|"There's only X amount of time. You can do whatever you want with that time. It's your time." - Lou Reed|
On October 27, 2013 Lou Reed died, at the age of 71. The cause of death was liver disease. The news of his death spread fast and the shock waves were felt by everyone who loved him. Family, friends and fans poured their heavy hearts out. The heartbreaking news rocked the music world. Music masters the caliber of Iggy Pop, Lenny Kravitz, Ryan Adam, and David Bowie posted their tributes to a legend. Even Elijah Wood and Miley Cyrus took to Twitter to pay their respects.
Given enough time, everyone leaves this world. Some people pass and nobody notices, or cares, but certain people die and it is felt all around the world. I think it's all about how you live. It's also about the mark you leave on the world and the people in it. Lou Reed inspired and influenced millions of people.
I could go on forever about Lou and the Velvet Underground, but it's really on each person to come to them on their own. Everything I can say is how their music has impacted me. There are facts to support how incredible Lou Reed was. There are also a million reason to explore the Velvet Underground, and his solo work. I can't list them all. All I can do is explain how Lou Reed influenced me and how upset I am about his death.
The first time that I hear "Take A Walk On The Wild Side," I became a fan of Lou Reed. I was just a kid, but I loved it. I wanted to hear more. I have always been very into music, and devoting the time to learn everything I could about the bands I liked was just a part of it. I wanted to hear every song and play every album to pieces.
Being confined to the Midwest, and stuck in a vacuum of awful music, I didn't have the chance to really get into Lou Reed the way I wanted to. My opportunity didn't come until after I was in college. I had picked up a love for the Velvet Underground from their music being a part of films, but once I made the connection between Reed and the Velvet Underground, nothing could stop me from diving headfirst into their great music.
As a tribute to the Velvet Underground, my first published short story was about a cocky bartender doing battle with a vampire vixen. The story had nothing to do with the band or the style of their music, but the bartender's name was Jackson Reed. If you want to read this story, it's available in my book, Eclectic Collection. It's called Femme Fatale, a title taken from a track on Velvet Underground's debut album.
Their debut album was the soundtrack to my time as a journalism major, at Vincennes University. The rest of the Velvet Underground albums followed, and I had found my favorite band. As I left the journalism program and turned my attention to English, I gravitated more to Lou Reed's solo work. I found a lot of amazing music, while I was in college, but I found myself engulfed in Lou Reed's music again, when I moved to St. Louis.
In St. Louis, I took a job as a manager in a record store. I was able to get my hands on all kinds of music. I got my hands on Lou Reed's New York. it was the right album at the right time. I wanted to write character like I heard about in Velvet Underground and Lou Reed songs. It was dark and gritty without being lame and fake. I realized that Lou Reed captured real life in his songs. It was transgressive. just the way I liked it. It was the wake up call to write the stories and characters I wanted.
In 1982, Brian Eno made the often repeated statement that while the first Velvet Underground album may have sold only 30,000 copies in its early years, "everyone who bought those 30,000 copies started a band." I wasn't one of the people who bought one of those 30,000 copies. I didn't form a band, but I became an author. Reference to the Velvet underground, and Lou Reed's influence can be found all over my work. I have grown so much as a writer, because of my love for this music. Other artist have inspired me. I would be a liar if I gave all of the credit to Reed. Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Elvis Costello, and others have been influential, but Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground will always be favorites of mine.
The death of Lou Reed is hard for me. It's a loss to the entire world. I was never able to see him perform, but I am forever changed because of what his music means to me.
Read more about Lou Reed.
Explore the Velvet Underground and Lou Reed's solo work.
Lou Reed - New York
R.I.P. Lou Reed