Lou Reed


Lou Reed 1998

Portrait Diary

By Timothy Greenfield-Sanders in COVER Magazine, vol.12, no.3, 1998

May 11 1997: Start of production as Director and Producer of Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart, for Susan Lacy's "American Masters" series. Fly to Amsterdam with co-producer Karen Bernstein and Senior Researcher Karin Greenfield-Sanders to film Lou Reed and Robert Wilson production of Time Rocker.

June 4, 1997: First interview for the film: David Bowie in London.

Sept. 17, 1997: Start avid editing Lou Reed film with Jed Parker.

Dec. 24, 1997: Lou Reed film completed.

May 14, 1998: Lou Reed: Rock and Roll Heart opens at the Anthology Film Archive for a two week run.

Favorite Quotes from the Film

LOU REED: I was interested in subject matter that hadn't been covered in pop and rock. I had dreams of writing certain kinds of things. I was influenced by Burroughs and Ginsberg. Raymond Chandler and Hubert Selby, I thought. that's what I want to do except with a drum and guitar.

DAVID BOWIE: Lou Reed brought rock and roll into the avant-garde.

JOHN CALE: Lou was lyrically really incredible in a different sort of way. I think Lou created mythology on the street.

LOU REED: I think of New York as being something almost like my DNA. you know, I have my parents and then there's New York.

RONNIE CUTRONE: The 60's have a reputation of being, you know, totally cool; and the fact was there was 35 cool people in New York at the time, tops.

JIM CARROLL: The Velvet Underground was like the band but, as Lou once said, everyone thinks we're great but we don't have a pot to piss in.

DAVID BYRNE: l love the song "Walk On The Wild Side"...but I'd hear it on the radio all the time and you'd hear it in restau­rants and bars and bus stations, whatever. And I'd wonder — do any of these people have any idea of what's being talked about, who is being talked about, and what's going on?

HOLLY WOODLAWN: I plucked my eyebrows, I shaved, I... you know, from one end of the country to the other...

JOE DALLESANRO: And you are still a very beautiful girl. Very beautiful girl.

THURSTON MOORE: To sing so explicitly about heroin, should be considered one of the most groundbreaking things in Rock and Roll. And it definitely was. I think lyric writing for a lot of people after that was never the same.

CHARLIE ROSE: How bad was it [drug use] at the worst?

LOU REED: As bad as it gets.

LOU REED: Glam rock, androgyny, polymorphic sex. I was right in the middle of it. Some say I could have been at the head of the class.

I think real­ly with Lou, the poet in him won out.

DAVID FRICKE: One thing I remember from the liner notes about that record [Metal Machine Music] — it was something like "my week beats your year" and I thought man, that is the shit, he's saying if you don't like it, I don't care.

VACLAV HAVEL: I know Lou Reed a long time as a musician and also personally and I like him very much. He and his Velvet Underground influenced very much the rock music in our country, which played in former time the special social role.

PATTI SMITH: One wants to communicate with the people... one wants to mind-meld with the people... but one must do their work and be the guardian of their work and I think real­ly with Lou, the poet in him won out.

PHILLIP GLASS: It is not music that is made as a reaction to a particular market place. It really comes from the inside and by that I mean that it comes from Lou's own consciousness.


Reed 1998