This week on the show, return guests Jason Stern and Don Fleming of the Lou Reed Archive join us to discuss Lou’s 2007 ambient album Hudson River Wind Meditations, recently reissued by Light in the Attic, and share a bevy of Lou stories and insights. Plus, resident Lou fanatic Tyler Wilcox of Doom and Gloom from the Tomb drops by to discuss Lou’s kung fu fascinations, love of comics, mindfulness, and a few of his favorite Lou pieces at Aquarium Drunkard.
Right at the start of his phenomenal new biography, Lou Reed: The King of New York, Will Hermes makes a confession: “If you’re looking for some neat totalizing statement or psychological profile to explain Reed, to fix him like a butterfly specimen, you won’t find it here.”
Recently, Aquarium Drunkard hopped on Zoom to chat with Hermes about all things Lou.
Transformer, released in late 1972, gave Lou Reed a dose of the success that had eluded him in the Velvet Underground days. He almost immediately brought that momentum to a halt with Berlin, which hit record stores 50 years ago this week.
To dig deeper into Berlin’s mysteries, check out an alternate version of the LP, gathered from a variety of sources over the decades — home demos, live shows, etc. — with a few guests along for the ride, including ANOHNI, Sharon Jones and John Cale. Caroline and Jim are waiting for you down by the wall with a little Dubonnet on ice.
Today on Transmissions, a tremendous conversation with Jason Stern and Don Fleming of the Lou Reed Archive. From the contents of the archive to under-recognized albums from Reed’s discography, this talk covers fascinating aspects of Lou’s life, offers insight into his art, addresses controversies, and much more.
Listening to this phenomenal collection of Velvet Underground prehistory, it’s fairly mind-boggling how fast Lou Reed and John Cale moved in the earliest stages of their creative partnership. Less than a year after these acoustic demos were made, the pair were in the studio recording the epochal Velvet Underground & Nico — an LP whose reverberations are still being felt today.
To celebrate a half-century of Transformer, here’s an alternate version of the album, cobbled together from live performances, NYC apartment demos and internet sessions, stretching from the early 1970s to the 21st century. Some of these tunes would become setlist mainstays; others didn’t make it past 1973. The reinventions here are sometimes radical, veering from buoyant glam-funk to shameless Michelob Lite-rock, from austere and solemn readings to goofy garage pop. The one constant? Lou himself, of course. Even as his voice and vibes shift from year to year, Reed’s intense, one-of-a-kind life force shines through, no matter where he takes these tunes. If he taught us anything, it’s that there’s more than one way to walk on the wild side.
Taste the whip. Captured in January 1972, a year and half following Lou Reed’s hard exit from the Velvet Underground, we find ourselves at Le Bataclan theatre, Paris, France. The occasion marked a semi-impromptu reunion of the former VU bandmates. For a night, anyway.
“This is a song about copping drugs in New York…” Taste the whip. Captured in January 1972, a year and half following Lou Reed’s hard exit from the Velvet Underground, […]
The day after Christmas, December of 1972: Lou Reed and band (The Tots) in Hempstead, NY, recording live for radio at Untrasonic Recording Studio. Recorded just a month after the release […]
When Lou Reed penned the classic “Rock and Roll” he paid tribute not only to rock and roll music, but also to the transformative powers of rock and roll radio. Radio was […]
A blueprint for the nascent VU. In the early 1960s, just prior to the formation of the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed worked as a staff writer for the rip-off, cash-in label […]
When I heard the news of Lou Reed’s death yesterday, I didn’t immediately reach for a record, but instead picked up my copy of Lester Bangs’ Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung . Re-reading Bangs classic Creem […]
Twelve acoustic demos recorded in the Fall of 1970 following Lou Reed’s departure from the Velvet Underground. Concerning the set, A History of The Underground notes that while many of the tracks are similar to […]
A highlight of Lou Reed’s 1989 album New York , “Halloween Parade” is as evocative as it is chilling. Through a processional cast of characters the track chronicles the decade’s AIDS epidemic […]