Monday, October 28, 2013

Down to the Dirty Boulevard

Lou Reed died yesterday in New York (where else?), by all accounts peacefully which I think would make him smile, possibly from complications of a liver transplant last Spring. I had a chance to see him perform back when there were still two Germanys and he was in another post-Transformer configuration that would have disquieted Michael Bay.

Reed had already recorded and released Metal Machine Music which for many was as close to unlistenable as is humanly possible. It was a shock for many of us who had championed him from his days in The Velvet Underground to realize he had done so deliberately.

The release of The Bells and the subsequent tour of West Germany might have helped his career, but that wasn't anything he ever seemed to worry about and when all hell broke loose that night in Offenbach (I was at the show with a friend of Sigrid's, Holger, who had never seen Reed and who kept asking later, 'is he always like that?') all that could be done was to shake your head, swallow hard and take a deep breath.

Born on the Jersey side of The River with the lights of Manhattan sparkling in the distance like a diamond, I grew into adulthood with the yearning and learning of the music of Bruce Springsteen and it will always speak to my heart, but it was the quintessential New Yorker who spoke to my head and who had more moments and memories of gritty greatness than any one I've ever seen, even if he so angered a crowd they destroyed a venue.

Seventy years seems like a long time, but it's a lot shorter now that tomorrow is yesterday. Things change in the blink of an eye. Fare well, and fair seas.
-bill kenny

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