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.”

About Michael Goldberg

Michael Goldberg is a distinguished pioneer in the online music space; Newsweek magazine called him an ‘Internet visionary.’ In 1994 he founded Addicted To Noise (ATN), the highly influential music web site. He was a senior vice-president and editor in chief at SonicNet from March 1997 through May 2000. In 1997, Addicted To Noise won Webby awards for best music site in 1998 and 1999, and also won Yahoo Internet Life! awards for three years running as best music site in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Prior to starting Addicted To Noise, Goldberg was an editor and senior writer at Rolling Stone magazine for 10 years. His writing has also appeared in Wired, Esquire, Vibe, Details, Downbeat, NME and numerous other publications. Michael has had three novels published that comprise the "Freak Scene Dream trilogy": "True Love Scars," "The Flowers Lied" and "Untitled" which can be ordered here. His new book, "Wicked Game: The True Story of Guitarist James Calvin Wilsey," can be pre-ordered from HoZac Books. In November Backbeat Books will publish "Addicted To Noise: The Music Writings of Michael Goldberg," which can be be pre-ordered here.

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