Lou Reed booed offstage

I have mixed feelings when it comes to Lou Reed. I think most of the Velvet Underground material is garbage. And a lot of his solo stuff leaves me cold. But a couple of his late 70s/early 80s albums — often panned by critics — are fantastic: great lyrics and eclectic but still rocking rock.

I’m also, having read much of rock critic Lester Bangs’ writings, familiar with the fact that Reed released an experimental album called “Metal Machine Music” which Bangs praised (not necessarily an indicator of greatness.) Apparently Reed is back to playing material from that album and it’s not going well.

Recently he has been touring his controversial album, Metal Machine Music – a work so noisy and abrasive that for years many thought it was a joke.

However, there weren’t any punch-lines at this gig, which attracted more than 1,000 fans – some paying almost $100 (£62) for tickets. The concert consisted of just four instrumentals plus encore, according to the Globe and Mail, with “no singing … [and] no rhythm section”. The only sounds were Anderson’s violin and keyboard, Zorn’s alto sax, and Reed’s electric guitar. In an interview earlier that day, Reed had gleefully promised a “fearless night of non-rock”, “100% improvised”.

So it didn’t take long for the first boos to come. Initially, these complaints were misinterpreted as calls for “Louuuuu!” but soon the fans became more direct. “Play some real music!” one called.

“Yes, there were those who claimed to enjoy the cacophony of discordant noise lacking melody, style, beauty or skill,” replied one Gazette reader. “[But] to label it correctly, it was pure elitist, pretentious rubbish.”

I decided to track down some “Metal Machine Music” on YouTube. It’s about what you’d expect.

1 Response to “Lou Reed booed offstage”


  1. John Saleeby

    Excuse me, Mister Wil, but you left out the part where, after being heckled by a member of the audience, Mister Zorn told said that anybody who did not enjoy their Music should “get the fuck out of here!”. And pretty much everybody did.

    Lou Reed is a capable Pop Songwriter and Singer who is also a tremendous egomaniac and legendary asshole. I was once standing outside a liquor store in the Village waiting for my girlfriend to hurry the fuck up and pick a god damn bottle of wine when the door opened and who should walk out but the World Famous Lou Reed his own bad seff. I looked at him, he looked at me, and he walked off without saying “Hello”. Fuck that guy.
    Turned out the reason my girlfriend was in there for so long because she was following poor Reed around the liquor store talking about how much she liked “Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars”. “WHAT!?!” I choked “‘Ziggy Stardust’ is a DAVID BOWIE record!!” “Yeah . . . ” she said “That’s what Lou Reed said.”
    I’m going to send her “Metal Machine Music” for Christmas – In a “Young Americans” cover.