Watch an Animated Clip of a Long-Lost Interview With Lou Reed
The fine folks at PBS' Blank on Blank have unearthed another vintage audio interview, this time featuring the late, great Lou Reed. And, as they are so good at doing, they have created animation to help bring his words to life. In the 1987 interview with Joe Smith, Reed talks about his early ambitions, including wanting to "write the great American novel," as well as the early days of the Velvet Underground. Check out the animated short in the video above.
Recalling the initial reaction to the Velvet Underground, Reed was quick to share some truth. "There wasn't any recognition. What there was, was a lot of bad press. I got a little puzzled at how savage the reaction against us was, like how savage and decadent -- look at what these songs are about," he said. "'Venus in Furs' is about all of this. They didn't even know that 'Venus in Furs' was a book. I didn't write it. I just wanted to cram everything into a record that these people have ignored, which left you everything."
"I write a song called 'Heroin' and you'd have thought I murdered the Pope or something," he continued, going on to acknowledge that mainstream success was not on the band's radar. "We didn't expect to sell records. That's not what we were doing. It would have been great. It would have taken a lot of financial pressure off us. It's not like we had money."
He also stated the goal of the Velvet Underground was "to elevate the rock and roll song and take it where it hadn't been taken before." As Reed put it, "I know this sounds pretentious, but I just thought the other stuff couldn't come up to our ankles, not up to my kneecap, the level that we were on compared to everybody else. I mean they were just painfully stupid -- and pretentious. When they did try to get arty, it was worse than stupid rock and roll. What I mean by stupid? I mean like the Doors."
Even the Fab Four couldn't escape the wrath of Reed: "I never liked the Beatles. I thought they were garbage."
Blank on Blank has an entire series of these lost interviews set to animation. Their motto is simple: "The future of journalism is remixing the past." Get more details on the series here.