I remember my mother coming home one day after a stop at Red Devil Records when that was still in Petaluma, she had picked up a couple of CDs, I remember only one, that was Lou Reed’s Transformer.
At an age where I liked to turn my nose up at a majority of my mom’s musical offerings, that was one I couldn’t even pretend to dislike. The songs were sung softly, they told stories about people that I wanted to know, people with glitter stuck in their teeth and who had nasty things to say, and also they were tender and melodic and haunting. I tried to imagine who the perfect day had been spent with, I hoped one day I would have an experience that would inspire something like Sattelite Of Love.
In later days I would hear horror stories about a particularily nasty personality, but that didn’t really matter, who said talent went hand in hand with a sparkling sweetheart personality? Who had to be nice to everyone? So the records still spun, round and round, narrating long nights and short days, debaucherous parties, sweet mornings, teary eyed days spent under covers, picnics on fire escapes..
Lester Bangs, who had a lot to say about every note Reed ever played, wrote some of the most trippy and rad reviews on him, this one being a favorite..
When you wake up in the morning with the worst hangover of your life, Metal Machine Music is the best medicine. Because when you first arise you’re probably so fucked (i.e., still drunk) that is doesn’t even really hurt yet (not like it’s going to), so you should put this album on immediately, not only to clear all the crap out of your head, but to prepare you for what’s in store the rest of the day.
Speaking of clearing out crap, I once had this friend who would say, “I take acid at least every two months & JUST BLOW ALL THE BAD SHIT OUTA MY BRAIN!” So I say the same thing about MMM. Except I take it about once a day, like vitamins.
In his excellent liner notes, Lou asserts that he and the other speedfreaks did not start World Wars I, II, “or the Bay of Pigs, for that matter.” And he’s right. If everybody took amphetamines, all the time, everybody would understand each other. Either that or never listen or bother with the other son of a bitch, because they’d all be too busy spending three days drawing psychedelic lines around a piece of steno paper until it’s totally black, writing eighty-page letters about meaningless occurrences to their mothers, or creating MMM. There would be no more wars, and peace and harmony would reign. Just imagine Gerald Ford on speed- he might manifest some glimmer of personality. Or Ronald Reagan- a blood vessel in his snapping-turtle lips would immediately burst, perhaps ridding us of that cocksucker. As is well known by now, JFK enjoyed regular injections of Meth and vitamins from happy croakers. ‘Nuff said. Hey may not have actually accomplished anything (except the Bay of Pigs- wait a minute, Lou hasn’t been doing his homework), but he had style and a winning smile.
I woke up this morning and in french, english and spanish, all words were for Lou. I think it’s amazing that a handful of songs have been such an integral part of so many people’s lives. Lou Reed isn’t lost, he’s immortal through his records. So I hope everyone has a perfect day and I love you all. <3