Lou Reed: A true story #1

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At one of our first rehearsals, Lou said to me “If you don’t start standing up straight, I’m going to make you where a muscle shirt when we play. Hold your head high and stand proud on stage.” It was hilarious, but he also meant it. Being a 100% responsible person like I am, I bought a pack of muscle shirts in case he ever told me to wear one. Thankfully that never happened, but those shirts came in handy. On one gig, in Pistoia, Italy, I had to bring one out, as the heat was so oppressive. The gig was in one of those beautiful Tuscan squares, with the black and white church and the bell tower. We we were sound checking we played “The Bells” and near the end, at the climax of the song, the church bells started ringing. It was magic. But the heat was so bad they put fans on Lou’s pedals so the germanium wouldn’t overheat and sound shitty. During the gig, the bells didn’t ring, but a beautiful full moon rose above the bell tower. I decided to wear one of the muscle shirts, which given my lack of muscles was a big mistake from a fashion perspective. I don’t know why we were laughing in this shot, but I’ll say that Lou was one of the funniest people I’ve ever known. Absolutely wicked and sweet all at the same time. He usually knew what your hang ups were within a minute of meeting you and could needle you about them. On this tour we’d often sneak out for gelato. Just hanging out. Such a contrast to playing music that is so intimate and painful in so many ways. 7 years ago today, our friend Lou died, and I’m so grateful for all the friends that I made through him, people whom I was blessed to work with and break bread with because of him. I’m so grateful that we got to play music together for a time, but mostly I’m grateful for those gelato moments. I’ll finish off with something I wrote from a now defunct magazine. When Lou left the earth, this writing was eclipsed by all the famous people that wrote about him, which is fine. It’s just a simple moment that we shared. Not a glamorous ground breaking moment. But just one moment of many that I’m grateful for:

We were in France on a rainy day in a hotel lobby, all dead tired from an early morning flight.

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