Lou Reed Remembered By Other Rock Legends
Lou Reed died this past weekend; best known as the founder of The Velvet Underground, he transformed the rock landscape through, among other things, his lyrical deviance. For this he was beloved by other fearless rockers and observers, and we spoke with some particularly influential ones about Reed's legacy.
Timothy Norris Lou Reed in 2010 at Gibson Ampitheatre
"My parents turned me on to The Velvet Underground when I was a kid. It left an indelible mark; it was noisy, poetic and street. It was art. It was a statement and it was confrontational in terms of everything that was going on socially at the time. Lou Reed was the embodiment of everything that I thought was cool about the NY scene. I can't think of Johnny Thunders or Television without thinking of Lou Reed or The Velvet Underground. He was the godfather of avant-garde punk rock."
See also: Henry Rollins' tribute to Lou Reed
Bob Ezrin, producer of Berlin
"Lou was the first person in rock music to write the unadorned, elemental truth about the urban street side of life. His piercing and deeply evocative songs gave us permission to make rock music with an R rating for the first time.
He was a pure romantic who fell in exquisite love with his characters and painted them as beautiful, no matter how ugly or painful their lives might have seemed to the uninitiated. He was a true master American street storyteller -- easily as great as Bukowski or William Kennedy -- except that he could tell a life in three minutes and it would come with its own rocking soundtrack. Honestly, he was the purest and most groundbreaking artist I have ever had the honor of working with. His work inspired and pushed young artists for over four decades to search for their true voices and never to compromise. But for me, more than any of that, he was the dearest of friends. I already miss him desperately."
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, director of the documentary, Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart
"Lou was a man of monumental accomplishment and influence. The Velvet Underground would have been enough to have called him a legend. Lou's music is the music we hear in our heads every day. His lyrics are in our consciousnesses...He died with dignity, and turned something that you fear, death, into something that you accept. I'm amazed by him even in death. His strength was an inspiration to all those around him."
Lita Ford, The Runaways
"Lou Reed was '70s glam punk, like the Runaways. We covered his hit song, 'Rock N' Roll' and released it on The Runaways Live in Japan. It kicked major booty! I don't think I could have grown up without, ''Walk on the Wild Side'' -- "Plucked his eyebrows on the way/shaved his legs, then he was a she..." brilliant verse, touched me in a huge way. Lou is gone but never forgotten. He'll live forever in our rock n' roll hearts."
Mick Rock, who photographed Transformer's cover
"He had a tough uncompromising public image. And he certainly didn't suffer fools gladly. But if he was your friend, he was one of the sweetest people you could ever know. For me it's very painful to grasp that I shall never spend time with Lou again in this world. I loved him for over 40 years since the night I shot the cover to his Transformer album. The angels will shower him with kisses. For them it's A Perfect Day. For me it's one of the saddest days of my life."
Al Jourgensen, Ministry
"Rock n' Roll Animal, the live album is one of the greatest live albums out there. It was a huge influence on me. As well, Lou made "junky" cool, and that, obviously, had a major effect on me as a young musician."