Lou Reed Biography Author Promises ‘Nuanced Portrait’
Author Howard Sounes didn't shy away from the more unpleasant aspects of Lou Reed's life while writing his biography of the former Velvet Underground frontman, but he insists the end result is a "nuanced portrait" of a complicated man.
Sounes, whose book Notes From The Velvet Underground: The Life of Lou Reed is due Oct. 22 and available for pre-order now, sees his work's warts-and-all approach partly as a corrective to the inevitable lionization of Reed that took place after his death. "I think, when he died, the obituaries were too kind because he was a person that people held dear," he told Classic Rock Magazine. "We can see that, at times, he was a very nasty man."
Of course, all of us are nasty at times, and though Reed's darkest moments may have been more lurid than most, Sounes quickly pointed out that Reed's flaws merely made him human.
"People are complicated, Lou Reed was complicated – more than most," he noted. "People say he was a 'prick,' an 'alcoholic,' a 'wifebeater.' He made racist remarks, as a lot of people did at the time. You can list his faults, but he was also a very great artist."
Whether being a great artist excuses any of the sins Sounes listed is for the reader to decide, but he insists his book — the end result of two years of work — doesn't focus on Reed's flaws. "When he became famous he created this character that dressed in black and wore sunglasses, but that's not who he was," he added. "If you read the whole book, you will find a nuanced portrait of the man. That's the purpose of the book."
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