It’s taken me a few days to bring myself around to writing something about the passing of Lou Reed. To us New Yorkers, we always felt a little territorial about Lou, like he sort of belonged to us cause he was from here, and so were we. He sang about us, and we loved him for it. When New York Magazine voted Walk on the Wild Side the most iconic New York song ever written, I think even ahead of New York, New York, he was thrilled like a five year old at Christmas who got a new puppy.
He was the grumpiest guy I ever met in my life, but also one of the sweetest. When he appreciated something or someone, his appreciation was genuine, effusive and heartfelt. I enjoyed teaching him yoga, and he always made me laugh with the specificity of the things he wanted to do. He would come in to his living room and announce what the program was going to be: “Stretch, meditate. My elbows are killing me”; “Do you think I’ll ever be able to do lotus? I want to sit in lotus” (he never could do it); “Nothing on my calves today, just my shoulders.” I was pretty willing to oblige. And he was always thankful.
The last time I saw him was the day before I left for Munich, about two weeks ago. His wife, Laurie, sent me an email and asked if I would go over to see him, he was having trouble getting around. I hadn’t seen him since his liver transplant, which initially had gone well, but things had taken a turn for the worse. He was so small, and his energy was fading. “I’m ready,” he said. “I’ve had enough”. We meditated, and I gave him a neck massage. His liver was inflamed, and he was in pain.
On the plane to Chicago yesterday, I was looking out the window, out at the clouds. Everything looked so peaceful. I was thinking, where are you now, Lou? Did you become a cloud? Did your mind melt into the Pure Land of the Buddhas? Have you dissolved into an infinite wall of quadraphonic feedback? I bet all three. Travel safe, Lou. I hope you went peacefully.
This is sad:
This is awesome:
This is my second favorite Lou Reed sample:
Best version ever of Sweet Jane?