It’s depressing how many of our cultural heroes from the 60s have – in later life – turned out to be twerps.
Recent interviews with Jonathan Miller, Art Garfunkel – and now Lou Reed – combine an inflated sense of their own importance with resentment at how underappreciated they are by the ignorant wider world.
Lou Reed has just made an album with Metallica based – according to Wikipedia – on “two plays originally written by the German playwright Frank Wedekind”. It consists mostly of monologues intoned by Reed over heavy metal instrumentals – and has been savaged by critics and bloggers around the world.
But at least BBC Television treated the whole ludicrous farrago* seriously – offering Lou Reed and Metallica a prime slot on Later With Jools Holland. [*See Fatzer’s comment below – it’s true I haven’t actually heard the album]. At all events when John Wilson spoke to him in his dressing room, Lou was duly appreciative of the honour:
JW: And so this has been a satisfying project so far – do you want to take it further, will you be touring..?
LR: Satisfying project? I’m not trying to be a wise guy: satisfaction’s not one of the goals. Ever. Take me out in the woods and get rid of me, before that ever happens to me.
JW: Before what exactly happens ?
LR: Turn into one of them.
JW: What’s ‘one of them’ though?
LR: Showbiz. I hate everything about showbiz. Everything.
JW: And you’ve never done anything in your career that would constitute showbiz?
LR: I have been given misguided information on occasion. And that’s why every record company’s going out of business. And they should. I Hate Show Business – and anything to do with Show Business.
JW: But how do you define Show Business? Because – at the risk of being shouted at by Lou Reed – you work in Show Business.
LR: Everybody but us. Everybody but us.
JW: Everybody but you is showbiz ?
JW: But here we are at the BBC in a dressing room…
LR: Here we are at the BBC – and do you know what a comedown that is for me? I’m against everything the BBC stands for.
JW: Why would you be against with the BBC ?
LR: I would sink it. I would bring back pirate radio.
JW: With radio though… you’re getting, with the BBC, records that would not be played on any commercial station.
LR: Well, that’s true…
JW: Because it’s paid for by our license fee…
LR: …and I’ll slither back into my underground cave where I belong.