SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
“And something flickered for a minute, and then it vanished and was gone”

Monday, Oct 28, 2013

* “What do you think I’d see / If I could walk away from me.”

Those lines from “Candy Says” pretty much sum up the late Lou Reed. Always struggling to get outside of himself to chronicle his own life and the rarely told stories of the untold thousands who lived existences beyond the “norm,” the losers, ne’er do wells and lowlifes who are routinely brushed aside as so much detritus.

More biting than Dylan, more painfully self-aware than Lennon, more accessible than Waits, less self-involved than HST and Bukowski. Lou Reed was one of our greatest underground American treasures.

* Consider, for a moment, his lyrics in “Heroin“…

Heroin, be the death of me
Heroin, it’s my wife and it’s my life
Because a mainer to my vein
Leads to a center in my head
And then I’m better off than dead

The song, as a whole, tells more about junky rationale than anything written.

* Or “Cremation,” written after the death of a close friend…

Will your ashes float like some foreign boat
or will they sink absorbed forever
Will the Atlantic Coast
have its final boast
Nothing else contained you ever

Morbid and touching at once.

* He was the embodiment of what the Beat poets used to only dream about - a bridge between poetry and music

“One chord is fine,” he once said, alluding to his bare-bones guitar style. “Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you’re into jazz.”

* “New York” will forever be one of my favorite albums. It starts with the hard driving guitars of “Romeo had Juliette“…

Romeo Rodriguez squares
his shoulders and curses Jesus
runs a comb through his black pony-tail
He’s thinking of his lonely room
the sink that by his bed gives off a stink
then smells her perfume in his eyes
And her voice was like a bell

* And moves to the horrors of poverty in “Dirty Boulevard“…

And back at the Wilshire, Pedro sits there dreaming
he’s found a book on magic in a garbage can
He looks at the pictures and stares at the cracked ceiling
“At the count of 3″ he says, “I hope I can disappear”
And fly, fly away

* The climax comes with Reed’s roar at the injustices of everyday existence in the closest he ever got to a rock anthem, “Busload of Faith“…

You can’t depend on no miracle
you can’t depend on the air
You can’t depend on a wise man
you can’t find ‘em because they’re not there

You can depend on cruelty
crudity of thought and sound
You can depend on the worst always happening
You need a busload of faith to get by

The futility of life and the path to hope all rolled into one, perfectly summing up the Lou Reed canon better than anything I could ever write.

* I’ll close with this

“All through this, I’ve always thought that if you thought of all of it as a book then you have the Great American Novel, every record as a chapter,” he told Rolling Stone in 1987. “They’re all in chronological order. You take the whole thing, stack it and listen to it in order, there’s my Great American Novel.”

No question today out of respect for the departed.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


31 Comments
  1. - MKA1985 - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 1:59 pm:

    Didn’t think I’d read one of the better Lou Reed eulogies from a state government and politics blog. Nicely done, Rich.


  2. - Amalia - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 2:00 pm:

    this is just a huge loss for the world. I’m so deeply sad about his death. did not see Lou perform live until the early ’90s, but so glad I did. Not just a great songwriter and performer, but an essential part of the art and rock music world, an influencer, giver, a legend. condolences to his wife Laurie.


  3. - vise77 - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 2:04 pm:

    Lou Reed was not my favorite rocker–he didn’t hit me in the gut as much as he did for some others–but I have nothing but massive respect for what he did, how he wasn’t afraid to fail (and thrive, of course) and how much he meant to other serious rock fans. Much of the music I grew up loving would not have been possible without Reed.


  4. - walkinfool - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 2:08 pm:

    Amen


  5. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 2:09 pm:

    My first exposure to Lou Reed was his “Perfect Day” as the soundtrack to a scene in the movie, trainspotting. I later fell in love with a lot more of his work, but for me that song was just always the epitome of what I loved about listening to him. So beautiful yet melancholy, so nostalgic but raw, so warm but discomfiting.


  6. - wordslinger - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    Some people like to go out dancing
    And other people, (like us) they gotta work
    And there’s always some evil mothers
    they’ll tell you life is full of dirt.
    And the women never really faint,
    and the villans always blink their eyes.
    And the children are the only ones who blush.
    ‘Cause life is just to die.

    But, anyone who has a heart
    wouldn’t want to turn around and break it…
    and anyone who ever played the part..
    he wouldn’t want to turn around and fake it…
    Sweet Jane…


  7. - RIP Lou - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 2:17 pm:

    Rich, you could have used one of my favorite lines about yourself, from Sweet Jane:

    And other peoples, they have to work, just watch me now.


  8. - 47th Ward - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 2:33 pm:

    Jenny said, when she was just five years old
    You know there’s nothin’ happening at all
    Every time she put on the radio
    There was nothin’ goin’ down at all
    Not at all

    One fine mornin’, she puts on a New York station
    And she couldn’t believe what she heard at all
    She started dancin’ to that fine-fine-fine-fine music
    Ooohhh, her life was saved by rock ‘n’ roll
    Hey baby, rock ‘n’ roll


  9. - bored now - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 2:33 pm:

    i always loved the quote that if only 30,000 people bought the first velvet underground record, everyone of them started a band. music did have huge significance in this period of our history, and many of the songwriters were the real storytellers and poets of the age. lou reed was both, and d**n good at it…


  10. - zatoichi - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 2:37 pm:

    Saw Lou twice about 10 years apart. His voice, and bands with amazing musicians, created tension filled atmospheres that just pulled you in and you went for the ride. He was just different, an acquired taste that came with time, but always ahead of the pack. Couldn’t get enough of Berlin.


  11. - Former Titan - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 2:39 pm:

    New Sensations was a staple at college house parties in the mid-80s. “Turn to Me” remains one of my favorite songs about friendship and reaching out when things aren’t going well. Not an uncommon theme by any stretch, but Lou just had a unique way of expressing those circumstances. RIP.

    When your teeth are ground down to the bone
    and there’s nothing between your legs
    And some friend died of something
    that you can’t pronounce,
    Remember, I’m the one who loves you
    hey baby, you can always give me a call
    Turn to me, turn to me
    turn to me

    You can’t pay your rent, your boss is an idiot
    and your apartment has no heat
    And your wife says, “Maybe
    it’s time to have a child”
    Remember, I’m the one who loves you
    and you can always give me a call
    Turn to me, turn to me
    turn to me

    I’m just a phone call away


  12. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 2:44 pm:

    Lou had to be dynamite at cocktail parties


  13. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 2:56 pm:

    I always found dark comfort in this line from New York’s “Sick of You” and Reed’s almost sunny delivery of it.

    Well one thing is certainly true
    no one here knows what to do
    I’m Sick of You


  14. - Anonymous - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 3:23 pm:

    A dark, dark, man. Very talented. I saw him twice in concert in the mid 80s. Great shows. I guess New Sensations would be his one “up” album even though his buddy George was running around with that killing stick.


  15. - railrat - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 3:27 pm:

    AAHHH the Aragon “brawlroom” 1970ish’the “haze” the vomit the etc. etc. and Lou Reed !!! what a great time !!!


  16. - Observing - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 3:32 pm:

    I still have my vinyl of Nico and the Velvet Underground. A great classic. Wish it still had the banana peel; think one of my pals smoked it. Reed is a loss of a major rock and social influence. Peace.


  17. - Buster - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 3:52 pm:

    Well said, Rich.
    Lou was a rare American original.


  18. - Wensicia - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 4:16 pm:

    He found incredible ways to express his genius and frustration at the same time. He’ll be missed.


  19. - 10th Indy - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 4:40 pm:

    Hearing the news, I was undone and remain without words. Thanks Rich for writing some of them and reminding us that the best way to honor a poet is with their poems.

    Just a perfect day
    you made me forget myself
    I thought I was
    someone else, someone good

    Oh, it’s such a perfect day
    I’m glad I spent it with you
    Oh, such a perfect day
    You just keep me hanging on


  20. - A guy... - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 5:04 pm:

    Met him. He was the goods.


  21. - ArchPundit - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 5:34 pm:

    New York has been in my head since I heard last night–those three songs Rich points out are some of the most powerful as I’ve ever heard.

    I discovered VU from the covers R.E.M. had on Dead Letter Office and VU taught me how to truly appreciate music. New York came out in January of my senior year in high school I bought it that first day or two–he had a fair amount of coverage on MTV at the time for it–back when they not just played music, but good music some times. It blew me away and I still play it on a regular rotation.


  22. - Just The Way It Is One - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 5:35 pm:

    So sad to see another American Classic gone. At least his music, and many of the moving lyrics as were considerately quoted for this Post, will live on forever. I especially loved his line about how “you need a busload of faith to get by,” in which the heart of his message bears the Title of his Song. As we can see in such lyrics, boy, in so many ways he was just tellin’ it like it is…


  23. - MrJM - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 5:45 pm:

    “I am tired. I am weary. I could sleep for a thousand years.”

    Amen and amen.

    – MrJM


  24. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 6:13 pm:

    Great Post, nothing of any real substance to add, but thatnks to all of you for giving me something to read, and understand the context better of the man, and why I need to know more about Lou Reed.

    Thanks.


  25. - Just the Facts - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 7:19 pm:

    Outstanding post Rich. You captured it.


  26. - Way South of the Border - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 8:06 pm:

    Rich, when you are ready to get out of politics, I hope you will consider a career in rock criticism, as this is one of the better pieces I’ve ever read anywhere. Thanks for a nice dose of poetry on a Monday.


  27. - Amalia - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 8:16 pm:

    @ A guy, do tell about meeting Lou!


  28. - vickianna - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 8:48 pm:

    What a beautiful tribute. Unexpected and delightful.


  29. - Sickguy chicago - Monday, Oct 28, 13 @ 11:29 pm:

    Rich thanks for mentioning the New York album. That record was the soundtrack to my political awakening as a college student. Not a single one of the half dozen obits i read today mentioned it. That record marked the moment when i grew up.

    Gotta give props to that guitar too - his deceptively simple grit cut like a blade, just like the lyrics. The intro to busload of faith is like a broken beer bottle…angular and jagged, menacing and sharp.

    Mentioning him in same breath as Bukowski is spot on. Keen observers of the darker sides. Unflinching and in some ways romantic.

    A very well written homage Rich. Best I’ve yet read. Ill be cranking that record in the car tomorrow.


  30. - bored now - Tuesday, Oct 29, 13 @ 7:47 am:

    fitting for many of us: “His work spans my life and is woven into it”…


  31. - MrJM - Tuesday, Oct 29, 13 @ 8:11 am:

    Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, Vatican culture minister:

    Oh, it’s such a perfect day
    I’m glad I spend it with you
    Oh, such a perfect day
    You just keep me hanging on
    (Lou Reed)

    Like I said, Amen.

    – MrJM


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* Fracking rules finally unveiled
* Question of the day
* A big IDOT roundup
* Even Steven, for now
* *** UPDATED x1 - Confirmed *** Report: Libertarians file charges
* Big guys dinged a bit, but little guys helped a lot
* Today's photo
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Sony teases just how water resistant its IFA products will be
        * Pocket Lock locks your phone automatically when you put it in a pocket
        * Weak Control adds control to Android devices with mouse and keyboard
        * Five smartphone problems you’d think they’d have fixed by now
        * Moto G2 Indian pricing leaked
        * Samsung to unveil new smart home products at IFA 2014
        * WhatsApp Messenger update adds Android Wear support

        * How Facebook’s newest teen engineer supported his family with apps until cashing in
        * Answer "What Do You Do?" by Explaining How You Solve Problems
        * BlackBerry Blend To Launch Alongside The Passport
        * Microsoft Increasing OneDrive File Size Limit From 2GB
        * Additional Nexus 9 Details Surface Online
        * Bania.io Maintains Your Productivity Chain with a Daily Email
        * Apple Says It Is “Actively Investigating” Celeb Photo Hack

        * Noesi looks to continue push toward season's end
        * Williams conveys important message to Little Leaguers
        * Podcast: Dunn Deal
        * Thoughts on the Adrian Nieto experiment
        * Breaks turn in Quintana's favor against Tigers
        * Molina outrighted; roster spot opens up for Rodon
        * Wilkins, Snodgress part of White Sox shuffle


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Why is Gov. Pat Quinn living off minimum wage f.....
        * Why is Gov. Pat Quinn living off minimum wage f.....
        * Unions Still Big Political Players..
        * Politicians gear up for election season..
        * OP-ED: What FDR Actually Said And What Bruce Ra.....
        * GOP sees gains in Illinois voters tuning out..
        * Governor Quinn takes on minimum wage challenge..


        * Cubs honor Jackie Robinson West little leaguers
        * Man found dead in central Illinois was hit by car
        * US eating habits improve a bit _ except among poor
        * Study: Action-packed TV might make you snack more
        * Patients to start applying for medical marijuana
        * US Rep. Duckworth announces she's pregnant
        * Bloomington shuttle bus driver charged with DUI
        * Chicago police: Murders down, shootings up
        * Little League team honored with parade in Vegas
        * Rauner vow revives governor's mansion question

        * Does the governor need to live in the Executive Mansion?
        * Statehouse Insider: Hands off investments
        * State of unions: AFSCME wins some, loses some on outsourcing
        * State of unions: Domination of Illinois' workforce becomes campaign issue
        * State of unions: Lawmakers approved keeping some workers out of unions
        * State of Illinois posts applications for medical marijuana businesses
        * DNR issues long-awaited ‘fracking’ rules
        * Quinn grants 38 clemency requests
        * IDNR issues long-awaited ‘fracking’ rules
        * Court rules state retirees can stop paying health insurance premiums

        * If only it were this easy to lift share prices
        * 'Chicagoland' star returns to school
        * Amid re-election fight, Quinn pushes through a tax on business
        * Chicago's worst IPO in 2014: Ryerson
        * Why ComEd is worried about your smartphone


        * Elmhurst couple in murder-suicide were doting parents: neighbors
        * When Europe pays  kidnappers, Americans die
        * CPS can cheer, but challenges remain
        * ‘Long way to go’ but Roseland Hospital showing signs of stability
        * Rogers Park woman killed in crash on Tri-State Tollway near Schiller Park
        * Prosecutors: Man in CTA stabbing permanently disfigured
        * CTA offering free rides for students on first day of school
        * Alvarez: Crime lab backlog held up DNA evidence on Evans’ gun
        * More rain, storms possible for rest of Labor Day
        * Pullman Park needs Congress’ support


        * Survivors of Elmhurst family laud parents 'unwavering' commitment
        * 1 dead, 13 hurt in shootings across city
        * I-90/94 reopened after semi rollover leads to inbound closure
        * 1 in custody after shooting in Oak Forest forest preserve
        * Body of Chicago Heights boy, 14, pulled from Kankakee River
        * Rainstorms part of Labor Day forecast
        * Tammy Duckworth pregnant, expecting girl in December
        * Cops: Man batters woman and child, throws toddler from vehicle
        * Tougher rules ahead on domestic abuse
        * New sculpture in Niles to be dedicated to St. John Paul II


        * Newborn Found Alive In Jacksonville Trash Bin
        * DNR Releases Fracking Rules
        * Listen to State Week - August 29, 2014
        * 'Belleville' The Movie Is NOT A Documentary
        * Journalist and doctor encourage honest conversations about death
        * Undocumented Immigrants Call For Presidential Orders
        * State Retirees To Stop Paying Health Premiums
        * How America's most plentiful bird disappeared
        * Pregnant Workers To Be Protected Under New Law
        * Updates From The Prairie Capital Convention Center


        * Does the governor need to live in the Executive Mansion?
        * Our Opinion: Driving into floodwater a deadly practice
        * Angie Muhs: A debate in Springfield would send the right message from candidates
        * Charles Krauthammer: Lower corporate tax rates. Now.
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Dillman, Watson looking at possible runs for alderman
        * Statehouse Insider: Hands off investments
        * Statehouse Insider: Hands off investments
        * State of unions: AFSCME wins some, loses some on outsourcing
        * State of unions: Domination of Illinois' workforce becomes campaign issue
        * State of unions: Lawmakers approved keeping some workers out of unions


        * Wet weather on the way
        * Man found dead in central Illinois was hit by car
        * Labor Day 2014
        * AFGC able to donate to organizations
        * For Kids’ Sake 4th Annual 5K Run/Walk-a-Thon to be held Sept. 26
        * Run with Carl leaves 20-year legacy
        * Durbin, Bustos hit Republicans on jobs policies
        * Salukis crack FCS top 25 at No. 25
        * Williamson County HCE members attend workshop
        * Rain voted out of forecast for a fair-weather parade


        * Cicero police arrest bank robbery suspect
        * Images: Labor Day in the suburbs
        * AP Top Ten: How they fared in Week 1
        * Alibaba IPO comes with unusual structure
        * Republican family picnic Sept. 14 in Busse Woods

        * Rep. Luis Gutiérrez: Chicago Murder Outbre...
        * As 145 Arrested in White House Protest, Re...
        * Luis Gutierrez and the Amnesty Stack - Rus...
        * Rep. Gutierrez on how Obama may act on ill...
        * Gutiérrez: Obama Amnesty Forced By 'Anti-i...
        * Rep. Gutierrez: Obama Can Use Executive Ac...
        * Gutiérrez: Obama's legacy on the line with...
        * Emanuel, Gutierrez: Chicago Will Lead upon...
        * Rahm, Gutierrez want Chicago to be model f...
        * Gutiérrez: Dems Weren't True to Their Valu...

        * Bright Side: Peoria Labor Day parade sees ......
        * Quinn, Rauner ad war at full throttle...
        * Quinn, Rauner ad war at full throttle...
        * At national election turning point, all is......
        * At national election turning point, all is......

        * Rubio, Colleagues Call For Latin American ......
        * Putin Hopeful Russia Won’t Lose Right to H......

        * Report: Minimum Wage Increase Would Help 1 In 5 Illinois Children
        * Southwest Side Chicagoans Question TIF Use In 23rd Ward (UPDATED)
        * Harris v. Quinn: Another Nail In The Coffin Or Shot In The Arm For Labor?
        * OP-ED: What FDR Actually Said And What Bruce Rauner Doesn't Get This Labor Day
        * Election 2014
        * Guest Post: Harris v. Quinn: Another Nail In The Coffin Or Shot In The Arm For Labor?
        * Congresswoman Schakowsky Participates In 'Come Care With Me Day'
        * Why New York City Opposed Abe Lincoln
        * New London school board takes back its offer to “Dr.” Terrence Carter.
        * Greg Hinz. Both Quinn and Rauner bob and weave on pension fix.


        * Governor Quinn Invests $102 Million in High-Speed Rail Upgrades on Chicago-St. Louis Line - Funding Will Improve Capacity, Safety on Joliet-Dwight Segment
        * Quinn Refuses to Answer New IDOT Questions
        * IDNR Delivers Revised Rules to Implement Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act - Rules strengthened to ensure public participation, improve transparency, toughen penalties and protect the environment
        * Governor Quinn Proclaims September as “Recovery Month” in Illinois - Encourages people to speak up about mental illness and substance abuse
        * Governor Quinn Dedicates Jane Byrne Interchange - Governor Renames Circle Interchange in Honor of Chicago’s First and Only Female Mayor to Date




            Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller