He was 71 years old. I don’t think his death is particularly tragic (he had a great run, and accomplished things in his life that ordinary mortals could never even dream of), but it’s definitely a loss for the rest of mankind.
Long before there were internet memes, the standard line on the Velvet Underground was that they only sold 10,000 copies of the their first album, but every one of those 10,000 people started a band.
A man could have a worse legacy in life.
And that doesn’t even begin to address his post-Velvets solo career, which was by turns astounding, perplexing, confounding, lifesaving, and mindblowing. I couldn’t even pick a favourite album out of all that gold, much less a favourite song. Through good times and (in particular) bad, he was always there in the 80s and 90s, and in all the years since, his music has never been out of reach.
I’ve been listening to a lot of his music over the past few days, rediscovering some of it (“The Blue Mask”, “The Gun”), and renewing my faith in the ones I’ve always loved (“Coney Island Baby”, “Dirty Blvd.”). One song in particular, from the criminally-underrated New Sensations , was already in heavy rotation on a new playlist of mine, the “2013 Survival Mix”. I even happened to listen to it on Saturday night before I went out to a friend’s Halloween party.
His deadpan delivery always got me, along with the sense that the characters in his songs were all real people (and indeed, a lot of them were. Look up the lyrics to “Walk on the Wild Side” sometime). Plus, that rhythm guitar defined whole genres of music.
At any rate, I’m just glad to have grown up in a world with Lou Reed in it. Oh, and that song I mentioned? It’s “Turn to Me.” Exactly the kind of elegy he deserves.
A new guitar t-shirt for you this week:
Available here in the .
… till the big show with Mojave . Pretty psyched for this, I’ve gotta say. There’ll be a whole slew of new art from me, nearly all of which will be for sale (two pieces are sold already).
Plus I haven’t seen Lisa and Rev. Paul in ages. And all sorts of friends, new and old, will be in attendance. Also, the Tipper is a great venue all around.
If you’re in Vancouver on the 29th and looking for something to do, come by the Tipper for some music and art:
So I may have mentioned this before, but I don’t always have an easy time of it when I’m writing for this blog. The delays you see generally happen because I just can’t think of anything to write about, and I don’t want to cram the blog with filler.
The thing is, though, I sweat it so much that I practically get performance anxiety. Which is ridiculous all on its own. I mean, it’s only a damn blog entry, y’know?
Anyhow, it occurred to me that there’s one arrow in my creative quiver that I haven’t really used on the blog – I’m a compulsive listmaker. Have been all my life, and it’s still my strongest organizational tool as well. (Hell, let’s be honest. It’s really the only way I know of processing and sorting information.)
Also, 2011′s been, to be frank, a fucking hellish year. January was brutal – money problems, sickness, general anxiety and stress, cabin fever, all sorts of ugly highschool-drama bullshit, depression, no work, short days with little sunlight, post-holiday anticlimax… you name it, I had it. Looking back on it now, it’s like looking at somebody else stumbling through a horror movie. I was definitely operating on the frayed ends of sanity.
February, in comparison, was infinitely better. Not without its share of grief, but the overall amount of trauma was greatly reduced, and things just started to happen . March, so far, has been another giant step up – a huge amount of work dropped into my lap when it was desperately needed, I’ve got a bunch of new art commissions, I’ve made some new friends, and of course there’s an art show the end of April to prep for. Plus next month will feature some live bands and a friend I haven’t seen in a year coming to town for a brief, steak-and-whiskey-filled visit.
By now you’re saying, “where’s the damn list ?” Well, I’m getting to that. More than anything (except the art itself, obviously), what’s gotten me through these Dark Times was music. I’ve heard a ton of new(ish) stuff, and it gave me what I needed to keep the hangman from my door.
So without further ado, here’s the good stuff; it kept my creative juices flowing, too:
- Social Distortion: Hard Times And Nursery Rhymes . This band has been a fave of mine for many years. Sometimes it’s like a gutpunch; other times it’s like hanging out with an old friend. And this new album is as strong as anything they’ve ever done. Highly recommended.
- The Heavy: The House That Dirt Built , and Great Vengeance & Furious Fire . These guys were recommended to me by fellow artiste and all-around swell guy Snakebite Cortez. They’ve got a great sound, clever lyrics and a great party vibe.
- The Californian: Sea of Love . Also recommended by a friend (in this case, jazz bassist and brother in arms Lyman Medeiros, of The Funky Supervillain fame). They’ve got a bit of a surf vibe to them, with inevitable influences by the Pixies.
- Slash: Slash . I resisted listening to this album for a long time, mainly because of some negative reviews I read when it first came out, plus the presence of some questionable guests on it. Then I ran into my old buddy Scott MacLeod, and he said I should at least give the song with Ian Astbury a chance. Turns out the whole album is damn strong from start to finish.
- Gin Wigmore: Holy Smoke . Strong writing, a quirky voice, good performances all around. Although I’ve gotta admit, “Dying Day” was a bit too much for me at times.
- Dropkick Murphys: Going Out in Style . God, I love this band. I’ve been a fan for years, and this album absolutely does not disappoint.
- Michael Franti & Spearhead: “Say Hey (I Love You)”. A pure, sweet, honest sentiment, and a damn danceable tune. First heard it on an episode of Weeds .
- Cee Lo Green: “Fuck You”. Because sometimes it just has to be said.
- Hugo: “99 Problems”. An odd little cover of a Jay-Z tune – some tasty guitar, great percussion, and a sentiment I can definitely get behind.
Thank you one and all; I couldn’t have done it without you.