Alan McGee on Lou Reed and Their Brief but Interesting Meeting

Written by Alan McGee
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Lou Reed 1 Alan McGee
I went to a gig recently, can’t remember who it was or where it was, sign of an old age I suppose.  Yet there was a Velvet Underground vibe to this group, and when I heard that Lou Reed had died my first thought was now all the fuckers are going to sound like The Velvet’s.  Strangely enough I was thinking about a month ago that there was a real space in the market for their sound, no one is doing it. The last band to sound like them I suppose was The Strokes, and that has been it.

I was influenced by The Velvet Underground. I don’t think Creation Records would have existed without their impact.  It was Joe Foster who got me into the Velvet’s and it was me getting the bands we signed up into them as well.   Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream was a massive fan as was Jesus and The Marychain. They were hip for a long time, but in the 90’s they seemed to lose their cool with the mainstream. But Lou Reed was always cool and always rude, because I met him in the 90’s at the Brixton Academy and, true to his image, he was off hand with me.  I was taken back stage to meet him, and it was text book Lou Reed.  He was surrounded by ten guys from a biker gang, Seymour Stein (vice president of Warner Bros. Records and a co-founder of Sire Records) was there, and he said “Lou, this is Alan McGee, he signs up all the best bands from England”.  Lou Reed got up, looked at me and walked past.

Seymour chased after him, and eventually Lou Reed, rather reluctantly shook my hand.  It was a bit embarrassing for both parties, and that was the only time I met him.  I didn’t really want to go and meet him but it was Seymour who insisted that I did.  I didn’t want to meet Michael Jackson either, but I did, maybe there is something in that, don’t meet me or you might die!   I am not going to lie, Lou Reed was thoroughly unpleasant, but I have been involved in music for so long, and it’s music that counts first, and if the person who makes the music isn’t a nice person, it doesn’t matter. I knew he would be unpleasant, but it didn’t, and still doesn’t, affect my love of The Velvet Underground.

People that really love music, like Creation Records, Cherry Red Records, 359 Music, ZANI, we all owe Velvet Underground so much creatively and anyone who denies that is a fucking liar.

Read 5079 times Last modified on Friday, 08 May 2015 15:09
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Alan McGee

Alan McGee

About Us

ZANI was conceived in late 2008 and the fan base gradually grew by word of mouth. Key contributors came from those of the music, film and fashion industry and the voice of ZANI grew louder. So, when in 2013 investor, contributor and fan of ZANI Alan McGee* offered his support to help restyle and relaunch the site it was inevitable that traffic would increase dramatically and continues to grow. *Alan McGee co-founder of Creation Records and new label 359 Music..


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ZANI is an independent online magazine for readers interested in contemporary culture, covering Music, Film & TV, Sport, Art amongst other cultural topics. Relevant to modern times ZANI is a dynamic website and a flagship for creative movement and thinking wherever our readers live in the world.