Monthly Archives: October 2013
You can download or stream WJBC’s interview with me about the Runaways at THE VOICE OF CENTRAL ILLINOIS – Play Now.
My son, Cole, asked me what Halloween was like before I had kids. I described to him one holiday in New York, must have been 1987, when I still lived in Providence. I was attending CMJ, and that night, I was running around with a bunch of musicians and friends, including Kim and Thurston, and members of Das Damen. It was before the East Village had been gentrified, and there was all kinds of tricking going on, few treats; blocks were closed because of the mayhem. I remember Mr. and Mrs. Sonic Youth sort of apologizing to me, that Downtown wasn’t always like this. I loved it.
Then I started telling Cole about the Halloween Parade, and suddenly I remembered this song by Lou Reed, this wonderful beautiful song about gays and the West Village and AIDS and magic and loss.
Ian Pickus interviewed me about Queens of Noise and the Runaways for the WAMC show Roundtable.
Kathy Valentine told two stories about the importance of rock’n’role models to an audience of mostly women, from 13-year-old You Tube troubadours to gray-haired guitar-slinging pioneers, this past weekend at the MEOW Conference in Austin, Texas. First story: While visiting relatives in England, the Texan teen turned on Top of the Pops to see a woman clad in black leather playing bass guitar and singing. Nearly forty years later, Valentine handed Suzi Quatro the Woman of Valor award at MEOWCon’s opening night. Continue reading
Friday night at the MEOW Conference in Austin, Grace London found the dark innocence in the Velvet Underground song “After Hours” like only a 13-year-old could. A tall, lanky girl with eyeliner curls, the Austin artist sang with the raw emotional warble of Conor Oberst or Chan Marshall as she strummed an acoustic guitar hard, then stepped on the pedal smashing the kick drum behind her for good measure. It was an impressive performance, doubly impressive that a young teen was playing a Velvets cover, triply impressive that she was playing that cover. Here was a new generation, discovering Lou Reed’s songwriting genius. “If you close the door, the night could last forever/ Leave the sunshine out/ And say hello to never.”
Genius is one of those words that gets tossed around so much, but Lou Reed was definitely a genius. I’ve been thinking about the Velvets a lot lately, ever since I saw Tammy Faye Starlite’s amazing Nico tribute. I played “All Tomorrow’s Parties” for my Revolution Girl Style students, explaining how this was the dawn of punk (and how women were there at the beginning). My love of Lou runs long and deep. In college I was obsessed with him. So important were albums like Street Hassle and Transformer, I can’t really imagine myself without the influence of his music. That didn’t stop me from once writing a negative review of a Broadway show he did, which I felt pandered to fans. I guess Lou read his press; a few years later, he refused to talk to me for Interview magazine. “Isn’t she that writer who writes terrible things about me?” he apparently said. Ouch.
While I stand by my judgment, I would take it all back, because I love Lou Reed’s music and what he stood for: an unapologetic, tough, loving, cantankerous, idealistic, ugly, beautiful, rapturous aesthetic, that is now silenced forever.
In which we discuss quantum physics and twerking. Plus a word from Shepard Fairey. (Warning: the interview was conducted a month ago).