Lou Reed Speaks
Had to see Jesca Hoop, scheduled to appear on a live radio broadcast at noon. First, curiosity brought me to the keynote speech given this year by Lou Reed. He was appearing in conjunction with a screening of Julian Schnabel’s "Lou Reed’s Berlin", which documents a recent performance of the 1973 album. Schnabel considers it “the most romantic record ever made.”
In a Q & A conversational format, Lou spoke with Hal Willner (music producer), bouncing from the root theory behind his early rock, to movies on ipods. A loosely connected, or disconnected, stream of personal insights on culture, music, and technology.
On his early music: strip rock of it’s R&B, and blues. That, the playing of blues and R&B was being done, and being done better by real blues and R&B guys. He couldn’t duplicate it, or even come close. Rather than infuse rock with strains of R&B riffs they couldn’t play. Get rid of it altogether, thus theoretically creating a pure form of rock and roll. Punk.
On MP3s and new technology: “technology is taking us backwards, making it easier to make things worse. A lot available and it sounds bad”
Who he’s listening to: Dr. Dog, Jane as Police Woman (a bit of a surprise)
Instruments he wished he played: Saxophone and Mini Moog Voyager, "it’s like God shows up with 9,000 new sounds".
Advice to new artists: Keep the publishing! (which was basically dismissed as impossible by a later speaker, well, impossible if you wanted to be recorded or included on a movie soundtrack)
On songwriting: Don’t know how or why it works. If he did he would have written “Son of Wild Side”.
I had no expectations. It was a fun little romp through the mind of Lou Reed. He was articulate, self-deprecating, and very clear with himself about who he is.
On to some music...