SXSW: Lou Reed's Colorado River Wind Meditations
AUSTIN - The keynote address for this year's South by Southwest conference was given today by Lou Reed, so of course I went. I mean, "Sister Ray." What else do you need to say? It wasn't a speech but instead an interview conducted by Hal Wilner, a record producer and an old acquaintance of Reed's. Let's just say that Hal is unlikely to get his own talk show anytime soon. The occasionally interesting, always awkward hour kept making me think of that Delicious Dish skit from "Saturday Night Live." With a bit of "The Chris Farley Show" sprinkled in.
"You remember Beatlemania where those four guys went on stage and they looked like you and they played Beatles songs? ... That was awesome!"
OK, maybe it wasn't quite that bad but each time Reed finished a response, Wilner waited a good four or five seconds to make sure Lou was done before continuing. Reed was as crotchety as you might expect, with the usual laundry list of complaints about the current state of music. MP3s are killing sound quality and the artists who make albums ("the technology is making it easier for us to make things bad"); major labels are more evil than ever, etc. Not that he's disillusioned by all new music, as he listed some current faves, even if he wasn't quite right with names. (He thought Holy, um, Funk was Holy, um, Ship and said Jane as Policewoman instead of Joan.)
His career recollections were entertaining, as he spoke about all of his "career-killing" albums that resulted in labels introducing a "Lou Reed Clause" in contracts to ensure that bands didn't sabotage themselves. But perhaps the weirdest moment was when he said that one of his favorite movies of all-time was "The Bourne Ultimatum."
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