Transformer The Lou Reed Story MOBI ☆ Transformer

Transformer The Lou Reed Story MOBI ☆ Transformer

Transformer The Lou Reed Story [PDF / Epub] ☆ Transformer The Lou Reed Story Author Victor Bockris – Lou Reed led the revolution in rock music that would grow into such different forms as glam and punk rock and introduced such taboo subjects as drugs and aberrant sexuality into the American pop song Lou Reed PDF/EPUB ¾ Lou Reed led the revolution in rock music that would grow into such different forms as glam and punk rock and introduced such taboo subjects as drugs and aberrant sexuality into the American pop Transformer The MOBI :å song This first full biography of the chameleon like figure who has continually revised and reinvented himself probes beneath the myths and contradictions of Reed's life to set the record straight Photos.

10 thoughts on “Transformer The Lou Reed Story

  1. Count No Count Count No Count says:

    Victor Bockris is a fun biographer because he hates most of his subjects

  2. Roz Milner Roz Milner says:

    As someone who's a big fan of Lou and his music but also someone with an idea of how self destructive and awful a person he could be I had a curious reaction to Victor Bockris' mid 90s biography of ReedJust a bare scraping of Reed's life is bound to sound interesting He chummed with people like Del Schwartz Andy Warhol and William S Burroughs played with musicians as diverse as Don Cherry David Bowie and John Cale and was behind maybe a half dozen amazing albums He struggled with booze drugs and a complicated attitude towards sexuality and often turned his personal experiences into great immediate music But I suppose the uestion is how much does that tell us about the man and why he made the work he did?For example just about anyone who's bothered to read the lyrics to a song like Walk on the Wild Side knows what the song is generally about And anyone who bothers to look it up can find it was a hit for Lou too So the uestion that lingers about that song for example is why it was so successful How did Reed come to write it was it based on any specifics and what made the song so compelling And for that specific example Bockris deftly avoids breaking down the song in any detail It was based on people Reed knew Warhol superstars mostly and there were some neat studio tricks doubling the bass line with both an electric and an acoustic bass but that’s about itFor a book that's supposedly the definitive look at Reed Transformer is interested in lurid damning tales The book is less a look at the man and his music and one filled with a lot of supposition and rumour occasionally interrupted by a uote from a record review Throughout Transformer Bockris uotes anonymous sources “commented one friend” “as an observer pointed out” and so forth Most of the book’s most damning episodes – mostly him feuding with Robert uine John Cale or other musicians – rely on these stories Other times when people speak on the record it’s hard not to get the feeling it wasn’t to Bockris Nowhere in his notes does he mention interviewing Reed not to mention other heavily uoted figures like Cale Nico or Shelly Albin One uote for example came from an interview with Bambi Magazine; Bockris presents it as a story Reed told to photographer Mick Rock With a loose presentation like that I can’t shake feeling I’m reading a tabloid version of Reed’s life presented for maximum drama and excess Back in my journalism school days we were taught to avoid anonymous sources especially when they had the meat of the story There are a variety of reasons but accountability is the big one How are readers supposed to trust people scared to go on the record? In other words if everyone feels so strongly about Reed’s transgressions about his concealed gay life about his sanctimonious attitude towards his bands friends and loved ones why not speak on the record? Are you afraid a guy you hate will never hire you again?The Reed that emerges in Bockris’ pages is a simple sad man who only seems complex and interesting He has a paranoid possessive attitude towards women and abuses them with a cruelty that’s stunning in it’s casualness “She’d be very boring That’s why he always ended up hitting her He would never hit anyone who’d hit back” says yet another anonymous source In Bockris' account Reed openly sleeps with both sexes yet insists he’s straight even as he courts a gay audience And the drugs He takes so much speed and drinks so much booze that he looks like a corpse all because he needs to tone down his mind or some other junkie excuse He wrote a handful of great songs – but could only do so when surrounded by talented musicians who brought him up to their level uine Cale or Mick Ronson And eventually Reed would grow jealous and kick them out of his circle Okay so the uestion becomes one of actual talent was Reed really all that talented? Or just someone smart enough to surround himself with talented people? When left to his own devices Bockris’ book is ambivalent on the results he calls Coney Island Baby “one of Reed’s finer solo albums” before changing the subject and Magic and Loss is “the kind of album people owned but rarely played” More often he lets other writers do the judging uoting from reviews by Robert Christgau Ellen Willis Lester Bangs and David Fricke among othersHe’s hard on Reed the live musician too His Transformer era Tots band are “pedestrian musicians” while Rock and Roll Animal era Reed has “jerky stumbling movements combined with a catalog of rock clichés” and even 90s Reed “lacked both passion and spontaneity” While I’m on the topic of criticism a few comments on Bockris’ prose First he tends to repeat himself sometimes uoting the same uotes in two separate sections Other times his sources contradict themselves just pages after writing that Reed came out in the 70s someone says “Lou’s ultimately straight” But it never feels like a complicated picture but like a narrow view of sexuality you’re one or the other with limited shades between His calling transgender women like Rachel “drag ueens” jibes with this tooIndeed his treatment to women is stunning He never drops the hammer on Reed’s abuse towards women both verbal and physical And sometimes he drops insults on them too like when he called Patti Smith a dog of a rock writerIdeally a biography should do two things It should tell you the life of it’s subject and then explain why that life is distinct from those around it A shining example is Richard Ellman’s biography James Joyce it doesn’t just tell you about Joyce’s life but explains where his stories came from and how he repurposed them for his novels especially for Finnegan’s Wake a book as impenetrable as it is autobiographical It explains not just that Joyce was a genius but what made him oneOn those levels Transformer is disappointing It explains Reed’s life up to the mid 90s when it was first published but does so in a lurid tabloidish way that lends doubt to his findings And when trying to explain what made Reed’s music so important especially compared to that of fellow musicians like John Cale David Bowie or others Bockris’ book comes away empty like a loose collection of idle gossip and speculation Maybe the new edition coming out later this year rectifies this but I doubt it

  3. Al Al says:

    I have been on a Velvet Underground and a Jack KerouacWilliam S Burroughs kick here lately It sorts of hits home on the point that creative people are not necessarily the people you want to hang out with As if you need extra proof the new Babyshambles album is rather goodI am not a huge Kerouac fan He never got to me the way Henry Miller or Burroughs or Bukowski or even Ginsberg did Kerouac is a friend's favorite writer and yet I am to be won over I still find his life pretty fascinating Anyway you can download Ginsberg and Burroughs talking about Kerouac at archiveorg There is also uite a bit of Burroughs stuff which is worth a listenI have also been on a Vlevet Underground kick listening to Peel Slowly and See uite a bit and reading Victor Bockris' bio of Lou Reed TransformerLou's notoriously a prick though in his defense he does like pinball and comic books and it's interesting how he has made it to be successful this far It's a great book though if you are a big Reed fan like myself or finding out about him for the first timeAs rock bios go it's one of the best If any criticism it is too short at 400 pages Extra bonus points not that they're needed for a transcript of Reed meeting William S Burroughs in the late 70's

  4. Kurt Kurt says:

    Victor Bockris is a dreadful writer who has made uite a living writing biographies of New York scenesters and hipster icons Warhol Burroughs Patti Smith etc This smear job of Reed who no doubt deserves it feels like a personal vendetta from start to finish It's a one star effort that I grudgingly give a second star to because as a lifelong Lou Reed follower both fascinated and appalled by the man I tore through it cover to cover in record time hating it all the while

  5. Justin Walshaw Justin Walshaw says:

    Not uite the electrical manual I was looking for

  6. Kimmo Sinivuori Kimmo Sinivuori says:

    ”As soon as he came walking into my office I could see this guy was not too connected with reality” one RCA representative recalled when Lou Reed came to play his Metal Machine Music tapes for the first time 1970s was the decade when Reed truly was mad bad and dangerous to know Sustained by a cocktail of drugs and alcohol that would have destroyed any normal person Reed still managed to make several commercially successful records Of course as anyone who has put it on knows Metal Machine Music was never going to be a success That record epitomizes seventies Reed showing the middle finger to the rest of the humanity and stating that ”no one I know has listened to it all the way through including myself”I read this book because I wanted to know about Lou Reed’s seventies As I have never really liked his seventies records my knowledge of Reed pretty much ends when he disbands the Velvet Underground in 1969 and begins again with the classic interview at the CBGBs conducted by Punk magazine’s Jon Holmstrom and Legs McNeilVictor Bockris is a great biographer and he has written a great book about Reed Bockris is unsparing of Reed and sometimes the book reads like a psychological profile However there is no malice in Bockris’ writing and he is not attempting a character assassination but rather shows exactly what Lou Reed the Rock ’n’ Roll Animal or the Phantom of Rock was like during those crazy years Not that Bockris had no reason to be angry with Reed who as the transcript in the appendix to the book about Reed meeting William Burroughs show didn’t spare Bockris eitherBy 1978 ”that walking crystallization of cankerous cynicism” and anticharisma had turned ”into a punk version of the late sixties bellicose Jack Kerouac” When the NYC amphetamine supply dried the skin and bones thin Reed had gained a beer gut as he was trying to stop taking drugs by drinking and alcohol It was probably his second wife Sylvia Morales who saved Reed and turned him into a reasonably decent human being and less interesting to read about in the last uarter of the book that ends in 1994 After this book came out Reed had many years to live and make music but I doubt if anyone can come up with a better description of seventies Reed than Bockris who was after all there himselfIf the illustrations in this book were better I would have given it five stars I can recommend this to everyone interested not only in Lou Reed but also in the Velvet Underground and Warhol’s Silver Factory This book gives a particularly interesting view of Warhol as he is looked at from a different vantage point than normally John Cale Maureen Tucker and Sterling Morrison are given a sympathetic treatment In particular one gets the feeling that Bockris preferred Cale to Reed as a musician when it came to their solo output So do I but as a character Reed definitely was interesting than Cale

  7. Rose Kelleher Rose Kelleher says:

    What a strange book; I hardly know where to begin It does provide a lot of information but the emphasis is on gossip rather than insight into the man's work and the editorializing is heavy handed and in some instances downright kooky The author has such a strange perspective that between that and the anonymous sources dubious grammar misspellings repetition and malapropisms it's hard to take anything he says seriously I'm not saying this in defense of Lou Reed either; the kookiness cuts both waysFor example Reed's first wife whom he mistreated is mistreated again in this book Bockris repeatedly blames the victim insisting that she was banal and unintelligent as though that justified abusing her He seems to think she brought it all on herself by not standing up to her abuser Yeah right because slender girls in their early twenties with self esteem issues should just beat up their abusive husbands; that's the answerIn other places Bockris uses shrill hysterical language to inflate Reed's youthful misdemeanors into capital offenses The kid comes home from college with a dog which he dumps on his mother Oh no No college kid has EVER done THAT before Clearly he's a psychotic monster spreading evil wherever he goes And so onBockris seems especially intent on defending Reed's parents He wants to convince us that they were perfectly delightful in every way and that if Reed was ever miserable at home it must have been because he wanted to be miserable To support this contention Bockris relies on offhanded uotes from guests who visited the Reeds' house for short periods It doesn't seem to have occurred to him that middle class suburban families aren't always as happy as they appear Especially in the 1950s Good Lord how many middle class kids were abused by their perfect parents in those days? Even if the only abuse he suffered was hello? HAVING HIS BRAIN ELECTROCUTED AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN and that's a documented fact that alone gives him the right to be pissed offIn short this book is execrable but it's also fascinating and I can't pretend I didn't enjoy it There are insights to be drawn from the material but you have to draw them yourself and be sure to take the author's assertions and insinuations with a big fat grain of salt

  8. Benjamin Stahl Benjamin Stahl says:

    An excellent comprehensive look into one of rock’s most interesting characters Being always a fan of Lou Reed’s work on Transformer 1972 and the first Velvet Underground album with Nico I had than a mild interest from the beginning But the best thing about this book is that it introduced me to the rest of Reed's work and while I don’t love all of it I have come across some really great songs which I’ve been listening to constantly ever since I highly recommend Billy Doing The Things That We Want To his entire Berlin album the final Velvet album Loaded and arguably the best song he ever wrote Street Hassle I even find his highly polarising collaboration with Metallica absurdly enjoyable Discovering this artist at the same time I will associate this book with those songs as if the book had a soundtrack And as for the book itself well whether or not you’re initially interested in Lou Reed the story of his life is incredibly fascinating sometimes very bleak and disturbing often very funny and to a large extent inspiring He always considered himself of a poet than a rockstar and his lyrics are much intellectual than your average rock fan probably cares to notice His ultimate goal was to show us what happened when the works of men like Kerouac and Chandler found it into rock music He was also notorious for his sexual deviances into homosexuality and transsexualism But he came from an era when that was not accepted and one always gets the impression he hated gays even though he was one This just adds to his dark tragic enigma Victor Bockriss does an awesome job of capturing the essence of Lou Reed So often with biographies stalkers like me are left unsatisfied because we’re only offered a shallow glimpse of the person behind the name I’m yet to find a great Steven Spielberg biography; one that looks beyond what got him director credits on Jaws and goes into personal information I have no business in knowing like the kid who bullied him at school That kind of shit And Bockriss provides this insight His knowledge of Lou throughout his life is borderline obsessive and that’s what I want It goes into intricate detail with every year of his life with the making of all his albums his confrontations with critics his flings with men and women both Bockriss also presents a very balanced view There is no uestion that he idolised Mr Reed But he’s not afraid to criticise and show him for the shit he really was a lot of the time Reed was particularly horrible to his parents who just misunderstood him and whom he never allowed to really love him and yet still blamed them for their lack of affection The monster that Reed became in the late 70’s during his “Rock N Roll Animal” phase was disturbing and made it very hard to like him But as he sobered up through the 80’s and formed serious relationships with the type of women who were able to put up with his shit it was inspiring to witness There were only two minor ualms I had with this First one was that the death of his parents was never given any mention Everyone else that bore significance in the story is at least given a mention; most times Reed actually dedicated a few songs to them for Andy Warhol he and his estranged VU band mate John Cale reunited and wrote an entire album Since Bockriss takes the obvious stance of not condemning Lou’s parents for submitting him to electro shock therapy in his teenage years and continued to display them in a sad and tortured light it just seems inconsistent that their passing was not mentioned I was hoping Lou might have patched things up with them in the end He apparently said thisBut then I also found this photo So I don’t know what to thinkThe other small shortcoming I noticed was one mentioned by the two or three other GR reviews Fucking it’s a well known fact by children all over the world that this book was originally published in 1994 It was re issued and extended after the death of Lou Reed in 2013 The author considerately works in the rest of Reed’s life But the other reviews stated that the real book ends at 1994; that the rest is not worth reading I was like “You’re kidding aren’t you?” What about the highly controversial Lulu album Lou put out before his death in which he banded with Metallica and pissed off just about every person in the world Any rock critic surely knows about this album and the hated legacy it carries Primarily it was misunderstood because Reed being a faded icon by then the album was percieved generally as one of Metallica’s In truth they were basically just studio musicians thrashing out their muddy thunderous sound beneath Reed’s grim and weary vocals But Metallica fans all over were befuddled and angered by this shit What’s all this mess? Why’s grandpa Simpson ranting over the music? Brah that’s fucked If you’re single and have no friends then take the time to watch this video It conveys the anger these Metallica fanboys felt towards the album I mean shit just watch it The ignorance of this video making out that Lou Reed was nobody and has no business associating with this superior band It makes me want to troll the idiots and tell them what stupid assholes they are I was saying Bockriss added another hundred pages or so at the end Well it turns out they’re not really worthy of the perfection he’d sustained before It jumps ahead about seven years and he suddenly drops the straight edged tone utilised up until then Alright kids I would like you to compare the opening of the book to this passage from post 94 PART 1“ 1959 was a bad year for Lou seventeen who had been studying his bad boy role ever since he’d worn a black armband to school when Johnny Ace shot himself in 1954 Now five years later the bad Lou grabbed the chance to drive everyone in his family crazy Tyrannically presiding over their middle class home he slashed screeching chords on his electric guitar practiced an effeminate way of walking drew his sister aside in conspiratorial conferences and threatened to throw the mother of all moodies if everyone didn’t pay complete attention to him”POST 94“ This is one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in the world lined with cobblestone streets brownstone houses and dark Dickensian alleyways For a romantic dreamer like Lou it was also full of ghosts Only a few blocks away was the White Horse Tavern Del Schwartz and Bob Dylan’s favourite bar Boutiues and bookshops line the cobblestone streets as did candlelit restaurants small theatres and nearby cinemas The area is protected from the grinding howls of building machines and ambulances that operate without cease by a drop down to river level just west of Seventh Avenue The whole neighbourhood is graced by an early morning and late afternoon orange light specific to New York” I mean ain't like there’s anything wrong with this But I think Bockriss went to the shitter and the ghost of Ernest Hemingway stepped in The rest of the book is written with this colourful intention to wow its readers with its indelible beatitude And wait until you start hearing about Laurie Anderson She was Lou’s final wife and I guess they meant a lot to each other Their albums were conversationally linked; they spoke their feelings for each other and voiced their concerns in their songs It was a very sweet change of tone for Reed But I swear Bockriss had a massive crush on her They way he suddenly forgets Lou Reed and gives these long and intimate speculations about the lyrical content of Laurie’s songs You get to see this man frolicking in the springing meadow of Laurie Anderson’s mind I can sympathise man everyone has to fall in love once in a while But I didn’t buy this for your dissection of Laurie Anderson I don’t care how her striking angelic imagery evokes a rusted mug of coffee on the sun drenched pane of Manhattan’s highest window If you ask me I think he knew Anderson was gonna read this and he was hanging out for a blowjobBut joking aside this book is very enjoyable easily the best biography I’ve read and Victor Bockriss should be dually commended And may Lou Reed rest in peace He gave so much to rock and roll

  9. Kay Smillie Kay Smillie says:

    A warts and all biography of Lou Reed Having previously read Uptight co authored by Victor Bokris and Gerard Malanga I was a bit worried as the style of the VU book wasn't fully satisfactory Other reviews are unhappy about how this biography as it is less than generous in the description of Lou Reed but Lou Reed himself admittedly that he wasn't always the easiest person to get on with Do I like Lou Reed less having read this? No We all have our idiosyncrasies Well worth readingRay Smillie

  10. Andy Andy says:

    When I first started singing in a band I was so scared that the only way I could get through it was by exercising my cerebral talisman saying Just pretend you're Lou Reed and you can't sing in tune but you're cool as fuck Needless to say it got me through a few rehearsals until I found my own voice which ironically enough was described by critics as monotonous and one note kinda like you know whoTransformer is the story of a rock star so reprehensible he makes Frankie Fane from The Oscar look like Mr Green Jeans Unfortunately the book takes an ugly tabloid approach to Reed's viciousness pun and never once mentions the amazing songwriting he's known for good enough to survive even the worst produced records ever hiRichard Robinson In other words I don't give a shit about your manners kill me with your artSo while it's fair to say the late Lou Reed is probably making the Devil very unhappy in Hell I still can't stop listening to Transformer White LightWhite Heat Loaded and even the banal Sally Can't Dance And if you don't think Ocean isn't the most beautiful heart breaking song ever written then you have no soul

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