Archive for November, 2013

Between Thought and Expression Lies a Lifetime

November 12th, 2013 No comments

I have always loved that line. It might be because I have always felt a difficulty to express myself. I used to joke that I thought at about a 40 words per minute pace and unfortunately, it would be the wrong word or thought that would come out. Of course the reality of the song is that that it would be dealing with the taboo thoughts on sex, as Reed eloquently puts it. Maybe, the line above has more to do with never being satisfied as in the second stanza, “Some kinda love, the possibilities are endless”.

But this is what is so great about that line is that I have been listening to it for the last 22 years and I am still trying to grasp it. To me, this is when the poet wins, when the poet writes the perfect line and it ends up being written on the margins on school papers or stolen by yours truly probably in the hundreds of times.

I had not had a chance to appropriately file my thoughts on the passing of Lou Reed, the Godfather of Punk. Reed happened to be the first rock star that I had met, way back in my freshman year of college when I saw him at a book signing in Chicago. I still remember wearing a Chicago Bears sweatshirt and a winter coat and remember walking up to him while he was wearing green tinted hexagon metal-rimmed sunglasses.

While his music had piqued my interest when I was noticing R.E.M. and their covers of “There She Goes Again”, “Pale Blue Eyes” and “Femme Fatale”, it was not until the summer of my graduation after high school that I began to delve into the actual Velvet Underground discography.

I started with the Best Of and I still remember the haunting moments of listening to “Heroin” late at night and I will tell ya, things were never quite the same after that moment.

I remember getting a care package sometime in the fall with some newspaper cutouts from my mother regarding Lou Reed during my first quarter at DePaul, and I am not sure she would have sent those cutouts had she ever listened to the song herself. The decision had been an easy one and even with only a couple months, it was fairly obvious that Reed and the Velvets had made an early impression on me.

Understand there was a certain vulgarity that existed with the Velvet Underground, and today we might take it as commonplace but in the mid-60s rock and roll was still at it’s infancy when many considered rock and roll vulgar already. The Velvets took it one step further, writing about trannies, drugs, prostitutes, deviant sex acts.

It was always about pushing that boundary just a little bit farther; it was about not being afraid.

I am not a classic writer. There are mistakes strewn all across this page. I used to write much more than I do today but I came to the realization that I need to continually write my thoughts down for public eyes whether it’s 5 or 5000 and I have to say that I have a bit of gratitude to Lou for helping me get there.

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