LOU REED Says 'Lulu' Was Made 'For People Who Are Literate'

December 8, 2011

The Telegraph recently conducted an interview with METALLICA and former THE VELVET UNDERGROUND frontman Lou Reed about their musical collaboration "Lulu", which was released on November 1 in North America via Warner Bros. Records (one day earlier in the rest of the world through Universal Music). A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

On the critical bashing "Lulu" has taken since its release:

Lou Reed: "Who cares? I never wrote for them then, I don't write for them now. I have no interest in what they have to say about anything. I'm interested in whether I like it. I write for me."

"I think this thing needs a champion. This is for people who are literate. This isn't 'I cry in my beer 'cause you fucked him and ran your truck through my bar.' You can write 30 of those and move to Nashville. These words — every time I see them I get thrilled because it does it to me. It may do it to no one else, I don't care. I can't try any harder. I can't do any better. And my heart was pure and my soul was pure, too. I went in there to make music with the best guys I could find. And we did."

On whether Reed considers himself to be obnoxious and weirdly insecure:

Lou Reed: "You know a lot of time these guys that interview us, they think they're more literate than I am. That would be a real bad mistake. Don't kid yourself about me, you know what I'm saying? I'm not a good guy to fuck with."

Lars Ulrich (METALLICA drummer): "I think we're the band [Lou] has always heard in his head but never been able to play with. He's a fascinating human being, he's brilliant musically, intellectually, but I think he feels misunderstood. Most people have a tendency to start a conversation in a neutral position and then see where it goes. He starts in a negative position, then you've got to go to neutral and then to positive. When he feels comfortable and trusts people, he opens up, and incredible things can happen."

Lou Reed: "I think we did a sensual thing. Music is magical, it can make you feel good, it can make you feel bad, and then you put some serious words to it, not just 'I got released from rehab this week, yay.' Let's say you go a little bit past there. In my conceit, I thought what if Tennessee Williams had got a crack at this? Can't it be 'A Streetcar Named Desire' that's a rock record? Why isn't anyone doing it? Instead of writing the trash that is out there. I wanted to do something on that level, always. I came close on Berlin. Pretty close. But this one, for me, from beginning to end, this is it."

On what "Lulu" is exactly:

Lou Reed: "I don't like the word rock opera, but I'm trying to write on that level that's reserved for plays still, or novels. I was trying to escape the simplistic form, and find a different kind of melodic form, but still rock. I didn't want to traipse off into the land of jazz. All this stuff is about emotion, I mean, why else do it? [quoting Shakespeare] 'Out, out, brief candle.' Hey, if I could get there, climb that particular ladder. You have to pass through blood to get there, wherever it is."

Read more from The Telegraph.

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