Sunday's news that Lou Reed died shook me up. It shouldn't have been a shock. He'd been living on borrowed time since the 70's. Yet there I was on the verge of tears...at any minute I might have become a blubbering fool. But I kept my cool. I had to for Lou. After all; he was the coolest (sorry Fonzie, but you're like the Ted Nugent version of cool - all sex and rock'n'roll without the drugs).
I discovered the Velvet Underground in high school. Where The Doors had been bubblegum acid trips, the VU was the sound of the junkie gutter. Depravity. Ultimate rebellion. I was soon so into them that I was even checking out Delmore Schwartz books. I dipped into dreams being responsibilities. I bought Transformer and thought about hitting people with flowers. I learned guitar to "Sweet Jane" and formed a band. And then another one. And another one.
I've been listening to the Coney Island Baby album often since Sunday. It was a "comeback" album for Lou after Metal Machine Music had soured most everyone, besides Lester Bangs, on him. Coney Island Baby was received well by the critics. I think it even sold a few copies. I didn't get this record until I was pushing middle age and my first listen was one of mild amusement. That has changed over the years. I've come to admire it's studio sheen mixed with confessional Lou lyrics. It has a stately gutter punk grandeur to it that I like. It has comforted me in this first week without Lou.