Saturday, August 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Honesty, understanding at core of Reed’s legacy

By
From page B1 | November 01, 2013 |

“I’m Waiting for the Man” rocked my world.

In the pantheon of songs from Lou Reed, the Brooklyn-born rock legend who died Sunday at age 71, it’s an unforgettable one.

I didn’t get into music until I was approaching adolescence, but even then, I came at it with naiveté.

My parents were overly cautious about my musical interests. I wasn’t allowed to have a certain Eric Clapton greatest hits compilation because it included “Cocaine.”

I knew I strayed from Mom and Dad’s list of approved musicians with shock rockers Marilyn Manson, so I hid the records in a desk drawer as though they were a shame as secret as dirty magazines.

In the spirit of Reed’s own brutal honesty, part of what got me into music is it helped me feel less nerdy. It starts conversations, opens doors and brings people together.

Working in a record store after high school was its own eye opener. By that time, my interest in music was unstoppable, but some of the store’s other products – including adult videos and tobacco paraphernalia – were beyond the realm of naive, young Nick’s experience.

So it was with shock and surprise that I first heard The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting for the Man” around this age.

The song barrels in with a pounding, persistent piano lick and some of the most urgent tambourine rattling ever committed to record. It sets the tone for the singer’s state of mind.

“I’m . . . waiting for my man,” sings Reed in the opening line, as though he pauses to check if anyone else is listening. “Twenty-six dollars in my hand / Up to Lexington, 1-2-5 / Feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive.”

I knew enough to know what Reed was singing about, but I was still innocent enough to register surprise that he would press such a tale to wax. I knew drugs had inspired some great music, but such an unflinching portrayal of their retrieval seemed akin to brandishing a scarlet letter into his chest with a branding iron.

As time rolled on, I came to love the song in its own right, but I’ll never forget how gobsmacked I felt the first time I heard it.

That truth is the way I’m going to remember Reed. His legacy is that of honesty, a man committed at all costs to his artistic vision.

He suffered no fools. Some of the critical eulogizing is flattering for a man who would have had zero patience for it. He showed little patience for his own fans, telling some of them off even as they praised him. He was a cantankerous old coot at all ages.

His attitude to music journalists was more harsh. Speaking with Spin in 2010 about the lukewarm critical reaction to his 1973 rock opera, “Berlin,” he said, “I didn’t like critics then and I don’t like them now. There you go.” Later, he walked out of the interview.

He was an outsider who painted with that brush, a rebel with a cause who set things on fire just so he could stand there and admire the colors of the flames. I think that’s where “I’m Waiting for the Man” and other songs of such rawness about drugs, sex and life came from within him.

Still, he deserves to be remembered, not because he charted colossal hits, but because his artistic integrity made him a pioneer in so many ways – noise rock, punk, even hip-hop. I know Reed would want the truth to be said.

For me, he torched bridges I didn’t know existed. “I’m Waiting for the Man” was a dawning that artists can and must have the freedom to operate outside the law, at least in their works, to remind us of the humanity that ties us all together.

He was that outsider who stayed on the fringe, encouraging people to get comfortable with the uncomfortable parts of themselves and others. It’s no mistake that his most well-known song is “Walk on the Wild Side.”

We need artists such as Reed; ones who show us the world and themselves in such unvarnished terms in order to push us to a higher level of understanding.

To read more of Nick DeCicco’s blogs, visit http://dailyrepublic.typepad.com/forthoseabouttorock. Follow him on Twitter @ndeciccodr.

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco is the editor of the Tailwind and writes the pop culture blog/column For Those About to Rock. Before joining the DR staff in July 2007, DeCicco (pronounced Deh-CEE-Coh) worked at The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colo. A 2004 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, DeCicco spends his free time attending concerts, listening to music, going to movies, traveling and hiking.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
Vallejo celebrates cultural diversity

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

2 shot Friday night in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

 
Groups receive honors for going green

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Inmate sues jail for $4.5M over returned letter

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3

Badges pinned for new Fairfield, Vacaville firefighters

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
‘Nuttin But Fun!’ theme of 2015 Dixon May Fair

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Adult literacy efforts in need of volunteers

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

County looks for Solano centenarians

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3

 
Brown signs two bills by Wolk

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Brain tumors are not all alike

By Scott Anderson | From Page: B8

Weather for Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B10

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Aug. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

New Obama birth control fixes for religious groups

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
US won’t let borders hamper fight vs. extremists

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Interpol seeks clues to Thai ‘baby factory’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Parents had hoped to negotiate with Foley captors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Lawn removal in parched California draws fine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
IDs of men found shot in adjacent yards released

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

DUI arrest is California Democrats’ latest blow

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Couple charged in alleged odometer rollback scheme

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Passengers leave trove at San Francisco airport

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
New fear: What happens in Ferguson if no charges?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Ice bucket challenge may change nonprofit world

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Obama taking less vacation, but too much for some

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Days Obama, predecessors spent on vacation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Questions, answers about Missouri grand juries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Gov’t warns US retailers about hacking software

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ebola spreads in Nigeria; Liberia has 1,000 deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Mosque attack kills 64 in Iraq, Sunnis halt talks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Hamas kills 18 suspected informers to deter leaks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

UN: death toll from Syrian civil war tops 191,000

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
West condemns Russia over convoy to Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

An honest view of recent police shootings

By Deon Price | From Page: A8

 
Cheers, jeers for the week of Aug. 17-23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

Boxer, Feinstein: Different routs in backing Israel

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A8

 
Somebody deserves to be fired

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

A ‘gifted’ family member doesn’t have a degree, can’t keep a job

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

 
Horoscopes: Aug. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

 
Ebola outbreak revives interest in ‘The Hot Zone’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Parole denied yet again for Lennon’s killer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Sports

Avila remains undefeated after opponent throws in towel

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Offense struggles, Raiders fall to Packers 31-21

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Panik, Giants end Nationals’ 10-game win streak

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Gray pitches into 9th, A’s top Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Davis’ accomplishments still inspire despite loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Versatile Martin looks to earn 49ers roster spot

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
New, longer grass laid at 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

US picks 12-man roster for basketball World Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Blaney steals 1 from Kyle Busch on final restart

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Harvick wins Bristol pole; 5th of this season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Chevrolet wins IndyCar manufacturers championship

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Scott, Tringale tied for the lead at Barclays

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Ryu has 66, leads by 5 at Canadian Women’s Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Goodes leads Boeing Classic by 1 stroke

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Aug. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

Fitbit to Schumer: We don’t sell personal data

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Jell-O can’t stop slippery sales slide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

At Jackson Hole, central bankers eye varying goals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Yellen: Job market makes Fed hesitant on rate hike

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Lawsuits challenge FAA drone, model aircraft rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

Mary Louise Loveall

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sandra “Sandy” Caldwell Garton

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Paul Nolin

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
.

Home Seller 08/23/14

Real estate transactions for Aug. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2

Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.10 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR3