During his first major sit-down with the music press in 1977, between claiming all his songs were about guilt and revenge, Elvis Costello casually remarked, “I don’t really listen to Lou Reed’s records, but I never miss an interview with him.”
Indeed, for all his publicly expressed loathing of the press in general and music journalists in particular, during his long career as a rock artist, Lou Reed never failed to be less than entertaining in his dealings with the Fourth Estate. In fact, one could go so far as to claim that, for Lou, the press became as much an implement of expression for him as singing, composing and playing music. And in a style at times very much informed by his mentor Andy Warhol, Reed could play the media like a Marshall-amped Stradivarius.
To the majority of his fans, the apotheosis of Reed’s relationship with the press, and most prominently regarded to this day, was the series of combative tête-à-têtes between Lou and the late great music journalist Lester Bangs, published in CREEM Magazine during the 1970s.
This anthology, then, will be one fan’s humble attempt to move beyond the Bangs canon, and delve deeper into the distance and intimacy, cactus and mercury, that constituted Lou‘s post-Velvet Underground, public media image. We hope to present to the reader a broader perspective, a more finely defined portrait, of Lou Reed; that, in addition to being notoriously prickly (to put it mildly), Reed was also intelligent, articulate and deeply passionate about what he thought mattered, and was important to him, as both a person and as a creative artist.
Compiled by Mike Heath
Afterword by Pat Thomas