Lou Reed: Another Brick in the Wall, An interview with Lou Reed about Berlin, by Mark Mordue
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Talking to Lou Reed is like trying to communicate with a doorstop. The kind of thing you inevitably stub your toe on. Reed is, of course, notoriously difficult: testy, abrupt, contemptuous of journalists and prone, at best, to dead weight answers that refuse anything akin to conversation. Management demand to see all likely questions before the interview, ‘control’ is the dominant theme once we are actually talking. With a new stage production of his 1973 record Berlin due at St Ann’s Warehouse in New York (December 14-17) and the Sydney Festival in Australia (January 18-20), it was all the more pleasurable to be warned by Reed’s personal assistant just prior to our phone chat that it would be wise to avoid questions about his past. A little difficult, I tried to explain, when we’re supposed to discussing a show based on a 33-year-old recording. The PA sighed as if to tell me ‘don’t say I didn’t warn you’. As for Reed, he would convey a lot by his tone of voice too. Just before we began there was some noise in the background, then the PA said in a rising cry usually reserved for freak waves about to hit a boat, “Here heeeee comes!”
Mark MordueI wanted to ask the obvious question - why return to Berlin now?
Lou ReedYou know, it’s the one question I get asked. Susan Feldman, who runs St Ann’s Warehouse [an arts space in New York] - John Cale and I did Songs for Drella there - always wanted me to do this. I just said, “Yes. Why not? It might be fun.”
Mark MordueWhen Berlin came out it in 1973 it got a lot of antagonism for being ‘the saddest record ever made’, for being an ugly record, so I wondered if you if you wanted-
Lou ReedYou mean from critics? Why would I pay attention to that?
To read the entire interview go to The Basement Tapes.