February 18, 2015

"What was the ambition and the goal?"/"Oh! To elevate the rock and roll song!"



"What I mean by stupid, I mean, like, The Doors.... I never liked The Beatles. I thought they were garbage."

15 comments:

Will Cate said...

Lou was a great artist, but most of those Velvet Underground records sounded like hammered shit.

Robert Cook said...

Hmmm...for a modest talent--and that, for all the accolades he received, is all Reed was--he sure had an exaggerated opinion of his work relative to his peers.

But then, I guess that is true of most artists. It's probably necessary, in order to get oneself to get up everyday to make new work: that certainty that one is producing work the equal of or superior to one's peers. Otherwise, how could one do it, if aware of how better so many other artists are than oneself?

Ann Althouse said...

"he sure had an exaggerated opinion of his work relative to his peers"

Did you watch the video?

The parts I quoted don't reflect his opinion of his own work but his aspirations for the art form. I don't think that in the entire video, he ever makes an assertion that his work turned out great, only that he had ambitions and goals that related back to his study of creative writing as a student in Syracuse.

Laslo Spatula said...

One of the best things Reed did was the tribute album, with John Cale, to Andy Warhol -- "Songs for Drella". "Work"draws on the idea of you can always, always, be doing something more.

Although I like Cale's career more than Reed's.

I am Laslo.

Robert Cook said...

Yes, I watched the video, and his remarks about the Doors being "stupid" and the Beatles being "garbage" are what I'm referring to, as well as his remarks that no one else working at the time came up to their (Velvet Underground) knees, or even their ankles.

I was never a devoted fan of the Beatles not at all of the Doors. I liked all the Beatles music I heard on the radio, but I only ever owned 3 or 4 of their records, and I only barely heard the Doors--though I was aware of them--until after Jim Morrison's death. (I like their last record, L.A. WOMAN, very much.) However, if Reed would have us accept that the songs he (and the VU) wrote were vastly better than the Doors or the Beatles...he is led to error by his ego.

EDH said...

Paraphrase: "This may sound pretentious... but other peoples' work didn't even come up to our ankles."

Ann Althouse said...

To be sophistic about the "ankles" remark: Their ankles are they, themselves, as persons. It would be possible to say: Our own work did not come up to our ankles.

Ann Althouse said...

Imagine what commenters would say if I defended Scott Walker with the vigor I use on behalf of Lou Reed.

EMD said...

The Doors were pretty stupid. Ray Manzarek was interesting, though.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
I was never a devoted fan of the Beatles not at all of the Doors. I liked all the Beatles music I heard on the radio, but I only ever owned 3 or 4 of their records, and I only barely heard the Doors--though I was aware of them--until after Jim Morrison's death. (I like their last record, L.A. WOMAN, very much.) However, if Reed would have us accept that the songs he (and the VU) wrote were vastly better than the Doors or the Beatles...he is led to error by his ego.

The VU were pretty damn good. Lou Reed solo, not so much. Primarily because of their song material and experimentation.
I actually prefer the VU to the Doors. But certainly not the Beatles.
If we're talking commercial success though, the Doors trounced the VU's ass. And that may be Lou's fall back.
They weren't successful but they were doing "art". Well, so was Jim Morrision in his way with his bizarre and often terrible "poetry". They actually had hit songs though.
And so were the Beatles in their way. With their revolutionary studio techniques.

EMD said...

I actually prefer the VU to the Doors.

VU sounded a bit ahead of their time. The Doors didn't.

Dan said...

Lou did too much "Heroin" in his day to know his ass from a hole in the ground. He knew it all and told everyone. I believe he made some pretty good music but I also believe there were others better than him.

Dan said...

AA defend LR all you want. Its a free country as of today anyways.

Aussie Pundit said...

The comment about the Beatles and Doors really shows him in a poor light. He wasn't just saying "meh, they're not my thing," in context it's clear that he thought he was better than them, that he was High Art and they were lowbrow.

I like Reed's music - I used to own a Velvet Underground vinyl album back in the day - but he wasn't in the same league as the Beatles. Surely this is an obvious and uncontroversial thing to say.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney really did elevate the rock and roll song.

If he didn't understand that (and apparently he didn't), then he missed something big.

Robert Cook said...

"AA defend LR all you want. Its a free country as of today anyways.'

No...it's not. We're only as "free" as they choose to let us believe we are...for now.