Monday, July 28, 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

Rodriguez student collects, stuffs backpacks for others

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

 
30 years ago, Art Koch died keeping the city safe

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 7 Comments | Gallery

 
Weather for Monday, July 28, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Artistic ingenuity unhinged at Contraptor’s Road Rally

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Rockville Trail hike offered

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
National Alliance on Mental Illness meeting Monday

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Summertime Fill the Barrel Food Drive ends Thursday

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Live music at Solano Town Center mall

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

County fair opens Wednesday in Vallejo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Food preservation class at library

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Canines graduate from CHP training academy

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3

 
GV Cellars to host Food Bank fundraiser

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Suisun police log: July 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: July 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Business workshop addresses marketing

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A10

Fairfield gets new pizza shop

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A10, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Renowned cardiovascular surgeon comes to NorthBay

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Bills aim to bring family law into 21st century

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
UConn makes 3-D copies of antique instrument parts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Family law bills proposed in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
Man dies after lightning strikes 14 in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

California governor to meet with Mexican president

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Study: Blue whales at risk of hitting ships

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Gaza war rages despite Hamas, Israel truce pledges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Fighting intensifies near MH17 disaster site

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

.

Opinion

 
Arrogance of power evident

By Earl Heal | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: July 28, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
District needs peanut-free schools

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

.

Living

Today in History for July 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 28, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Randall: Why a ‘liar’ loves to hear from readers

By Sharon Randall | From Page: B5

 
My 33-year-old daughter blames me for all her problems

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

Horoscopes for July 28, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
.

Entertainment

Comic-Con: Kingsley voices animated villain in ‘Boxtrolls’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
‘Lucy’ tops ‘Hercules’ with $44M at box office

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

TVGrid July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con’s dark side: Harassment amid the fantasy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Comic-Con: ‘Hobbit’ cast tease trailer, bloopers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con: 4 DC Comics brought to TV get event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Comic-Con: Radcliffe goes undercover as Spidey

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con: ‘Ant-Man’ cast revealed: Lilly, Douglas, Rudd

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con: ‘Blacklist’ fans get black fedoras

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

‘The Vampire Diaries’ takes bite out of Comic-Con

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con: ‘Batman v Superman’ stare-down

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Comic-Con: Godzilla sequel announced

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Comic-Con: ‘Avengers’ unleash ‘Ultron’ footage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

TV team: Actor, detective role paired for 25 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
TVGrid July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

.

Sports

McGloin buried on Raiders depth chart again

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Giants lose in Peavy’s debut, swept by Dodgers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Lawrence Okoye preparing for the NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
It’s ‘Jeff Gordon Day’ at Indy for record 5th time

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Jaso has 3 RBIs as A’s beat Rangers 9-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Horsey wins Russian Open in playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tim Clark rallies to win Canadian Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Spain sweeps to victory in International Crown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Langer wins Senior British Open by record 13 shots

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Mudcats take pair from Pro Player Baseball

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

The Big Hurt and Joe Torre headline HOF class

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali wins Tour de France

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

LeBron deep-sixes number; will be No. 23 with Cavs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Byron Scott says he will be LA Lakers’ new coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

This date in sports history for Monday, July 28, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Elizabeth Terry

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
Robert Dale Myers Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Frank and Ernest July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku July 29

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sally Forth July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Dilbert July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Get Fuzzy July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C. July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Blondie July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Garfield July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sudoku July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Crossword July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Bridge July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote July 28

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7