Lou Reed, dead.
Lou Reed was subversive. I first encountered his music while reading the school bus in junior high, which is a strange place to listen to the Velvet Underground, I tell you. There I was, bored out of my skull, trapped on those uncomfortable bench seats, on my way to a suburban public school that I detested, and the driver would just turn the radio to the local pop station and turn it up loud to keep us distracted. And so I’d sit there, listening intently to a guy singing about the wild side of New York, wondering if the administrators at school had ever listened to these lyrics, because they made me feel funny inside, and want to get out and go get a cheap Greyhound ticket and end up in a different kind of bus station in a big city on the other side of the continent.
And then, once we arrived at school, they always played some conservative anecdote by that colossal douche, Paul Harvey. My poor brain, whipsawed between Reed and Harvey. I knew which one spoke truth, at least. But still, I think I figured out quickly that no, the principal of the school never listened to the lyrics of the songs we liked. Reed. Cooper. Joplin. Zappa. If he did, that bus would have gone silent.
He’s one of those people who pounded at the conventionality we were supposed to be molded into. I have to thank all the people who have done that over the years.