Thursday, May 16, 2019


Not quite a book but beyond being a mere fanzine, this late-seventies addition to the Lou Reed library sure reads a whole lot smoother and rock 'n roll-er than all of those precious beyond belief tomes from the recent past that reduced the entire aura to mere mulch.

With a cover swiped from the mid-seventies bootleg of the same name and a wide variety of opines and other scattered thoughts sprinkled about, LOU REED - ROCK 'N' ROLL ANIMAL really captures just about everything that I continue to enjoy and hold dear to my purely rockist heart. Things like the utterly unique ideas and ideals that the early Velvet Underground helped birth, not forgetting Lou on his lonesome re-defining the seventies into something thankfully not as whole grain as the likes of John Denver or your parents for that matter would have wanted. Things that helped steer more'n a few unsuspecting tadpoles away from a brazenly frightening existence into the realm of the O-Mind which, for a short time, held sway with way more people than the forces that be would have dared imagine.

When I was a mere turdling it was either the most twisted, crazed rock 'n roller bound for the local institution of someone's choice or, for that matter, the suburban slob wannabe cloistered in his ranch house, who gave more'n a few figs about Lou Reed, the Velvets and all of the Warhol/Bangs/BACK DOOR MAN accouterments that went along with the entire down 'n durty shebang. That's what I like about this book. It captures that period in rock when the sound finally regained some of the lost grit that the late-sixties seemed to woosh away with more'n a few hippie airs---that period in time when the mere mention of the Velvet Underground in whatever context could send thrill chills up the spin of more'n a few CREEM reading teenbos snuggled up with whatever artyfact of THE FIRST GREAT HIGH ENERGY ERA IN ROCK they could scrounge up via a trip of the flea market. In other words, the real stars of the age.

Good reading throughout. Of course the instigators of the whole shebang just hafta put in their two cents worth of editorializing in (editorializing which thankfully wasn't as sickening sweet virtuous as it can get these days!) while some new (and OK---suspiciously fraudulent) facts or bits of myth-making for that matter are to be found if you look hard enough. As with these under-the-counterculture efforts, you also get some pretty great illustrations (and of course some then-recent ads) copped from various sources that fit in swell despite me having seen 'em over and over for years on end, and when was the last time you saw a Lou Reed comic made up from various visions of his lyrics anyway???

Released by Babylon Books o'er in England (they also put out similar Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa efforts as well as a bootleg guide), a ltd. ed. artyfact like this is mighty hard to come by this late in the rock 'n roll game. Or whatever pithy remnants of it may remain. But rest assured, when you do find it (like when you discover some hotcha fanzine or under-represented group of the same musical stratum) you'll manage to squeeze more energy and excitement outta the mere words and attitude than you could outta most everything written about a now-diseased musical trend by people who have about as much grip on the sound as your great-great-grandparents did. Come to think of it, they might have related to it a whole lot more'n the putrid likes of Ann Powers have feigned it lo these many years. If the mere thought of a rock hall of fame (and the ritual de-balling of the form that has taken place since day one) is enough to make you puke your guts out this book sure will be the remedy to a whole load of ailments!


Anonymous said...

Babylon Books also put out a Zappa book (the cover had the word Zappa scrawled in marker!), the first 10 years which again gives the look and feel of the band than all the 'educated' volumes cluttering up the shelves.


JD King said...

Sheesh. Lou Reed. Chris, wasn't he mentally retarded? And a drug addict?