Lou Reed Is an A-Hole
Poor David Marchese. He was just trying to do his job by interviewing Lou Reed for the latest issue of SPIN, and save for a few snotty comments by Reed during the first half of their chat, the interview was going along swimmingly. They touched on Reed’s varied solo work, his new CD/DVD, and begrudgingly, his time in the Velvet Underground. But when Marchese had the audacity to dovetail into questions that (gasp!) weren’t about music, Reed barraged the journalist with a steaming pile of bullshit. Rather than graciously declining to answer something or provide any kind of self-analysis, the apparently humorless Reed instead fires off a series of his own questions: “What answer do you want? Did you find your angle? Do you think you did a good job?” What a douche.
Is Reed really this self-important? Is he intent on being irascible because that’s his myth? Is he a bitter, leathery-skinned intellectual snob who wishes he were Dylan? Or did his childhood electroshock therapies simply zap him of graciousness? From where we’re sitting, nothing offensive was asked, and besides, the dude is Lou Reed, one of the most influential songwriters of his generation. You’d think that during an in-depth interview he might expect to be asked about things other than his music. If you put your life into your songs — and if Reed should be proud of anything in his career it is this — don’t get pissed off when people want to ask about it. You can read the whole interview here, or check out the painful conclusion below.
Tai chi training inspired your most recent album of new material [2007's Hudson River Wind Meditations]. Has studying martial arts affected your approach to music?
Everything affects the way I make music. I don’t understand what you want to know. I could say “yes.” Would that be better?
From what I understand, tai chi has a spiritual component as well as a physical one. Has that spiritual component found its way into your music?
It’s a really profound study. I couldn’t possibly sum it up for you. The problem is that I don’t think you know what you’re asking about. When you say tai chi, you’re just saying a generic thing like yoga. If you want to ask a question, you should know what you’re asking about, don’t you think?
It’s hard to find a story about you that doesn’t mention your reputation as a difficult interview. Does that perception bother you?
You could judge for yourself, can’t you? You want me to comment about other critics as though they matter. You save this question for last? I don’t know why you brought it up, seeing as we got along fine. Unless I’m mistaken. What answer do you want?
I want to know how you feel about the way you might be perceived.
You’re talking about critics and journalists. Listen, you’re not talking about music. I don’t want to get into this stupid subject with you. You brought it up. You shouldn’t have. We had a good conversation, and now we’re done. You feel better now? Did you find your angle? Do you think you did a good job?
The question wasn’t a trick.
I didn’t think you were trying to trick anybody. This is the kind of shit you wanted all along, and you saved it for last. What should I say?
I’m not looking for any particular answer.
You could’ve talked music, but this is what you wanted.
Haven’t I been asking about music this whole time?
You’re not interested in music. We’re done talking.
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