By Brandon Wetherbee
Brandon Wetherbee hosts the talk show/podcast You, Me, Them, Everybody the first two Friday’s of the month at the Wonderland Ballroom and in Brooklyn and Chicago once a month. Subscribe to it online at youmethemeverybody.com. He’ll be at the Strathmore Mansion on October 28 as part of Rock, Paper, ZOMBIES!, a poster and music celebration for Gig Posters by Rich.
Goodbye, every last rock and roll hero! It’s been swell!
Lou Reed is no longer cool, at least he won’t be after Halloween, the day his new album, Lulu, an 84 minute collaboration with Metallica is released. What is that? You haven’t heard about the metal/punk progenitor collaboration? Well, get out from under that not very metal rock and expose yourself to 100 year old collection of German plays!
Lou Reed has been fascinated with Frank Wedekind’s plays about Lulu for a while. He’s been trying to turn the story of the muse and mystery into something for decades. It took a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony to meet the gentlemen that could help bring his vision to the masses, gentlemen whose lifestyle determines their deathstyle. Is it good? Kind of.
The only song that has been released is “The View.” (Please, please, please, god/buddah/allah/other, let the person that picks out the music on the television show The View have a very good sense of humor.) It’s almost exactly what I thought it would sound like, the last twenty years of Lou Reed’s style of talk sing over whatever he wants, this time pretty straight forward, competent guitar riffs and recognizable drumming from metal’s most successful band. The lyrics are way better than anything Hetfield has ever written and not the worst thing Reed has emitted.
It’s getting shit on. It will be shit on for the duration of time. Why? Because rich, older, once revered musicians should stay in their box. To most folks that care about this type of stuff, it’s way more important to stay cool than try. Fuck that. I know I’m winning no fans with this. That’s fine. Neither are Lou Reed or Metallica. They’re both trying, really hard, to push the artistic envelope forward while maintaining their identity. I think they’ve succeeded on one level, the level that poetry and music belong together. This is pretty much the 2011 equivalent of the 1993 William S Burroughs/Kurt Cobain collaboration.
The Burroughs/Cobain collaboration is not well known. It was released with little to no fanfare and only die-hards own it. I went to a used record store every month for a year to listen to this 10 minute track. At the time, 1995, the thing cost $50 and I was not going to pay $50 for 10 minutes of something I didn’t understand. I think I understand it now. It’s a poem with cool noise, just like Lou Reed and Metallica’s thing.
Maybe the metal community will like this. Based on the 74% negative rating the first song has received on YouTube it’s safe to assume they won’t. It’s a shame. If Vic Chestnut and Mastadon released something together, it would song pretty much like “Lulu” and the music blog community would be craving that vinyl. On the other hand, a lot of 14 year old Metallica fans will buy it just because it’s Metallica, and a few of those kids will discover the Velvet Underground and if a teenager hears “Heroin” because of Metallica, isn’t that a good thing?
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful night.