Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Tribute to Lou Reed in Words and Song

Lou Reed's music has meant more to me on a personal level than any other music.
He had an unflinching openness to face reality, to take it in, to tell the story in a multi-dimensional, multi-layered universe that was at times piercingly shrill, and at other times, sublime and beautiful in the utmost. But whatever the emotional or sonic timbre, always inside was the great goodness of the loving soul of this author whose deep love for life and humanity could be felt in every note, and sometimes in one note over and over. Lou was a gigantic person, and that person was - if at times inertly so - always present in his musical universe. He was conscious, aware, and deliberate. I love Lou Reed. His passing screeches through my entire body leaving me dejected and sour. There will be all talk about drugs and bullshit, but to my mind, Lou Reed is anti-venom to addiction. His life and body of work is the most voluminous work of anti-escapism of modern times. He achieved a tone out of a guitar that was sweet and joyous - you can feel his glee in plucking, there's an immediacy to his performance unmatched by any other guitarist. Despite the received wisdom, Lou was a skilled craftsman on the guitar with hyper-delicate precision relating to his tone and sustain... And the result of hearing this precision might often by your flowing tears. He spent 4 or 5 decades refusing to be what he was supposed to be at every turn - he remained an artist at every step: Lou Reed never became a brand. His career was never made by music writers. It was followed. I suffered an anxiety disorder for much of my youth. And on many occasions, the music of Lou Reed was the only thing that could calm me down. I told him this when I met him at a poetry reading in 2003. He looked up at me in the eye, and said, "Thank you. That's a very sweet thing to say to me." Thank you Lou. Thank for your defiance, your realism, your humanity, and your rock-solid core. You gave me and many others a gift that led us be honest with ourselves, and to hold on to what makes us strong in the face of the onslaught. I will mourn this loss till I join you. The coal black sea waits for me me me.. I rewrote this song (which was already hugely influenced by Lou), and added his words and some of my feeling for him.

No comments: