Lou Reed

In Defense Of: Lou Reed & Metallica- Lulu

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There is an album that came out back in 2011, that the world seemed to really take a rather negative turn on. You’ve all heard about the collaboration of the great Lou Reed and the mighty Metallica and their album Lulu. The majority of people that heard the album immediately called it atrocious and worthless. I’m probably, no, I am in the minority of people out there that actually like the album. Now before I tell you why I dig it, let me give you a little backstory on how all this came to be.

The inception of this collaboration began in 2009 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concert. Metallica was chosen to perform with a variety of different artists from the rock world. Lou Reed was one of the rock contemporaries that joined Metallica on stage for a renditions of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane” and “White Light/White Heat.”  After the show Lou suggested to the band that they should work together. It wouldn’t be until 2011 that this finally came to fruition. Metallica was originally brought in to re-record various unreleased songs Lou Reed had written. There were a batch of songs that Lou had from a piece of work called Lulu, based on the plays of German playwright Frank Wedekind. Metallica brought a slew of different arrangements to the table and the rest played out with the band and Lou working together to create the album. Lulu is a piece of art that is very misunderstood. The full story of where the material comes from is quite dark and horrific and comes from a place that most people wouldn’t dare tread. There are two pieces Earth Spirit and Pandora’s Box that sum up all the parts of what Lulu is all about.

 

The critics of the music world truly denounced the album calling it one of the worst albums of all time. This is where I come to the albums defense. First of all, if you are not a Lou Reed fan, you are one, not going to like this album, two, if you’ve never listened to Lou Reed, you won’t “get” this, and three Lou had picked Metallica to be his backing band on this project due to the intensity of the content that Lou had written based on these plays. As a Lou Reed fan since I was a very young child, when I first heard about this collaboration, I was overjoyed. I was going to get to hear two of my favorites working together. Lou has and always will be one of the best songwriters of all time. His influence since the late 60’s is astounding. Many bands wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground. Lou has always been an unorthodox artist. Anyone that has taken the time to delve into his catalog can attest to that. The choice of Metallica for this project is one that is pretty astounding. Having a band that has gone against the status quo for most of their career link up with a guy like Lou is like kismet. The 5 of these guys created an album that is an art piece through and through. It’s not a Metallica album. This is a Lou Reed album.

If you were Metallica and one of rocks biggest titans asked you to work with them on a project, you’d jump at the chance to do that. You know you would. To the guys in Metallica, this was one of those instances when doing this would be fulfilling artistically. Metallica has never been a band about quantity, thankfully. They spend time crafting their material. Some of their output hasn’t been what the “fans” wanted, i.e. Load, Reload and St. Anger but, they have always stuck to their guns and did what they felt was right.
Don’t be so quick to dismiss this album. It’s very involved and not for everyone that’s for sure. Lou Reed isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but if you give him a chance and take a deep look into the works of Lou, it will all make sense. Lou was an artist first and foremost. His lyrics told stories and hit on subjects many would find taboo. One day I will write up a whole thing about the greatness that was Lou Reed so you all can really delve into his works.

Lulu is like scotch, it’s acquired taste. As I’ve mentioned already, this is not an easy listen and you should not be expecting a Metallica album. If you really want to give this a chance, I highly recommend looking into what the plays are all about then go in knowing this is Lou Reed’s album with Metallica as his backing band.

Lou Reed & Metallica- Lulu:

 

Lou Reed and Metallica- Live:

 

 

 

Lou Reed and Metallica- Sweet Jane (Live):

 

 

Lou Reed and Metallica- White Light/White Heat (Live):

 

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Cover Song: The Jim Carroll Band (The Velvet Underground)- Sweet Jane

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Jim Carroll is one of the most gifted and prolific writers of the past century. His poetry has inspired countless bands and songs. His writings be it The Basketball Diaries, poetry books, or songs are nothing short of special. During his time in the 70’s, Jim spent a good amount of time with bands and musicians like The Velvet Underground, particularly Lou Reed, He once lived with Patti Smith, and was a fixture at all the local hot spots in New York like CBGB’s and Max’s Kansas City. On his 1983 album I Write Your Name, he did a cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane,” and it’s probably the best cover of the song I’ve ever heard. Check it out!

The Jim Carroll Band- Sweet Jane:

 

The Velvet Underground- Sweet Jane:

 

Album Anniversary: The Velvet Underground & Nico Turns 50

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There are certain albums that I was exposed to as a very young kid that forever changed my life. Growing up with parents that passed their music tastes down to me was beyond a gift. I was exposed to so many different great albums and bands. My mom and dad had some similar interests and some very different ones as well. My mom was a huge Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground fan so, naturally that got passed on to me. When I was around 3 or 4, I remember my mom putting on The Velvet Underground and Nico album. I was stunned at how different it sounded but, I loved it. Thus began my own obsession with The Velvet Underground.

I still remember the needle dropping on the record and “Sunday Morning” started. It was almost like a lullaby. Stunningly beautiful and so different. Then “I’m Waiting For The Man” comes in and changes the entire direction of the album. The story that Lou Reed conveys is so realistic. Granted when I was a little kid, I had no idea what he was talking about but, thankfully my mom explained it to me so I could understand it. As the album goes on songs like “Femme Fatale,” “Venus In Furs,” “Run Run Run,” “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” “There She Goes Again,” “The Black Angel’s Death Song,” and “European Son,” would strike a chord with me and so many other people. The magnitude of depth, storytelling, and the way the music hits is astonishing. Of course, the most famous song from the album “Heroin” is a classic among classics. There is a true beauty in the way the song plays out. The build up to the chaos is mind blowing. The way Lou Reed makes you feel like you are on the journey with him is unparalleled. Lou was a masterful writer and story teller. I was also a little bit obsessed with this song and would play it over and over. I even knew all the words to it, which was pretty odd and strange, especially for a young child.

The Velvet Underground were a band that inspired so many other bands. Generations of bands since the album was released in 1967, started bands because of this album. Lou Reed was a big inspiration to me as a writer. The way he was able to connect his life and stories into song is inspiring. The Velvet Underground were unique, different, and and their own thing. They were part artsy, part psychedelic, part rock, and part blues. They were the ultimate package and continued to be a great band with albums like White Light/White Heat and Loaded.  The Velvet Underground and Nico is now 50 years old and is still a great album that will stand the test of time for so many years to come.

I have to really thank my mom for getting me into such a wonderful band. The cars rides listening to music with both my mom and dad were always great. So many different bands were played and most of them are still constantly played to this day. So if you all have a chance to, go thank your parents for showing you their music and getting you into so many great bands.

 

The Velvet Underground & Nico:

 

Documentary on The Velvet Underground & Nico:

Top Ten Bands A-Z: R

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The A to Z  list continues to find the top ten bands/artists in the alphabet. R is upon us and needs help to complete the list. As usual your suggestions are wanted in completing this list. These are in no particular order as well.

 

01) Lou Reed
02) Radiohead
03) Rage Against The Machine
04) Ramones
05) Replacements, The
06) Red Hot Chili Peppers
07) Rolling Stones
08) Refused
09) Henry Rollins
10)

Cover Thursday: Dave Navarro (The Velvet Underground)- Venus In Furs

The Velvet Underground is in my top 10 of favorite bands of all time. Lou Reed has always been an inspiration to me in the way he writes music and tells stories through his lyrics. Almost 15 years ago Dave Navarro released a solo album called Trust No One that was really quite good. On this album he included a cover of “Venus In Furs.” This is a different approach to this song than the original, and is quite good. Take a listen to Dave’s and the original, and experience something intriguing. On a side note, Roy Mayorga (Soulfly, Stone Sour, Nausea, Abloom) played drums on this track.

Dave Navarro- Venus In Furs:

 

The Velvet Underground- Venus In Furs:

Lists: Singer/Guitarists

In no particular order:

1. James Hetfield- Metallica
2. Jerry Cantrell- Alice In Chains
3. Clint Lowery- Sevendust
4. Stephen Brodsky- Cave In
5. Ken Andrews- Failure
6. Scott Kelly- Neurosis
7. Eric Clapton
8. John Fogerty- Creedence Clearwater Revival
9. Dave Grohl- Foo Fighters
10. Neil Young
11. Chris Cornell- Soundgarden
12. Kurt Cobain- Nirvana
13. Brian Molko- Placebo
14. Josh Homme- Queens Of The Stone Age
15. Jimi Hendrix
16: Jim Ward- Sparta
17. Lou Reed
18. Billy Corgan- Smashing Pumpkins
19. Matt Talbott- Hum