RIP Lou Reed: Chris Douridas Pays Tribute

magic and loss

Uncompromising.

Seems simple, but look at the real meaning: ‘showing an unwillingness to make concessions to others, esp. by changing one’s ways or opinions’.

Lou was uncompromising.

He stopped by KCRW several times during the years I hosted MBE.

The first time we met was in 1992, on the occasion of his latest album, “Magic and Loss“, a powerful portrait of loss, chronicling the death of two of his friends – songwriter Doc Pomus and Kenneth Rapp (aka Rotten Rita from Reed’s formative Warhol days).

In that interview, which has been lost over the years, Reed indicated he’d always longed to write the great American novel.

It occurred to me in that moment that – if you look at Reed’s songs, and the characters and stories that populated them – that he had indeed done just that..

Only his ‘great American novel’ was in the form of a collection of songs.

When I acknowledged that on air that day, it was the first and only time I’d ever seen him without a retort.

He seemed stunned. I will never forget his face.

After the interview, I walked Lou to his car. We hiked up the stairs from our basement studios, and began the trek across the Santa Monica College campus, heading to the parking lot.

Lou was wearing his trademark leather jacket. As we passed a group of students, I overheard one kid toss a comment to his buddies, under his breath. “Hey, that guy thinks he’s Lou Reed.”

I looked at Lou as we passed. “Did you hear that?”, I said. Lou nodded with a devilish grin. “Yeah.”

But we just kept on walking. The kid never knew it, but he was in the presence of the real deal.

— Chris Douridas