Lou Reed, RIP


For decades this ironic, very funny mini-poster has been displayed wherever I have happened to be living. It comes from a March 1975 issue of Creem magazine that contained the infamous Lester Bangs take-down interview of Reed.

A friend living in an old rooming-house in Rochester, New York introduced me to the Velvet Underground in the summer of 1980 or ’81. He put “Loaded” on a little record player. It was an utterly staggering experience for me.

The photo is by the wonderful Michael Zagaris.

Addendum [30 Oct.]: Here is an article by Marc Campbell on “Rachel,” Lou Reed’s transsexual muse at the time the Creem story was written. Writes Campbell:

In an article for Creem, Lester Bangs’s description of Rachel was so vicious that Reed never forgave his friend and staunchest supporter. Bangs described Rachel with stunning insensitivity:

“[L]ong dark hair, bearded, tits, grotesque, abject… like something that might have grovellingly scampered in when Lou opened the door to get milk or papers in the morning.”

Bangs later apologized, claiming it was one of the few things he ever regretted writing.

Others found Rachel beautiful and elegant. She was half Mexican Indian and, in the words of John Cale, a “long-limbed, long-haired transvestite.” Bangs, in a less bitchy mood, wrote that “If the album Berlin was melted down and reshaped in human form, it would be this creature.” Which, depending how you felt about that album, could be seen as quite complimentary

There’s no question that she made the moody Reed a happier person.

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