magic and loss


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


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  • Michael Wright

    I heard “Stephanie Says” being played on the radio the other day, and I immediatly stopped my habitual channel surfing. Then I heard another Reed classic and I thought, this is going to be a great day. Then you came on and broke the news to me. I don’t know if any artist passing since John Lennon has hit me so hard. Chris, you did an especially great job that day. Thanks.

  • Nikki Hozack

    Though always a fan, my love for Lou Reed truly began with my first viewing of The Vertical Ray of the Sun. RIP, Lou Reed, and may you now have endless Perfect Days.

  • Miguel Mendez

    Great post Chris! Thank you for sharing your experience with the great Lou Reed. It give us another story of his life and work. And great point too!, he did his ‘great American novel’ in the form of his collection of songs. Smart!