I turned to Lester Bangs today to ponder Lou Reed, the totally encrypted enigma of rock who just died, as you probably know.
I tried to find the text of Bangs’ legendary interview with Lou Reed from Creem, Let us Now Praise Famous Death Dwarves, , and I found it as a PDF, but WordPress won’t let me link it, so I can’t provide it, at least not right now.
Has there been a single rock critic with a heart, since Bangs?
Not that I am aware of. I worked at SPIN magazine for something like 13 years, but I was “non music,” so not permitted to even dream about having valid opinions on these things. Male business.
In any case, here’s a profoundly prophetic quote from the anti-snob Lester, who tried in vain, single-handedly, to give rock meaning, soul, and heart–redeem it from its sadomasochistic, misogynist impulses, which a rock-worshipping cult refuses to take on:
“The only questions worth asking today are whether humans are going to have any emotions tomorrow, and what the quality of life will be if the answer is no.”
It was not until I saw Lou Reed’s Berlin, the documentary film featuring Reed performing the crushingly depressing Berlin that I understood the depth of emotion and paradoxical beauty of that otherworldly album.
It’s the first Schnabel film I managed to feel anything for. It’s quite stunning and if you haven’t seen it you should.