Wednesday, October 22, 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

Logue wins US Chamber of Commerce support

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

 
Crime key topic again at Fairfield candidates night

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 35 Comments | Gallery

 
Dixon corn maze breaks own world record

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A2, 2 Comments | Gallery

Families Helping Families preps for holidays

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Charity Tree Auction application deadline nears

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Tots can trick-or-treat at Solano Town Center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Car washes raising money to fight breast cancer

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Fairfield Police Department promotes 2, honors 1

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
2 new challenges part of 2014 Solano Turkey Trot

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
PAL center seeks volunteers

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Suisun council splits on housing element changes

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A5

 
Solano names new First 5 director

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A6

 
$1.4M land sale by Fairfield gets OK

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6

Action, thriller movies headed to box office

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Oct. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

FBI: Denver girls may have tried to join jihadis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
IS fighters seize weapons cache meant for Kurds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Assad pursues withering campaign against rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
7 arrested in Oakland raid on Black Muslim Temple

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Stinky seaweed piling up at upscale Laguna Beach

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Golden Gate Bridge officials float sidewalk toll

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

5 Jonestown victims buried in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
New rules adopted in hopes of spurring home loans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

California man goes missing during road trip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
2nd guilty plea in California tainted beef case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Pakistani Nobel laureate honored in Philadelphia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Cadaver dog searches in suspected serial killings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Schools scoured in search for ambush suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

AP-GfK Poll: Most expect GOP victory in November

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Freed Vietnamese dissident travels to US: official

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

North Korea frees US man; 2 more still detained

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
US expands Ebola checks; Rwanda to check Americans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

WHO: Ebola vaccine trials in W. Africa in January

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Brown meets with health care experts about Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Opinion

Day, Blankenchip good for respective cities

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 3 Comments

 
‘Misleading’ mailer sent to residents

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

Expect voter participation to drop

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

 

PUC chief: Likely 1st test for new Brown term

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

Editorial Cartoons: Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Spering kept youth league going

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 11 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Oct. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

 
Is it OK for a business to use its contacts to raise money for a charity?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

Hummus and chocolate together? Deliciously so!

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Easy slow cooker chili that lives up to the hype

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Roasted beets can brighten up any holiday table

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Argentina demands ‘Top Gear’ apology from BBC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

‘S.H.I.E.L.D’ fans push for Coulson/May romance

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
From Kors to DVF, fashion mourns de la Renta

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

.

Sports

Bruins hold off Sharks to win 5-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Local report: Vikings earn 3-0 SCAC volleyball win over Wolves

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

SJS releases season’s first wins list

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Bumgarner, Giants stop Royals 7-1 in Series opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

49ers lose center Daniel Kilgore, needs surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Raiders plagued by 3rd-down defensive woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

For a young Mexican golf star, seeing helps him believe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Shaw shoulders blame for Stanford’s slide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Newman dodges penalty for Talladega inspection

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Logano: No worries about retaliation from Patrick

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Fighters suing Mayweather over Vegas cable TV bout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

WS Game 2 starters Ventura, Peavy study in contrasts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Hats off! Royals get old-timey with tip o’ the hat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

KC, San Fran mayors announce World Series wager

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Ezeli returns as Warriors beat Clippers 125-107

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Buster’s back: Posey tries to add 3rd Series ring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
AP sources: Rice’s appeal hearing set for Nov. 5-6

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Kings GM: NHL should educate after Voynov’s arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Broncos are still No. 1 in AP Pro32 rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius gets 5 years in prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Google’s streaming music service adds mood to mix

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
5 problems McDonald’s is facing in the US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

New efforts to ban tobacco farm child labor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Total CEO killed in Moscow runway crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

China economy grows at slowest pace in 5 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

Rufina Ferrer Levengood

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6