theres three things i couldnt live my life without

bargains - metallica

music, movies, and tv

and coca cola.

yesterday this very wise man wrote on my facebook wall: i couldnt name one Lou Reed song to save my life.

and i thought what sort of life are you leading where you dont know any velvets tunes by name

i dont mean that in a judgemental way, more a curious way


sort of life are you leading where you dont wake up on sundays to sunday morning

or when youre climbing a roof to align a directv dish you dont hum a little satellite of love

or when someones mean to you you really dont say

vicious, you hit me with a flower.

tv is constantly on except when im blogging

and the movies is seriously something i try to do once a week

this week the vistas got 12 years a slave which might be a bit heavy after seeing capt phillips

but i used to have this deal i made with myself to see all the movies the vista shows

since its such a great theatre and if you go before 5pm its $6.

perhaps someone would look at me and ask well what sorta life do you have left

after consuming all of that media, and the internet, and sports, and the blogosphere

and the bible, and the drip drip drip of my kitchen sink

and the mexican chatter at the taco truck.

other day i was getting some grilled chicken and this muscular black dude comes up to me and says i dont need any money but i could use your phone, dont worry he sees me im not gonna run off with your iphone

and he looks over by the subway stop and sure enough theres a sheriff car up on the sidewalk near the fence and hes looking at us.

black dude holds out a piece of paper with a 323 number and i say fine, dial it up man.

and we stood there for an uncomfortably long period of time where he talked to this dude on vermont and 3rd? oh no, vermont and 103rd. well do you want me to come over or not?

look im a personal trainer, your people are going to like me, dont worry about that. so what time? well why would your phone be in airplane mode for a few hours?

maybe i’ll just get on this vermont bus and head down there. i dont like to be in your part of town at dark. so 5? ok i’ll call you i a few hours.

thanks brotha.

i sanitized my phone as soon as i got home cuz the whole thing gave me the willies.

which is weird because i bet you that guy could name a lou reed song.

today lou reed died, he was 71


as a kid i would get “Walk on the Wild Side” confused with the Kinks’ “Lola” and Barnes & Barnes’ “Yoda”

but after working a few months in the West LA record store in college i soon learned lots about Lou and his band the Velvet Underground.

one good thing about being as old as i am is i was working at that record store when Polydor/Mercury decided to re-release the Velvet catalogue because cds had just come out and they wanted all the boomers to feel cool again.

because of that we were flooded with all these mysterious records, one of them was VU. no idea why that one attracted me but i took it home and played it over and over.

lou reed in la

especially Stephanie Says.

people call her Alaska?


when i told my cohort Willie Aron he was all, “Lou Reed is Godhead” and told me i needed to get all of the Velvets’ work, immediately, otherwise why bother with anything else.

and as usual, Willie was right on the money.

not only did i get to see Lou Reed play once, at SXSW, i got to meet him.

the day after he took the stage with Moby to do Walk on the Wild side, he was walking across the street from the venue.

i walked all the way over to where he was so i could walk along with him. this was 2008, a little more than five years ago. and even then, upclose and personal he looked frail.

i said, hey Lou i saw you last night over there, and pointed to the building. you were amazing.

he looked at me. didn’t smile.

but said thanks.

was very much looking forward to seeing him play this spring in downtown LA.

and when the show was canceled i was all uh oh. and remembered our lengthy chat.

if i was Obama i would have gotten on tv and said, we’re gonna have the flags at half mast today

and if anyone wants to come over and play some old records, we’ll be streaming it on

dude wrote maybe 40 super great songs. if you’re lucky you can write 2. lou wrote 40.

how Marvin Gaye’s “Hitch Hike” turned into an R.E.M. cover of the Velvet Underground

during the Cubs / Sox crosstown interleague massacre (go Cubs!)

WGN, on several occasions played the classic Stones tune “Hitch Hike”

which to any Velvet Underground fans contains a very familiar opening riff

but the Stones didn’t write the song, which was pretty normal for the time.

In fact of the dozen tunes on “Out of our Heads” the Glimmer Twins only wrote three songs

Gotta Get Away, I’m Free, and Heart of Stone.

Marvin Gaye wrote Hitch Hike, and performed it fabulously on the T.A.M.I. Show

where it even had it’s own dance move, apparently

hugely influential songwriter guitarist and singer Lou Reed took that opening riff

and made it his own in the Velvet Underground hit “Here She Comes Again”

off the 1967 masterpiece “The Velvet Underground and Nico” produced by Andy Warhol

the Velvets tune was covered by lots of people including R.E.M. who had it in their set

as early as 1980, but eventually recorded it and it wound up on 1987’s Dead Letter Office

along with two other Lou Reed-penned covers “Pale Blue Eyes” and “Femme Fatale”

but probably the most interesting progression of the Gaye riff

from Motown the UK to NY back to the UK

was when Johnny Marr appropriated it a few times in “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”

from the 1992 Smiths classic The Queen Is Dead.

love how that little baby riff hitch hiked its away around the globe

in into some of the best albums in rock.