Lou Reed on Guns & Ammo

Lou Reed (1987)

In honor of Lou Reed on his birthday, born on this day in 1942, I present to you Lou Reed on Guns & Ammo, an interview with Joe Smith in 1987.

“I write a song called ‘Heroin’, you would have thought that I murdered the Pope or something”

Lou Reed

Here we bring you a rarely heard interview Lou recorded in 1987. It’s vintage Lou. Salty and sweet. Earnest and cocky. Grouchy and kind of endearing. Reed (and his legendary band The Velvet Underground) were those musicians who never got the extensive accolades or awards–nor the riches many of their contemporaries found. Yet he never seemed to waver in his search for the perfect sound and his quest “to elevate the rock and roll song and take it where it hadn’t been taken before.” Here we present some interview outtakes that give a taste for this iconic American musician. Lou Reed died of liver disease on October 27, 2013. He was 71.

In this animated film Lou Reed talks about chasing off nosy college kids on his porch with his shotgun, how he dreamed about writing the great American novel while at Syracuse University, “how savage the reaction against” the Velvet Underground was, the intention of taking books and putting them into songs, writing rock and roll you could grow old with, not thinking The Doors or the Beatles were up to the level of his band, and how he hoped to elevate the rock and roll song to where it hadn’t been before.


  1. Makes sense to me. Their music does feel that way too. One day they’re in black and white singing cheesy love songs, the next day they’re in color taking drugs and singing about it

  2. I can’t imagine the fame they had. I was talking to a country musician who was starting back then…he said even they changed their music somewhat and hairstyles. He told me the day after Sullivan it was like the world turned to color from black and white…He lived through it…he told me…take Michael Jackson’s fame and times it by 1,000.
    I mean it’s only his opinion… I didn’t live through it…THAT is something.

  3. Gotcha! Poor Ringo had to get used to his role…they asked teens back then about Ringo…”Well…he is so ugly he is cute”

  4. Sometimes I think people trash them because that is the thing to do…not saying you can’t truly dislike them because yea anyone can..

  5. An interesting fellow. Temperamental as most musicians are. I don’t like him dissing The Beatles, but to each his own.

What's on your mind?