Lou Reed died Sunday, October 27 in New York City. A musician, artist, and cultural giant, Reed’s work advanced the sound and scope of rock and roll. With The Velvet Underground, he explored avant-garde music and dark lyrical themes, sparking punk rock and inspiring countless musicians. After the Velvets, Reed followed his muse with poetic intensity.
Reed was the South By Southwest Music keynote speaker in 2008. He came to Austin to promote the concert film of his Berlin album. We were aware that he was a perfectionist, which he proved by being the only keynote to bring their own microphones. Satisfied with the sound in the room, he was gracious and kind.
He made news that day by critiquing the sound of digital music and championing young bands. Later that afternoon, he joined Moby onstage for a performance of "Walk On The Wild Side." He told the audience, “I love punk rock, and I was the first one."
Lou Reed at SXSW 2008. Photo by Daniel Lewis