Play In Peace, Lou Reed… Thoughts And Reflections On A True Rock ‘N Roll Pioneer

I had a dream…

It was on odd dream…

It was a long while ago, but I wanted to go back to NYC in the ’60s, make music, do a lot of things I was not supposed to do and hang out with the likes of Andy Warhol, Patti Smith and Lou Reed.  Some part of me wanted… maybe still wants to be a bohemian… to be free and carefree… Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished… but probably not very realistic.

The funny thing is, I am not really a musician.  Yes, I play harmonica… but not as well as I could… and not nearly as often as I should.  Like too many things in my life, I start and stop… Way too much.

I mean I still hold onto those dreams of Rock n’ Roll stardom.  What guy doesn’t?  The Rock stars are skinny, get all the girls, have a ton of money and their lives seem pretty damn sweet.  Naive?  Of course.

I am on the periphery of show business… I know how much hard work and heartbreak goes into the pursuit of a creative career… into the life of an artist, but still…

It’s hard not to look at Mick Jagger or Paul McCartney and go, damn that is one hell of a life.

What’s also funny is that I don’t do drugs… like almost zero.  I have become somewhat fascinated with smoking pot from one of these hip and trendy mist/vapor pipes, as the actual smoke does not do well by me.  But so far it is only a fascination… and I think the reason for the dream was part of that eternal debate as to whether or not drugs help creativity.  Or whether or not certain things just stop your brain from the screaming and shouting.  Lots of discussions on pot right now…  It seems that those under 25 should stay away… until all their brain cells are fully developed… Uh, yeah… like they will… Or if you want all your swimmers and eggs to work…

But new research says it is not addictive and I am guessing it will be legal within the next five years.  Who the hell knows… science and research seem to have a different answer every week.

It’s like my Dad once said when my Mom got mad at him for eating chocolate cake… “Why shouldn’t I eat it?  What if they suddenly tell us that chocolate cake is really good for us and I’ve skipped it all these years?!”

The key, of course, is moderation.  But too many of us do not live that way.

Based on the lives cut too short and the post-drug use consequences… Jimi Hendrix, John Bonham, Keith Moon, etc., etc… the answer seems to be a resounding no.  Same thing with steroids… Sure, you get years of play at a “higher” level, but at what price?  Severe health risks… eventual disgrace… and the potential to be shunned by the very group you took the drugs for to begin with.  Not worth it.

So… given all that… we are still fascinated by certain periods of time… specific people and places… and the history of Rock n’ Roll… especially when it collides with art and poetry and explodes into a frenzy of creativity, collaboration, community and chaos… but chaos in the best, most revolutionary sense of the word…

Rock is at its finest when it is urgent… a call to action… a call and response or release… a movement…

And that was a long and winding road to Lou Reed.  I am linking to the Rolling Stone obit here.

I am also listening to Lou Reed at the Apollo Theatre, Glasgow from 9/24/73 right now… I need it.  Thanks Wolfgang’s Vault!  It is soothing… revelatory… For both hearing Lou and the total artistic immersion I had in Scotland at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  Talk about memories of being a Rock star…

Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone says “With the Velvet Underground in the late Sixties, Reed fused street-level urgency with elements of European avant-garde music, marrying beauty and noise, while bringing a whole new lyrical honesty to rock & roll poetry.”

My in to Lou Reed was “Take A Walk On The Wild Side”… I don’t think that song was ever OFF the radio.  In fact, I remember hearing it from the time I started listening to Rock through right now… Then it was “Sweet Jane”, which would become a favorite song of mine… (Yes, I often work backwards)… and then… much later in life, it was a total exploration… an understanding… a communion…

“Oh! Sweet Nothin'” is killing me right now… Killing me… Check out some other great tracks on Rolling Stone here…

The Velvet Underground & Nico is now on my must see list… The Warhol film… Not sure why I missed it to begin with, but there you go.  Death pushes us to reflect, to re-explore and rediscover.

Lou pushed boundaries… He as always a rebel and a rouser… This is not a soul we want at rest, but alive and kicking and knocking some doors down.  So find peace, yes… find ease and comfort, of course… but by all means keep pushing us around, Lou… and play in and from the heavens.  Lord knows we need the music.

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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Live Music Reviews, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

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