{download Textbooks} Transformer: The Lou Reed StoryAuthor Victor Bockris – Multi-channel.co

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 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. 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 Reed.Just 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 question 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 question 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 it.For 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 quote from a record review Throughout Transformer, Bockris quotes 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 Quine, 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 quoted figures like Cale, Nico or Shelly Albin One quote, 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 Quine, Cale or Mick Ronson And eventually Reed would grow jealous and kick them out of his circle Okay, so the question 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, quoting from reviews by Robert Christgau, Ellen Willis, Lester Bangs, and David Fricke, among others.He 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 clich s, 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 quoting the same quotes 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 queens jibes with this, too.Indeed, 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 writer.Ideally, 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 one.On 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.

  2. says:

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

  3. says:

    I have been on a Velvet Underground and a Jack Kerouac William 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 good.I 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 archive.org There is also quite a bit of Burroughs stuff which is worth a listen.I have also been on a Vlevet Underground kick, listening to Peel Slowly and See quite a bit, and reading Victor Bockris bio of Lou Reed Transformer.Lou 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 time.As 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. says:

    Victor Bockris is a dreadful writer who has made quite 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. says:

    Hoe ga je als ouder om met je rebelse en of verwijfde tienerzoon Geef hem elektroshocks In de Verenigde Staten was dat ooit normaal, zo blijkt uit het eerste hoofdstuk van Victor Bockris Transformer Beeld je de verontwaardiging in als dit zou gebeuren in Noord Korea of China Transformer voor het eerst verschenen in 1994 werd na het overlijden van Lou behoorlijk uitgebreid en bijgewerkt Hierdoor komt ook Lou s laatste periode aan bod Daarin werkte hij samen met Laurie Anderson en Robert Wilson, en ging hij aan de slag ging met Metallica Persoonlijk heb ik het daar nog altijd erg moeilijk mee, maar Bockris maakt er zowaar de kroon op het werk van Dat vind ik behoorlijk onwaarschijnlijk Ik bedoel Lulu Lou s beste Is that guy kidding or what Vreemd en bevreemdend, maar misschien hoort het zo, want des te meer getuigenissen en inzichten of roddels de revue passeren, des te ondoorgrondelijker Lou Reed wordt Zijn werk met The Velvet Underground en af en toe ook solo behoort tot het strafste van de godganse 20ste eeuw Straffer nog als er n plaat moet genomineerd worden als beste aller tijden, doe mij dan maar die met de banaan op Maar de maker blijft een mysterie.Hoezeer Bockris ook zijn best doet, het blijft allemaal behoorlijk oppervlakkig Liedjesteksten zijn bij Lou Reed enorm, enorm belangrijk, maar deze Victor Bockris doet geen enkele poging om die teksten ook echt te analyseren Dat is toch wel teleurstellend.Op zijn best voegt dit boek enkele weetjes toe en die zijn meestal niet al te fraai Dat Lou zijn vrouw sloeg, bijvoorbeeld, en hoe verdomd moeilijk hij het toch had om relaties te onderhouden Misschien is daar wel een verband tussen.Maar uiteindelijk kom je toch weer bij de muziek terecht Van The Velvet Underground wist ik het meeste al, maar het verhaal blijft schrijnend om lezen Wat ik niet wist, is dat Lou heeft samengewerkt met Don Cherry, nochtans ook een muzikale held van mij Dat gebeurde uitgerekend op een plaat die doorgaans als een van zijn slechtste wordt beschouwd Met een bang hartje ga ik die muziek opzoekenAls een muziekboek er totaal niet in slaagt om je de muzikant te doen begrijpen, maar er wel toe leidt dat je wat muziek gaat opzoeken, is dat dan voldoende

  6. says:

    Not quite the electrical manual I was looking for.

  7. 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 McNeil.Victor 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 either.By 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 quarter 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 himself.If 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.

  8. 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 ways.For 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 answer.In 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 on.Bockris 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 quotes 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 off.In 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.

  9. 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 question 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 qualms 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 this But then I also found this photo So I don t know what to think.The 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 Boutiques 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 blowjob.But 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.

  10. 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 reading.Ray Smillie