Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lou Reed

Lou Reed died today. His album New York was the first cd ever bought. I have absolutely no idea how many times I've listened to it. Followed by his Magic and Loss and Velvet Underground, of course. I read once that Lou Reed had to write something like three songs a day when he was at The Factory, Andy Warhol insisted upon it. Art was work. I've always tried to approach my writing in that fashion.
I love the rawness of Lou Reed's lyrics and music. As he once said, he didn't believe in dressing-up reality. He also once famously said, "One chord is fine. Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz." That encouraged me to try writing songs when I only knew three chords. 
I was lucky enough to get to see Lou Reed live twice. Once at Massey Hall and once at the Hummingbird Centre, now the Sony Centre. The Massey Hall show was the first and most memorable. What I remember most of all is how much he seemed to be enjoying it. He was doing what he loved. He stayed true.  
I grew-up in rural Canada and somehow Lou Reed, David Bowie and Iggy Pop were three of my favourite singers. They opened me up to a much larger world, musically and otherwise. They gave it their all and cared more about creating something, and saying something, not worrying if, or who, it offended, but didn't go out of their way to offend just for the sake of it. Though they certainly pushed boundaries. They said what they felt and what they believed. And they showed that it's okay to experiment and to learn as you go. 
I used to have a shirt that I got at Lou Reed's concert at Massey Hall. It had a cartoon drawing of a little boxer on it who had a light bulb for a head. The caption read, "Fighting for an idea." I loved that shirt. Someone stole it. Bastard. 
I could go on about Lou's music and lyrics, how they influence me, and what they meant to me over the years, but not today. Today, I just wanted to say thank you, Lou. 
I leave you with three songs. 

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