Sunday, October 27, 2013

RIP Lou Reed

My sister asked me what I wanted as a 21st birthday present. I asked for a CD by a band that I'd heard about, but not heard that much of, the Velvet Underground. She later handed me money. "I don't know who that is, so here's the money for it. I'll let you find it." I bought a best-of collection at a local Media Play. By the time that the band's boxset came out in 1995, I was ready to devour the whole collection. And I did. The boxset, combined with Guided by Voices, was the soundtrack to the first years of my music writing, and photography.

In 2001, I went to New York City to photograph a band. It turned out that Moe Tucker, the Velvets' distinctive drummer, was playing a show in the East Village. I had interviewed Moe in 1997, and had stayed in touch with her. Moe hadn't arrived yet, so I left my card for her at the box office. I came back to find a ticket from Moe, and a note. "Wow! What are you doing here?"

I was standing near the back of the venue, waiting for Moe and the band to begin the show, when a man with shaggy hair, and a huge overcoat walked up to Moe. He waved at her with waving fingers. They chatted briefly. The man then turned to walk towards me, and I realized that it was Lou Reed. Lou worked his way to into the crowd around me, bumping me in the process. "Hey," he said to me in a nonchalant New York manner. I nodded calmly, but inside I was freaking out. Lou stood in front of me as we watched the show. Wow, I thought. Half of the Velvet Underground is standing in front of me! I didn't get any pics of Lou that night (he hid elsewhere in the club for much of the night), but I really didn't have to. Besides, it was just another night in New York, for Lou Reed.

Safe travels, Lou. Thanks for all the music, and ideas. Between thought and expression, lies a lifetime...
October 27, 2013

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