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.

John Lennon (1969)

Today we celebrate the loving memory of John Lennon. Peace.

In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto and convinced him to do an interview. 38 years later, Levitan, director Josh Raskin and illustrators James Braithwaite and Alex Kurina have collaborated to create an animated short film using the original interview recording as the soundtrack. A spellbinding vessel for Lennon’s boundless wit and timeless message, I Met the Walrus was nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Animated Short and won the 2009 Emmy for ‘New Approaches’ (making it the first film to win an Emmy on behalf of the internet).

On December 8, 1980, a young man named Mark David Chapman asked John Lennon for his autograph in New York. Hours later, he fired four hollow-point bullets into Lennon’s back — killing him almost instantly.

John Lennon’s death shocked the world. On December 8, 1980, the former Beatle was fatally shot outside of his Manhattan apartment building, The Dakota. In minutes, one of the most iconic rock stars was gone forever.

John Lennon (1986)

Design and characters based on drawings by John Lennon
Animation produced and directed by John Canemaker
Executive Producer: Yoko Ono
Copyright © 1986 Ono Video

On the evening of 8 December 1980, 41 years ago today, English musician John Lennon, formerly of the Beatles, was shot and fatally wounded in the archway of The Dakota, his residence in New York City. His killer was Mark David Chapman, an American Beatles fan who was incensed by Lennon’s lavish lifestyle and his 1966 comment that the Beatles were “more popular than Jesus”. Though he was killed many years ago, John Lennon lives on in the hearts of those he continue to be inspired by his music and teachings.

Nigel Finch (1978)

BBC program Omnibus features Nigel Finch’s 50-minute 1978 documentary of Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman, with cameos by John Dean, Brian Doyle, Bill Murray, Ray Romano, and more.

Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood, also known as Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision, is a documentary film produced by BBC Omnibus in 1978 on the subject of Hunter S. Thompson, directed by Nigel Finch. The road trip/film pairs Thompson with Finch’s fellow Briton and illustrator Ralph Steadman. The party travel to Hollywood via Death Valley and Barstow from Las Vegas, scene of the pair’s 1971 collaboration. It contains interviews with Thompson and Steadman, as well as some short excerpts from some of his work.

Patrick Smith (1988)

“When we fell in with the Acid Tests, we started having the most fun we had ever had.”

Jerry Garcia

Interview by Joe Smith on May 23, 1988 by use of cassette tape, and recorded during the writing of Off the Record.

Hear the full interview catalog at The Library of Congress and check out blankonblank.org.

Music You Heard: Franklin’s Tower, Cream Puff War, Golden Road, and Friend of the Devil.