Monday, October 24, 2011
I was fortunate enough to interview Lou Reed and Lars Ulrich for GQ. (Many thanks to Will Welch for the opportunity.) You can read the transcript here. As several have commented, yes, Mr. Reed was intent on giving me the third degree; that's okay—it made for a lively interview. Mr. Ulrich, on the other hand, was a sweetheart—one of the more patient, thoughtful folks I've had the opportunity to speak with on the record.
The occasion is, obviously, Lulu, the new Reed/Metallica collaborative LP. Folks are already lining up to drub this release, and that saddens me a bit. The fact is, it's a significant work that deserves your time and effort. I only got to hear it twice before my interview, and the first time through, I was put off by it; it seemed underorganized, underedited—a failed experiment. On the second spin, though, I felt differently: This big, shaggy thing started to cohere, and I began to admire the ballsiness of the endeavor. Lulu is awkward in spots, and it is in many ways a taxing listen, but it is emphatically not crap. Spend some decent time with it before you write it off.
I think this record is going to be an interesting litmus test: I can see Metallica die-hards hating the Reed aspect, and Reed fans scoffing at Metallica's contribution. Who is it for then? I'm not really sure, but I admire the follow-through all the same. As far as my own perspective, I'm obviously a lifelong Metallica freak, but Lou Reed (both solo and with the Velvet Undeground) has never really clicked with me. I relished the opportunity to try again in preparation for this interview, and I found a few records that really spoke to me, including The Blue Mask and, yes, Metal Machine Music. My opinion of Lulu is still in flux, which is a good thing; the highest compliment I can pay the record is that I'm excited to spend more time with it.
Why not listen for yourself?