Tales of Rock – Lou Reed was a Violent, Racist, Woman-Beating Prick

Nobody really expects rock musicians to be nice people. The Velvet Underground front man Lou Reed, however, was more than an asshole. According to a recent biography written by Howard Sounes, he was some kind of monster.

Sounes doesn’t use the word lightly. After Reed’s death in 2013, Sounes, who was a huge fan, set out to write a glowing biography, for which he interviewed more than 140 people — and every single one of those interviews broke off another little piece of Sounes’ heart. Though he wanted to be as kind as possible to his musical hero, Sounes was forced “to go where the story goes.” And here’s where the story went: Reed was apparently a violent, racist, misogynistic piece of shit. It’s known that he once told a journalist, “I don’t like niggers like Donna Summer” (and that should have been kind of a red flag right there), but according to those who knew him, he wore his racism on his sleeve. At one point, he referred to Bob Dylan as a “pretentious kike.” Yes, the guy who once released an hour of guitar feedback called someone else “pretentious.”

Reed’s relationships with women were more violent than a mosh pit. His ex-wife Bettye Kronstad told Sounes that Reed would occasionally get mad and pin her against a wall, shake her, hit her, and “then one time he actually gave me a black eye.” She wasn’t the only one. According to one of his childhood friends, Reed would often beat his girlfriends in public when they said something that displeased him. When the wife of the (presumably former) friend said something about it, Reed started hitting her too. Because Reed was an equal opportunity misogynist.

When Sounes approached filmmaker Paul Morrissey for an interview, Morrissey suggested for the book that “You need a good title like The Hateful Bitch [or] The Worst Person Who Ever Lived. Something that says this isn’t a biography of a great human being, because he was not … He was a stupid, disgusting, awful human being.” As Sounes recounted, “The word that kept coming up was prick. Girlfriends called him a prick, people he was at school with called him a prick; people in his band called him a prick.”

But man, wasn’t White Light / White Heat a great album?

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly        Twitter: @phicklephilly      Facebook: phicklephilly

Philadelphia, PA, USA

Author: phicklephilly

Copyright © 2016 by Phicklephilly All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. All stories and characters are based on real people and events. The names and images have been changed to protect their privacy. Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation!”

One thought on “Tales of Rock – Lou Reed was a Violent, Racist, Woman-Beating Prick”

Leave a Reply