylvia, but I was especially psyched to see the weird band managed by Andy Warhol that had a songs called “Heroin,” “The Black Angel’s Death Song,” and “All Tomorrow’s Parties.” With the incredibly beautiful German singer who was in La Dolce Vita. Nico!


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by pp.