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Barefoot Doctor Pays Tribute to Lou Reed
Hugely influential iconic rock star Lou Reed died last week, after suffering from liver disease.
Often hailed as the Godfather of punk and responsible for developing many of the key elements that define today’s alternative rocker template, he was notoriously blunt towards journalists and anyone else he deemed inauthentic, and equally towards himself.
“I don’t have any fans left. After ‘Metal Machine Music’, they all fled,” he (erroneously) told USA Today in the 90s, “Who cares? I’m essentially in this for the fun of it”.
Skrufff asked regular contributor (and long term Velvets/ Lou fan) Barefoot Doctor a few questions about his influence and achievements.
Skrufff: Lou infamously championed hard drugs, transgressive sex and living life right over the edge: how much can he- or anyone else- be held responsible for misleading others who emulate their example?
Barefoot Doctor; “Each of us is fully responsible for our own choices, and free to follow any example we choose, so I suggest he can’t be held responsible for misleading anyone, as he wasn’t out to lead anyone in the first place, just to express the artistry of his soul in an original way, that just happened to resoundingly strike a chord with the world.
He lived his life fully, and achieved huge global success without selling out or modifying his output to please the whims of the market, so we must assume his edge-based lifestyle worked well enough for him, hence probably worked well enough for many who were inspired by it – it certainly has for me so far, as he’s been a major influence of mine for decades.”
Skrufff: he was famously difficult and aggressive throughout his life yet thrived throughout- any lessons to be learned from that?
Barefoot Doctor: “The message is to always be authentic, and not weaken and become a people pleaser. If you remain so with conviction and confidence, but in an essentially warm and loving way (the underlying energy Lou expressed regardless of whether in a ruthless moment or not), the world will respond well to that sort of leadership. But that was his way. It doesn’t mean it works for everyone. The key lies in remaining authentic.”
Skrufff: What was it about Lou Reed that set him apart from all the rest?
Barefoot Doctor; “Aside from that evident authenticity, aside from his deep soul, aside from his musical originality, aside from his unique talk-sing vocal style, which I believe was instrumental in triggering rap every bit as much as Gil Scott Heron, because it gave performers permission to talk their way through a tune rather than sing (true Serge Gainsborough did it first but Lou Reed did it with more edge), aside from his anarchic undertones influencing the start of punk, aside from his masterful song-writing, and even aside from his admirably laconic disposition, he was a discreetly enlightened man, a man with awakened consciousness – he practiced Tai Chi (Wu style), a method of gaining transcendence on the run, and it informed everything he did with a wild grace.”