OK I'm outta here for a couple of days as I'm flying down to see Television in Tasmania tomorrow night and staying there for a few extra days.
See you on the other side...
Thursday, 31 October 2013
Wednesday, 30 October 2013
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 12:53
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 07:21
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 07:14
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 07:00
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
Ever since the Voidoids, chord playing has been the priority; with Lloyd Cole, I’m trying to leave the high and low E’s ringing as much as possible, and then sliding chords around inside of that. My confidence has grown over the years, but I’ve never been entirely comfortable with solos. The way Richard Hell got them out of me was to make me do it over and over again until I got so angry and frustrated, I’d just smash away at the strings. Lou Reed generally left me alone. Some people think that the solo on Waves of Fear from “Blue Mask” was the best thing I ever did, and that’s all they want to hear, but I’d like to think I can play lyrical stuff and still put as much emotion in as that. Not the same kind of emotion, thank God… I really put myself in a state to play that part - it wasn’t fun at all. My biggest break, a Lou Reed album for RCA, and I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown and that they’d have to call a taxi and send me home!
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 20:40
...The moments of brilliance were usually those most likely to lose him his following, such as a song-cycle of epic morbidity titled Berlin (1973), and Metal Machine Music (1975), a double album of guitar noise which could have been explicitly devised to ensure the termination of his recording contract
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 20:16
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 11:00
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 10:16
Lou Reed didn't seem hung up. Not on this set. The cross don't seem his true shape. The boy on this record was riding a wave -- seeming in a state of suspended joy. Longing checked in some roadhouse like Steve McQueen in Baby the Rain Must Fall. Not Mick Jagger no muscular sailor just ONE caught in a warp in some lost town and rising. The Velvets winding up the Sixties laying one long rhythmic fart across the West called Live in Texas; with Lou Reed winking right in the eye of that fart. I mean these boys may be outta tune but they were solid IN TIME. Theres nowhere higher while youre still in the body physical than to embrace the moment beautiful stranger. Fuck the future man the moment you are reading this is real. Performing is pain is pure ecstatic cut with adrenaline paranoia and any white light one can shoot on stage.
It is true pain when you are up there and cant connect. Like the veins plugged and the steam aint flowing and people are watching and you break down on your knees so desperate to bust the spleen to feel and roll in the white coils of the brain. And who beyond the performer is the most hungry for poetry in any form but the children the new masses and Lou Reed KNEW it -- never played down back then -- cause he knew that youth can eat the truth. Like it's all "I've Had It" by the Bell Notes only a whole higher ground another land of a thousand sensations in a land we try to leave when we age oh I see my friends they say man I gotta simmer down its too much pain but jesus let me rock back like peter pan I'd rather die than not take it out on the line one more time another risk is bliss.
That's why I love this record so much. It goes beyond risk and hovers like an electric moth. There is no question no apologizing there is just a trust a bond with time and god their relentlessly relaxed method of getting it on and over the land of strain. Like Rimbaud we rebel baptism but you know man needs water he needs to get clean keep washing over like a Moslem. Well this drowning is eternal and you dont have to track it lambkin you just lay back and let it pour over you. Dig it submit put your hands down your pants and play side C. "Ocean" is on and the head cracks like intellectual egg spewing liquid gold (jewel juice) and Lou is so elegantly restrained. It nearly drives me crazy. The cymbal is so light and the way they stroll into "Pale Blue Eyes" not unlike Tim Hardin's "Misty Roses" the way it comes on like a Genet love song.
And I love the way Lou talks like a warm nigger or slow bastard from Philly that THING that reeks of old records like golden oldies. A chord so direct it eel fucks you in the heart. I write Smith Corona electric resting on a huge speaker pulsing "Heroin." It makes my fingers vibrate. Anything electric is worth it. We are the true children of Frankenstein we were raised on electricity. On the late show the way the white light strobed his body over and over like sex and speed and all the flash it takes to make a man. "Heroin" moving on and in like a sob.
And its all past Lou just doesnt shoot anymore. And I dont know if hes dead center like he was in Texas 69 I dont know where he is at all. It doesnt matter this set stands in time like a Cartier gem. The only criticize I got is the eyes the cover eats shit. Music like this so black and white so 8 millimeter should have been wrapped in the perfect photograph -- a Mapplethorpe still life: syringe and shades and black muscle tee. L.R. + V.U. 69 are a kool creem oozing soothing mesmerizing like hypnos scooping wind down pain mountain. This double set is completely worth it not a bad cut always with it. It will relax you help it all to make sense the Sixties ended in a sea of warm puke delicate enough to be called art. And it was LIVE man with a few scattered rounds of slack applause a product as perfect as the mutualated victim. Theres no difference between after the murder and apres the perfect perform. And if Lou dont remember how it felt to shell it out you will not soon forget how it feels to hear. When the musics over and you turn out the light its like . . . coming down from a dream.
Copyright © Patti Smith 1974
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 10:08
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 09:46
Monday, 28 October 2013
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 22:03
Velvet Underground was Lou Reed's Ostrich Guitar Tuning, where all the strings were tuned to D. It got its name from the 1964 novelty single "The Ostrich" by The Primitives, a pre-Velvet Underground band fronted by Lou Reed. Originally only a studio project, the song about a fake novelty dance generated enough interest to put together a band for a few live gigs. And amazingly enough, that touring version of The Primitives featured John Cale, Tony Conrad, and Walter DeMaria. While I am not aware of any surviving live recordings of these guys, here are both sides of the studio recording in MP3 format
Only one year later Lou Reed and John Cale would form the Velvet Underground and never record a novelty dance number again
Only one year later Lou Reed and John Cale would form the Velvet Underground and never record a novelty dance number again
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 17:18
...Salman Rushdie opted to commemorate the singer in a message heavy with references to his songs: "My friend Lou Reed came to the end of his song. So very sad. But hey, Lou, you'll always take a walk on the wild side. Always a perfect day."
...and surely Bon(go) must have pontificated about the spirit of rock'n'roll by now?
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 13:04
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 11:06
Lou Reed, who with his group the Velvet Underground was singing about drag queens and heroin at least five years before such obsessions reached the mass level.
Who began a comeback as a solo artist last summer in England, and under the wing of David Bowie produced Transformer, a classic of mondo bendo rock. Who then, having come out of the closet at last, returned to his New York home and ushered in 1973 by getting married to an actress cum cocktail waitress named Betty (stage name Krista) Kronstadt.
On top of all that, both Transformer and the single from it are enormous hits. Lou Reed is not only a legend: he's a star. In one of the interviews he did last summer, Lou said: "I can create a vibe without saying anything, just by being in the room."
He was right. You sit yourself down, and sure enough you become aware pretty fast that there's this vaguely unpleasant fat man sitting over there with a table full of people including his blonde bride. Pretty soon he comes over to join you and the tic becomes focused too sharply for comfort. It's not just that Lou Reed doesn't look like a rock'n'roll star any more. His face has a nursing-home pallor, and the fat girdles his sides. He drinks double Johnnie Walker Blacks all afternoon, his hands shake constantly and when he lifts his glass to drink he has to bend his head as though he couldn't possibly get it to his mouth otherwise. As he gets drunker, his left eyeball begins to slide out of sync.
In spite of all this, however, he managed to live up to his reputation for making interviewers uncomfortable. He fixes you with that rusty bug eye, he creaks and croaks and lies in your face and you're helpless. He lies about his music and his album covers ("That was me in drag on the back of Transformer.") Most of all, he lies about himself. But he qualifies it by saying, "I don't especially tell the truth most of the time anyway."
He's pretty cool about most of it, though, so you can't really get too mad at him about that. Like Nick Kent, who is there for the New Musical Express, is right in the middle of asking him a question, when Lou interrupts: "Aren't you hot with that scarf on?"
"No," wheezes Nick nonplussedly, "I've got a cold."
"Try Vicks Vapo Rub," says Lou. "I came down with a very bad cold in Boston, and it works. You've gotta lie there for two or three days with that glop on your chest and a towel or something, and every once in a while somebody has to have the nerve to reach into the bowl of that shit and rub it in. Like I remember," he free-associates, "when everybody was taking acid and we discovered Dippity Do, and everybody said, 'It's just like a cunt, it's fantastic!' And we all ran into the bathroom and jumped into the bathtub and started fingering the Dippity Do jar."
Everything is jokes to this bibulous bozo; he really makes a point of havin' some fun! Although it does disturb his friends and fans to see him in such failing health. But he can find a joke even there. At one point I asked him when he intended to die.
"I would like to live to a ripe old age and raise watermelons in Wyoming." Then he takes another glug and machos: "I'm outdrinking you two to one, you know."
"Are you proud of yourself?"
"Yeah. No, not actually; it's just that a single shot of Scotch is so small that you've gotta nurse it like it's a child or something. I drink constantly."
"How does it treat your nervous system?" I probed.
"It destroys it," he beamed.
"Then how do you intend to raise your watermelons?"
"Well, my time will come. By now I'm getting tired of liquor because there's just nothing strong enough. Now if we were drinking 150-proof sake, or something like that, then I could get drunk..."
He is equally devastating in his frankness on drugs: "I take drugs just because in the 20th century in a technological age living in the city there are certain drugs you have to take just to keep yourself normal like a caveman. Just to bring yourself up or down, but to attain equilibrium you need to take certain drugs. They don't getcha high even, they just getcha normal."
Normal Lou Reed reached for a Marlboro. As he fumbled to tear a match out of the book and strike it, his hands trembled so fiercely that you wondered if he was going to be able to get that butt lit.
This interview was turning out so fabulous I knew it was now time to get our hooks right down in the nitty gritty, and talk about sex. What about the relationship of what you're doing artistically to the gay scene in general and specific?
Wax eloquent, for once and finally, he did. Listen kids, you may think you've got your identity crises and sexual lateral squeeze plays touchdown cold just because you came out in rouge 'n' glitter for Dave Bowie's latest show, but listen to your Papa Lou. He's gotta nother think for you punk knowitalls: "The makeup thing is just a style thing now, like platform shoes. If people have homosexuality in them, it won't necessarily involve makeup in the first place. You can't fake being gay, because being gay means you're going to have to suck cock, or get fucked. I think there's a very basic thing in a guy if he's straight where he's just going to say no: 'I'll act gay, I'll do this and I'll do that, but I can't do that.' Just like a gay person if they wanted to act straight and everything, but if you said, 'Okay, go ahead, go to bed with a girl,' they're going to have to get an erection first, and they can't do that.
"The notion that everybody's bisexual is a very popular line right now, but I think its validity is limited. I could say something like if in any way my album helps people decide who or what they are, then I will feel I have accomplished something in my life. But I don't feel that way at all. I don't think an album's gonna do anything. You can't listen to a record and say, 'Oh that really turned me onto gay life, I'm gonna be gay.' A lot of people will have one or two experiences, and that'll be it. Things may not change one iota. It's beyond the control of a straight person to turn gay at the age he'll probably be listening to any of his stuff or reading about it; he'll already be determined psychologically. It's like Franco said: 'Give me a child until he's seven and he's mine.' By the time a kid reaches puberty they've been determined. Guys walking around in makeup is just fun. Why shouldn't men be able to put on makeup and have fun like women have?"
Lou Reed just may have a better perspective on this supposed upheaval in sexual roles than any of these Gore Vidals and Jill Johnstons. Duds comin' outa the closet in droves and finding out they're heterosexual! Ha! Only trouble is that Lou's thinking also makes him a product of the rigidly dualistic era when he grew up a hell of a Fifties cat for somebody who helped usher in the Seventies. He thinks you're either some blissfully "normal" heterosuburbanite weekender on your own, or otherwise you gotta be some mungstreaked depravo wretch skulking through the gutter on all fours. Listening to him talk, you can't help wondering how much of Lou Reed's songs are about people he makes up, as he claims, and how much of them is about himself. In which case – if say, Perfect Day is autobiographical – he must be the most guilt-ridden person on the face of the earth. Which would make it hard for anybody to live up to their own legend.
If Lou Reed seems like rock's ultimate closet queen by virtue of the fact that he came out of the closet and then went back in, it must also be observed that lots of people, especially lots of gay people, think Lou Reed's just a heterosexual onlooker exploiting gay culture for his own ends. And who knows but that they may be right. When I asked him about his plans for his next album, he said: "I may come out with a hardhat album. Come out with an anti-gay song, saying 'Get back in your closets, you fuckin' queers!' That'll really do it!"
But let's just suppose that Lou Reed is gay. If he is, can you imagine what kind of homosexual would say something like that? Maybe that's what makes him such a master of pop song – he's got such a great sense of shame. Either that or the ultimate proof of his absolute normality is the total offensive triteness of his bannered Abnormality. Like there's no trip cornier'n S&M, every move is plotted in advance from a rigid rulebook centuries old, so every libertine ends up yawning his balls off. Just like Lou said earlier that day: "There's really no interesting information to hold back. Everybody insists that there's a story here, and there really isn't. It's like a clamshell that's been eaten."
The concert was okay. Reports on this tour have varied drastically – depending on expectations and how Lou happens to be feeling, I guess – and his band, a bunch of high school kids assembled by Steve Katz, is more than adequate.
But there's probably more going on here than meets the eye. Katz must have had plenty of musicians to choose from – he could conceivably have assembled a high-charged ensemble a la Elephant's Memory, he could certainly have gotten a crew of faceless high-tech sessionmen if they didn't want anybody to detract from Lou. But what he got was a bunch of competent high school kids off anybody's block, who also happen to be some of the ugliest cretins ever assembled on one stage!
These guys are the absolute apotheosis of the Flushing, N.Y. or Hoboken, N.J. schlub. They're so nada that they become not faceless, you can't ignore 'em because they contrast so sharply with Lou Reed's leather trip.
For somebody who has based so much of his career on sex, Lou Reed has certainly surrounded himself with an asexual band. It would be easy to conclude that this is simply because he didn't want anybody else stealing the show (in which case it backfired – his bassist is the ugliest person I have ever seen) or that he's so dunced out he didn't make such considerations (unlikely). So you end up with the possibility that Lou may have an intentionally asexual band as a reaction to glam-rock and his own image. Which, if you follow that logic to the terminal, reeks of self-destructive guilt. Just imagine if Lou Reed did to his lead guitarist what Bowie does to Mick Ronson – pretending to blow him – he'd look like the archetypal homosexual criminal. It would be the most repulsive (in a sense never dreamed of by people like Alice Cooper) spectacle in the history of rock.
The audiences, however, usually love the show, and it's gratifying to see them flood down to the stage at last, giving Lou Reed the adulation he's deserved for so long. It's only when you start to think about the basic lameness of his band, the dirge-like tempo at which he sings most of the songs, the generally funereal atmosphere, and the speculations that all this leads you into, that you begin to get bugged. Because Lou Reed's finally got a chance at real sustained stardom, and he is blowing it. He's still riding on the legend now, but people are going to get tired damn fast of a legend who slunks out with a bunch of blobs behind him, sings his songs as if he's falling asleep, forgets the words half the time, stands as still as if he's embalmed except for remembering every five minutes or so to wiggle his ass or wave his hand whether it's really the time to do it or not. His whole career at this point is like welching out on a bet.
My personal payoff with Lou came when we got back to the hotel after the gig. About a dozen people sat around a shadowy suite while the Original Phantom Purveyor of the New Rock got drunk on his ass and rambled on to the point of babble. I got totally blasted myself, my disappointment came through and I started baiting him: "Hey Lou, doncha think Judy Garland was a piece of shit and better off dead?"
"No! She was a great lady! A wonderfully wise and witty lady ..."
"Hey Lou, then doncha think David Bowie's a no-talent asshole?"
"No! He's a genius! He's brilliant!"
(It makes sense that Lou would say that, since he allegedly made an ass of himself by falling in love with Bowie when he went to England last summer.)
"Ahh, c'mon, what about all that outer Space Oddity shit? That's just Paul Kantner garbage!"
"It is not! It's a brilliant masterpiece! Oh, you are so full of shit!"
"It was dogshit. Why don't you get off all this crap and just try being banal for a change? Why doncha write a song like Sugar, Sugar? That'd be something worthwhile!"
"I don't know how. I would if I could... l wish I'd written it..." Jeez, the poor bastard was getting so pathetic even his overwhelming maudlin streak was beginning to get to me! Like all the last year every time his name comes up all you hear is "Poor Lou!" Poor Lou, poor Lou, poor poor poor Lou Reed! You wouldn't wanna be in his shoes! The tortured artist! The poor hamstrung sensibility! But I was too drunk for brakes, so I got even more personal and abusive: "Hey Lou, why doncha start shooting speed again? Then you could come up with something good!"
"I still do shoot it... My doctor gives it to me... Well, no actually they're just shots of meth mixed with vitamins... well, no actually, they're just vitamin C... injections."
It went on like that for a while; finally, the whole thing sort of flaked into silence, and a girl from his organisation had to come and carry him off to his room.
But I'll always carry that last picture of him, plopped in his chair like a sack of spuds, sucking on his eternal Scotch with his head hanging off into shadow, looking like a deaf mute in a telephone booth. (He's still pretty cool, though; I stole that last phrase from him.)
If all this makes you feel sorry for him, then you can compliment yourself on being a real Lou Reed fan.
Because that's exactly what he wants.
Then again, maybe time is still on Lou Reed's side. A few days later I was sitting in my room when the door flew back and in barged Josh, nine-year-old son of one of the people I live with. He's one of these typical little prepube smartasses with long hair and a big mouth, and he immediately demanded: "Where 'dja get alla records?"
"Cute kid," thinks I. "Maybe I'll give him a copy of the Electric Company soundtrack."
"Hey!" he poots. "Yagotenny Vaaaan Morrison or Leeon Russell?"
Awright you little popsickle pecker, I'm getting pissed at all this blatant trashing of respect for elders. So I drag out a copy of Transformer: "Wanna hear this?"
"Naaah," he snorts. "I awready got a copy."
"Oh yeah. What's your favourite song on it?"
"New York Telephone Conversation. But my brother likes the one that goes 'shaved 'er legs an' then he was a she'." His brother is eight.
"Well, then, whattaya think of it?" I was a broken man.
"I think it's great! We play it all the time." So there you are. A bit later I tried to put on an America album and the brat called me a "health food eater". He's obviously a prodigal snot, but you can't ignore the evidence: Lou Reed may be leagues from the peak of his creative powers, he may be a deteriorating silhouette of a star...
But give him a child from the time he's nine.
Lou Reed: A Deaf Mute In A Telephone Booth
(Let It Rock November 1973)
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 09:52
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 07:50
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 07:38
Sunday, 27 October 2013
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 13:03
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 12:58
Saturday, 26 October 2013
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 23:15
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 06:59
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 06:29
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 06:24
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 06:21
From the fevered imagination of exilestreet at 06:19