«I write a song called ‘Heroin’, you would have thought that I murdered the Pope or something»
— Lou Reed on March 20, 1987, as told to Joe Smith

Lou Reed. Lou Reed. Here we bring you a rarely heard interview Lou recored in 1987. It’s vintage Lou. Salty and sweet. Earnest and cocky. Grouchy and kind of endearing. Reed (and his legendary band The Velvet Underground) were those musicians who never got the extensive accolades or awards—nor the riches many of their contemporaries found. Yet he never seemed to waver in his search for the perfect sound and his quest «to elevate the rock and roll song and take it where it hadn’t been taken before.» Here we present some interview outtakes that give a taste for this iconic American musician. Lou Reed died of liver disease on October 27, 2013. He was 71.

In this animated film Lou Reed talks about chasing off nosy college kids on his porch with his shotgun, how he dreamed about writing the great American novel while at Syracuse University, «how savage the reaction against» the Velvet Underground was, the intention of taking books and putting them into songs, writing rock and roll you could grow old with, not thinking The Doors or the Beatles were up to the level of his band, and how he hoped to elevate the rock and roll song to where it hadn’t been before.

RIP, Lou.


«What we had was ambition and a goal … to elevate the rock and roll song and take it where it hadn’t been taken before.»
«I have faith in my own vision, and didn’t want them to tamper with it.»
«Don’t thin my voice out and make it like that high shit. This is the way I sound.»
» I’ve gone out with my shotgun. This is hunting country out there. You better run.»
«I wanted to write the great American novel but I also loved rock and roll.»
«I got a little puzzled at how savage the reaction against us was.»

Hear the full, unedited interview, learn more about Lou Reed including a pic of his college band, and see some sweet Lou Reed GIFs @

Subscribe for new episodes every other Tuesday (it’s free):

Executive Producer: David Gerlach
Animator: Patrick Smith
Audio Producer: Amy Drozdowska

Watch our previous episodes:

BB King on The Blues

Elliott Smith on Freaks

Robin Williams on Masks

Wayne Coyne on Living with Death

Maya Angelou on Con Men

Bette Davis on The Sexes

Michael Jackson on Godliness

Jimi Hendrix on The Experience

Meryl Streep on Beauty

Philip Seymour Hoffman on Happiness

David Bowie on Stardust

Gene Wilder on The Truth

John Lennon on Love

Johnny Cash on The Gospel

Heath Ledger on Role Playing

Tupac on Life and Death

Kurt Cobain on Identity

Janis Joplin on Rejection

Barry White on Making Love

Maurice Sendak on Being a Kid

Carol Burnett on Finding Home

Grace Kelly on JFK

Farrah Fawcett on Stiletto Power

Beastie Boys on Being Stupid

David Foster Wallace on Ambition

Wilt Chamberlain on Tall Tales

Larry King on Getting Seduced

Jim Morrison on Why Fat is Beautiful

«Venus in Furs»
«Rock and Roll»
«Perfect Day»