My 1996 Interview With Lou Reed

I read the news today, oh boy. Fuck. Lou Reed dead. I can’t believe it. I know we all die, but Lou Reed? I remember as a kid listening to a used copy of the Velvets’ first album in the living room of my parents house and trying to hear all the words to “Heroin.”

I was fascinated by the Velvets long before I really understood what they were all about, and why they were so important. I have played their albums for decades, particularly the third album, The Velvet Underground, and Loaded.

Like for millions of other fans all over the world, for me this is truly a sad day.

In 1996, when I was editor and publisher of Addicted To Noise, I had the opportunity to interview Lou Reed. The interview is still online. Here’s part of the introduction, with a link to the rest of the story.

Lou Reed is dressed in black. Black leather pants. Black t-shirt. Black shoes. Electricity is, literally, crackling off him, as he stands in his elegantly cool, private sixth floor office at the back of Sister Ray Enterprises, overlooking Broadway in the Village.

“Did you hear that?” he asks, walking over to an open window and closing it.

I think he’s referring to the street sounds, but I’m wrong.

At Sister Ray, there are Lou Reed and Velvet Underground posters on the walls, as well as framed gold and platinum albums for New York. A rack holds copies of many of Reed’s older albums; boxes of the recent Velvet Underground boxed set sit on a bookcase. A photographer is setting up to shoot Reed up front. Reed’s publicist is on the phone, dealing from a couch at the back, just outside the room where Reed and I are talking. Nearby is Reed’s Internet expert, Struan Oglanby.

“I’m getting a shock every time I get up,” Reed says with a grimace, taking a seat back at his desk. “That was that snapping sound.” Then, in that classic Lou Reed monotone, “I conduct a lot of electricity. It’s really strange.”

Maybe not so strange. We are, after all, talking about Lou Reed, founder of the Velvet Underground. Writer of such highly charged songs as “Heroin,” “I’m Waiting For The Man,” “Sweet Jane” and, of course, “Rock & Roll.” And Lisa Says.” And “Walk On The Wild Side.” And “Satellite Of Love.” And “The Blue Mask.” And “Romeo Had Juliette.” And “Dirty Blvd.” And….

You can read the rest of the interview here.

Watch Lou Reed perform “Sweet Jane.”

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