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Lou Reed and Metallica Defend ‘Lulu’ With Venomous Intensity

Metallica, Lou Reed
Anton Corbijn

“This is for people who are literate,” Lou Reed insists about ‘Lulu,’ his widely criticized collaboration album with Metallica. “This isn’t ‘I cry in my beer cos you f—ed him and ran your truck through my bar.”

In a new Q&A with The Telegraph, Reed, who has a history of being curmudgeonly in interviews, was defensive and even condescending as he defended the album that the two acts created in a mere 10 days together in the studio. The story of ‘Lulu’ is based around themes in two early 20th Century plays by Frank Wedekind, ‘Earth Spirit’ and ‘Pandora’s Box.’

“You know a lot of time these guys that interview us, they think they’re more literate than I am. That would be a real bad mistake,” Reed said. “Don’t kid yourself about me, you know what I’m saying? I’m not a good guy to f— with.”

The comments seem to have come without provocation from the interviewer and likely stem from his disappointment with the lackluster sales and scathing reviews of ‘Lulu.’ Metacritic, a Web site that rates albums, games and movies on a scale from 1 to 100 based on the reviews in magazines, Web sites and newspapers, scores ‘Lulu’ a 41. “Who cares?,” Reed said. “I never wrote for [critics] then, I don’t write for them now. I have no interest in what they have to say about anything. I’m interested in whether I like it. I write for me.”

Commenting on Reed’s interest in working with Metallica, drummer Lars Ulrich said, “I think we’re the band he has always heard in his head but never been able to play with. He’s a fascinating human being, he’s brilliant musically, intellectually, but I think he feels misunderstood. Most people have a tendency to start a conversation in a neutral position and then see where it goes. He starts in a negative position, then you’ve got to go to neutral and then to positive. When he feels comfortable and trusts people, he opens up, and incredible things can happen.”

Currently, there are no plans take ‘Lulu’ on a full scale tour, an experience Reed said could be completely overwhelming, not because of the lack of ticket sales, but because of the pain and ferocity in the songs. “Holy s—, you perform it at your own risk!” he said. “The first thing is, can you get through it emotionally? You have to go for broke, the jugular. That can really get to you.”

However, Reed did join Metallica onstage at the latter’s 30th anniversary show two nights ago (Dec. 7) in San Francisco for two ‘Lulu’ tracks and a Velvet Underground song.

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