October 2017


"Lou Reed A Life"
By Anthony De Curtis
Book Review By: Jimi LaLumia

I was bringing people from the NYC scene to my home base on Long Island in the 70's, where I was co hosting shows on the popular WBAB FM on Sunday nights with Joel Martin; Joel did shows on 'the men in black' and psychic phenoms before it was fashionable to do so, but he allowed me to bring people to the station that I thought would serve as interesting guests; after the then 'Wayne" County made a big splash, I became bold and shortly thereafter brought Cherry Vanilla and the late Leee Black Childers out to WBAB to do a MainMan based show, which was also a major success, so then I became truly bold: Lou Reed had a new album to sell, "Rock and Roll Heart", having just signed with Arista Records, and he agreed to come out to do a two hour interview.

Reading the amazing, new Anthony DeCurtis book, "Lou Reed-A Life", which thoroughly details Lou's hot and cold approach to dealing with others, reminds me so much of that night at WBAB; the book serves as a map of Lou Reed's life journey, a true 'stranger in the strange land' that America was becoming in the 1960's,and it explains a lot about the encounters i shared with Lou. The character that he became by the time we did our radio show took quite a while to develop,and the DeCurtis book captures it all; The Freeport Long Island years, the birth of The Velvet Underground, Warhol, Max's Kansas City, Bowie, MainMan and beyond are all here, in pinpoint riveting detail. Needless to say, the WBAB show took a turn mid way through when Lou said some things I didn't like about people I was friends with,and by the time we returned him to his then other half, the transgender Rachel, at their Manhattan apartment,we were not speaking.

Lou's later years are well documented by DeCurtis, an admitted long time friend of Reed ,and Lou did mellow by the time he joined Laurie Anderson as a life partner. Although Lou and I engaged in a silent staring 'contest' at StonyBrook University after the WBAB show, we did unite years later for Yvonne R. Sewall's Mike Quashie Fundraiser at The Bowery Ballroom in the early 2000's , where Lou performed and I emceed; we had a chat, and I managed to bring a tear or two to his eye backstage before I brought him out onstage that night. There could only have ever been one pivotal world changing character in rock and roll the likes of Lou Reed; it's all there, the good, the bad and the ugly, in "Lou Reed-A Life".